Funk Jazz

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Funk jazz is a sub-genre of jazz fusion and is basically the blending of funk rhythms with jazz improvisation. Some classic funk jazz artists include The JBs, The Meters, The Brecker Brothers and Soulive. At JMA, additional funk jazz music can be found in the Fusion, Funk, Soul Jazz and Acid Jazz genres.

funk jazz top albums

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THE METERS Look-Ka Py Py Album Cover Look-Ka Py Py
THE METERS
4.89 | 8 ratings
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MARCUS MILLER The Ozell Tapes: The Official Bootleg Album Cover The Ozell Tapes: The Official Bootleg
MARCUS MILLER
4.80 | 5 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Head Hunters Album Cover Head Hunters
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4.40 | 62 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Thrust Album Cover Thrust
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.37 | 39 ratings
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MARCUS MILLER M² Album Cover
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4.60 | 5 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Flood Album Cover Flood
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4.37 | 15 ratings
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THE CRUSADERS Chain Reaction Album Cover Chain Reaction
THE CRUSADERS
4.67 | 3 ratings
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GABOR SZABO Macho Album Cover Macho
GABOR SZABO
4.50 | 5 ratings
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DONALD BYRD Kofi Album Cover Kofi
DONALD BYRD
4.43 | 6 ratings
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SOULIVE Up Here Album Cover Up Here
SOULIVE
4.62 | 3 ratings
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MARCUS MILLER Silver Rain Album Cover Silver Rain
MARCUS MILLER
4.50 | 4 ratings
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SOULIVE Doin' Something Album Cover Doin' Something
SOULIVE
4.40 | 6 ratings
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funk jazz Music Reviews

IDRIS MUHAMMAD Peace And Rhythm

Album · 1971 · Funk Jazz
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CounterClockWorld
IDRIS MUHAMMAD is has become a personal favorite of mine in recent, thanks to his smooth blending of funk and soul jazz. This album opens with the 11 minute "Peace And Rhythm Suite" a calm paced jazz track, the whole thing reminds me of a PHAROAH SANDERS song. The second track starts off really quiet some avant garde-ish things going on before suddenly changing into a danceable funk jazz tune, and the percussion really shines here, there's also some reminders of some fusion, specifically SOFT MACHINE or BRAND X. The next track is the most energetic so far and it even features a female vocalist, it's probably the most danceable track here, but I'd kinda prefer the song to be instrumental but that's just a personal pet peeve. The next track isn't super special for me but like what other people have said about this record the first side of this album is much better, although the album ends on a strong note, the track "I'm a Believer" is a funky upbeat soul tune and I much like the vocals here better. Overall a decent album, I think he has better works but this album is an enjoyable listen

CALVIN KEYS Detours into Unconscious Rhythms

Album · 2000 · Funk Jazz
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js
By the time the year 2000 rolled around, Calvin Keys was already a veteran of the soul jazz scene, having played his first gigs when he was a teenager back in the 60s. Originally from the mid-west, Calvin worked with all the major Hammond B-3 artists such as Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff and Groove Holmes before moving to LA in the early 70s. In the 90s Calvin re-located to the SF Bay Area just in time to enjoy that scene’s acid jazz explosion which made a musician with a good soul jazz resume an artist in demand. A lot of small labels sprang up in SF at this time to capitalize on a growing interest in mixing soul jazz with current hip-hop sensibilities. This was a scene that was unique to SF within the US, but it mirrored similar scenes in Europe, especially England. So it came to pass that Calvin was tapped by the Wide Hive label to record his first album as a leader in some time, as Wide Hive tried to capitalize on the Bay Area’s fascination with the merger of hip-hop and jazz.

“Detours into Unconscious Rhythms” is a very solid funk jazz record, and although there are nods to some trendy hip-hopisms, things do not get too watered down in an attempt to sound hip. Instead, Calvin and his crew focus on making great music that would fit any time period. Like most soul jazz cats, Calvin’s playing is based in the blues, but he eschews that Wes Montgomery octave sound that influenced so many other hard bop guitarists and instead goes for a more fleet fingered solo note style in a George Benson vein, but driven with fusion style repeating solo riffs that recall John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell. Calvin gets some good backing from his crew, particularly Chester Thompson who performs on several tracks with his Hammond B3.

Most of the tracks are great, “Tierra Naranja” is uptempo fusion with vibraphone contributions from Roger Glenn. Chester Thompson plays some Larry Young style organ work on “Perfection is Instant Death” with its almost prog rock sounding chord progression buildups and “Landing Pad” has some nice spacey psych Fender Rhodes from Kat Ouno. There is only one track with gratuitous record scratching. a feature that does date this album, but it is brief. There is one choral vocal track that some may find inspiring, while others may find it overwrought and dated, but otherwise this album is filled with top notch funk jazz fueled by Calvin’s very deft fret work.

