Hate to pass along more sad news from the world of music, but trumpet player Richard “Kush” Griffith has died.
Griffith had been a member of one of the legendary horn sections in black pop music. The Horny Horns were a key element of Parliament and Bootsy’s Rubber Band during P-Funk’s 1970s heyday. Before that, Kush played in James Brown’s band and in Maceo Parker’s breakaway group, All the King’s Men.
Earlier this month in Louisville, Ky. (Griffith’s hometown), Maceo was among the musicians who performed at a fundraising benefit for Kush, who had been in poor health for some time.
Fred Wesley, in his 2002 memoir “Hit Me, Fred,” recalled how Griffith joined the James Brown band:
“[His] father was a bartender at the famous Louvillian nightclub in Louisville (an important stop on the chitlin circuit) and who had somehow gotten word that we needed a trumpet player. So he brought Kush... to the Freedom Hall to audition for the band.
“Kush didn’t have much experience playing jazz and funk, but he was an excellent trumpet player in every other respect. He had just come out of college and had real strong chops. Kush had no problems adjusting to the show and to the fellows, and we kind of looked at him as a little brother.... We have been lifelong friends.”
In between James Brown and P-Funk, Kush Griffith led a band called Bottom & Co., which cut an album for Motown in 1976. Click here to hear “Do a Funky Thing Together” off that LP. Kush delivers a tasty trumpet solo about 2 minutes in.
On the 2002 CD “The J.B.’s Reunion: Bring The Funk On Down,” Griffith contributed a pair of songs as co-writer and lead vocalist. Click here to hear “Do the Doo.”
I give thanks to Bob Davis of Soul-Patrol.com for sharing this unfortunate news.