James Brown - the 'illogic' of innovation

John Scannell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To analyse Brown's inimitable compositional processes most fruitfully, I suggest that an application of Deleuze's concept of the "Idiot" might be beneficial. This is not, it should be said at the outset, to speak ill of the "Godfather of Soul". On the contrary, I will attempt to illustrate how a certain type of naiveté was necessary to realise one of music's most creative forces. For one of Brown's most enduring gifts to contemporary music practice was his willing embrace of "illogic" in the face of a dogmatic image of musical thought, a quality shared with the Deleuzean Idiot of Difference and Repetition (1968).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-133
Number of pages16
JournalNew formations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • James Brown
  • Deleuze
  • Idiot
  • Godfather of Soul
  • naiveté
  • contemporary music practice
  • illogic
  • Difference
  • Repetition

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