R FOR ROMEO Plan R

Album · 2023 · Funk Jazz
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js
“Plan R” is the debut album from funk jazz duo, R For Romeo, which consists of longtime LA session musicians Daniel Stein on keyboards and Stuart Ziff on guitars. Some may recognize the band and album name as coming from the movie “Dr Strangelove’, which is a favorite film for both of the musicians. Filling out the rest of the band are several guest musicians, including trumpeter, Chris Tedesco, who brings some brass fire to a couple tracks. Romeo’s music falls roughly into the funk jazz category, with some sidelines into slow jam ballads, quasi reggae and trip-hop. Both Stein and Ziff have a background in library music, and it shows in the appealing economy and brevity to some of the selections, neither musician is given to long winded solos. There are some great tracks on here, but the whole album could have benefited from a better consideration for the order that the songs appear in. My advice to the new listener, don’t start at the beginning with this one, instead skip around a bit and you will find some excellent wah-wah guitar and Hammond organ driven soulful numbers.

There are four really good high energy funk tracks on here, with three coming at the end of the album. “Lockdown” channels Stevie Ray, while ‘Blabbermouth” conjures up early Funkadelic and “You Can’t be Serious” has a Jeff Beck vibe to it. Album closer, “Barney’s Groove” is based on the opening theme to the show, “Barney Miller”, and its about time someone recorded a jam featuring that famous bass line that almost everyone wanted to play back in the late 70s, even people who could barely play the bass at all. Back then, you could hand almost anyone a bass guitar, and next thing you know, here comes that well-known syncopated climb up the neck of the instrument.

There are two well written guitar ballads, with “Blue”, again channeling that Jeff Beck sound. Other than that you also get a ‘Steely Dan playing reggae’ sort of thing and a trip-hop number built off of a drum loop. Lots of nice material on here, but the track order remains a mystery. Why were the two ballads placed back to back, and why didn’t the album open with the stronger tracks. Finally, on an album featuring live drummers, why was the only drum loop track given a prominent position as the second song. It’s a good jam that develops nicely, but that drum loop sounds a bit odd coming early in the album. “Plan R” is a good album for funk jazz and fusion fans, but it could have benefited from a better presentation.

DEAN MUCETTI Dean Mucetti & Rhythm Real : Isolate // Integrate

Album · 2023 · Funk Jazz
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js
Bugge Wesseltoft generated a lot of attention when he called his debut album A New Conception in Jazz, Possibly Dean Mucetti’s debut, “Isolate/Integrate”, could have been called A New Conception in Funk Jazz or Papa’s Got a Newer Brand New Bag, because this album is funk jazz like you have never heard it before. The rhythms on here are based somewhat on James Brown etc, but there is something kind of deliberate, almost mechanical about these grooves, and that is the appeal. You may recall the late 70s when P-funk got pushed off the dance floors by Kraftwerk and DEVO, which spawned the whole electric boogaloo craze and the robot dance, but Mucetti’s music doesn’t sound like any of that either, no, this is the new funk for the millennial generation and it bears influence from their video games, anime soundtracks and current hip-hop. Other influences you might hear would include the static funk of Miles’ “On the Corner” and “Get Up With It” albums and the joyful chaos of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time. The way in which Dean’s structured rhythms unfold can recall the compositions of Steve Reich and some of his rapidly changing arrangements resemble the big band music of Fletcher Henderson or the prog rock of Gentle Giant. Its all here and well worth checking out for those curious for something new.

A super tight rhythm section of drums, bass and two guitars lay down the poly rhythms while the two keyboardist snake across the interlocking patterns with their solos. Sometimes there are polyphonic sections with multiple simultaneous solos in the style of Ornette’s Prime Time. “Loose Satin” is probably the track closest to traditional funk with its call and response guitar figures recalling the JBs and Fela Kuti. “Mother Alone” is a thick down tempo gravy that has that mid-70s Miles vibe to it. All of the tracks are great, there is not a dull moment on here. If you are down with the funk you have to check this one out, Dean and his crew are taking the Mothership to new frontiers.

CLIFFORD JORDAN Soul Fountain

Album · 1970 · Funk Jazz
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Mssr_Renard
This album of Jordan must be his least inspiring. I can't say it's really bad, but it's rather easy. No bop here but mostly r&b tunes.

It sounds like a mainstream album and maybe an attempt at a album-hit, but I cannot say it really moves me. The songs are all too short to feature great soloiing or improvisations. It's just a collection of song

The musicians on this album are all highly regarded and especially side two (recorded on a different date with different musicians) saves this album. The composition Retribution (cowritten by Julian Priester and Abbey Lincoln), taken from Lincoln's Straight Ahead album from 1961 is strong.

Maybe it's because I'm not a big fan of James Brown, and 'I Feel Good' is an okay song, but Clifff can do so much better than this.

The album-cover I like and I like Senor Blues of Horace Silver, so at least this albums is not a total loss.

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