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Dennis Chambers Explains Your Favorite James Brown Drum Beats

Dennis Chambers  /  UPDATED Aug 20, 2022

When he was just 13 years old, Dennis Chambers was invited to play drums with the legendary James Brown.

He wasn’t allowed to go on tour unless he brought a tutor with him, and unfortunately it wasn’t possible at the time.

Dennis Chambers went on to have an incredible career anyway, cutting his teeth with Parliament/Funkadelic, John Scofield Band, Carlos Santana and many others.

But Chambers will always remember the James Brown opportunity and continued to enjoy his music.

The first thing he learned to play was called a ‘fatback’, a beat whose name developed from a specific-sounding groove Brown wanted to hear.

You can find the fatback in many James Brown tracks, including “I Got The Feelin'”. What makes it different from the even more legendary ‘funky drummer’ beat? Chambers demos both in this short but sweet video about two groundbreaking grooves from the late 60s/early 70s.

Want more Dennis Chambers videos and stories? Check out this free full lesson from the last time he visited the Drumeo studio!

Dennis Chambers is a legendary drummer who has recorded and performed with artists such as Santana, Steely Dan, Parliament/Funkadelic, John Scofield, Carl Filipiak, John McLaughlin, Niacin, Mike Stern, and many others.

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