JOHN ‘JABO’ STARKS

Rhythm - - INTERVIEW -

LIKE A GROOVE MA­CHINE

Be­tween the mid ’60s and the mid ’70s James Brown’s mu­sic was pro­pelled by a tri­umvi­rate of hugely im­por­tant funk drum­mers: Melvin Parker, Clyde Stubblefield and John ‘Jabo’ Starks.

Jabo had recorded a string of sin­gles be­tween 1959 and 1965 for Bobby Bland, and dur­ing this time came to the at­ten­tion of James Brown, who de­cided Jabo would make an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to his band, be­gin­ning what would be­come one of the more long-last­ing as­so­ci­a­tions that the God­fa­ther of Soul had with any drum­mer. Be­tween 1966 and 1974, Jabo cre­ated some of the most mem­o­rable and funky grooves ever and in the process firmly es­tab­lished a tem­plate for funk drum­ming that de­fined the genre.

Brown’s ‘Sex Ma­chine’ and ‘The Pay­back’ are mer­ci­less, de­mand­ing dis­ci­pline as Jabo es­chewed fills in favour of nail­ing the beat down. Clyde and Jabo shared the stage on LiveAtThe Apol­loVol­ume2 with James Brown, and later De La Soul, Run DMC, MC Ham­mer and Pub­lic En­emy have all re­lied on his tight, swung 16th grooves to ground their tracks. Check out: James Brown ‘The Pay­back’

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