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.

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THE METERS Look-Ka Py Py Album Cover Look-Ka Py Py
5.00 | 3 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Thrust Album Cover Thrust
4.61 | 23 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Flood Album Cover Flood
4.69 | 7 ratings
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THE CRUSADERS Free as the Wind Album Cover Free as the Wind
4.98 | 2 ratings
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JOHN SCOFIELD Loud Jazz Album Cover Loud Jazz
4.80 | 3 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Head Hunters Album Cover Head Hunters
4.51 | 40 ratings
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THE J.B.'S Doing It to Death Album Cover Doing It to Death
4.93 | 2 ratings
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JOE FARRELL Penny Arcade Album Cover Penny Arcade
4.90 | 2 ratings
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JOE FARRELL Canned Funk Album Cover Canned Funk
4.90 | 2 ratings
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SOULIVE Up Here Album Cover Up Here
4.86 | 2 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Man-Child Album Cover Man-Child
4.42 | 15 ratings
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BOBBI HUMPHREY Blacks and Blues Album Cover Blacks and Blues
4.75 | 2 ratings
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funk jazz Music Reviews


Album · 2012 · Funk Jazz
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'Perfect Times' is pretty rocking funk jazz from Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro.

This, their fourth release, is the most 'full' sounding album to date. It features more guitar (or at least more layers), faster tempos and more aggression. Not to say the laid back funk has gone, or that everything is fast and furious, but on first listen the album is a departure from their swaggering funk.

Having said that, the more you spin it the more the familiar Motown and Meters influences come through - such as on 'Yesterday's Delight.' The rockier approach is showcased best perhaps on the charging 'Perfect Time' and elsewhere we have the more 'classic' Mountain Mocha sound, on tracks like 'The Preacher'.

My hands down favourite pair would have to be the almost joyous 'Watchin'' followed by the Curtis Mayfield inspired 'Mud City' - an almost brooding piece featuring piano and sythns, evoking space - until the triumphant chorus explodes.

Not my favourite from the group, because I felt like there was less soloing overall, and I missed that, but still, this is a really enjoyable album. Check it out if you're interested in funk jazz.

KLAUS DOLDINGER/PASSPORT Ataraxia (aka Sky Blue aka Klaus Doldinger)

Album · 1978 · Funk Jazz
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This album found Klaus Doldinger ditching the old lineup, so effectively a brand new Passport. This album is a mixed bag, there's a couple of numbers that throw me over the edge, and several experiments that are untypically Passport I really enjoy. A couple of them venture into that dreaded lite-fusion, especially "Louisiana", in fact it borders on smooth jazz. There are some songs on here that remind me a whole lot of instrumental Alan Parsons Project, particularly "Sky Blue" and "Loco-Motive". Given I often enjoyed many of the instrumental stuff of the Alan Parsons Project, I found these songs very enjoyable. I wouldn't be surprised if Klaus Doldinger got a hold of I Robot and decided to record music in the style of that album's instrumental stuff. "Reng Ding Dang Dong" really blows me away, a really strange, unusual electronic experiment that really sounds like nothing I have ever heard from Passport! Strange spacy synthesizers and a cool rhythm to go with it. I was surprised how much of this album I enjoyed, even if a couple of songs are cringe worthy. Much of the Latin influence of Iguacu is gone here, some of the songs here, as mentioned, leans towards the instrumental Alan Parsons Project side of things, one electronic piece, couple that sounds like classic Passport, and a couple of more lightweight numbers. By the way, Ataraxia and Sky Blue are the same release. For some strange reason, Atlantic Records in the States felt it would be better titled Sky Blue, while the international release is called Ataraxia. At least they both bear the same cover and tracklistings.

Of course, albums like Looking Thru and Cross-Collateral are their best albums, this is still worth having for the better material included here.


Album · 1973 · Funk Jazz
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As much as I enjoy Sextant and Crossings, I know right away many people would be put off by the avant garde leanings of those albums. Herbie Hancock came to a realization that many people had a hard time appreciating avant garde, so with Head Hunters, he assembled a new band (with Bennie Maupin from the old lineup) and adopted a more funky approach. "Chameleon" is that prime example, a rather catchy and funky piece that still leaves room for improvisations, but one the other hand avoiding the more "far out" stuff that turned people away from his past three albums. He does a drastic remake of "Watermelon Man". I am very familiar with the 1962 original, he transformed it so much you have to listen carefully for some familiar themes to creep in. The music flirts with African music, plus the song is updated to include clavinets and electric piano, while the original was piano and horn-dominated. "Sly" is obvious reference to Sly Stone, he was open about his love for Sly & the Family Stone, inspiring him to go a more funky direction here. It's a real intense piece of fusion that any fan of fusion will just be totally blown away! "Vein Melter" is the last cut and more calm, and in a way, harkens back to the Sextant and Crossings style, but not so out there as to scare off more mainstream listeners. It's strange that I just got me Headhunters, and I've been aware of that album for a very long time. Well, better late than never. This album was a big success and it's nice to see he didn't adopt an overly-commercial approach to do it. Yes, it's more accessible than his previous three albums, but that was done on purpose. The production also seems cleaner too. This is without a doubt a fusion classic, and while I might not be the biggest fusion fan out there, I know good fusion when I hear it, and this is one of them and completely essential!

STANLEY CLARKE S.M.V.:Thunder (with Miller and Wooten)

Album · 2008 · Funk Jazz
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Stanley Clarke. Marcus Miller. Victor Wooten.

If you know anything about jazz fusion, funk, or the electric bass, these men need no introduction. These three bassists - some of the best players alive - are responsible for revolutionizing the electric bass and demonstrating what the instrument is really capable of. So what happens if you stick all three of them into the same band? Let's find out.

After a brief symphonic intro in the opening track "Maestros De Frecuencias Bajas", your ears are greeted by a pounding, funky electric bass line and you know just what you're getting into. I would admittedly not consider most of the music on this album jazz fusion; it falls more into the realm of jazz-funk.

This record has a nice mix of original material as well as old favourites that are given the three-bass treatment. The title track, "Thunder", is probably the highlight of the album with its flashy playing and perfect interplay of basses. While most of the compositions here are strong, with so much emphasis on bass lines there seems to be a lack of strong, quality melodies. In addition, although the band seems to be trying to mix things up occasionally, the album could really benefit from even more diversity.

You wouldn't think that having three bassists in a band would sound natural, but these guys weave together flawlessly. By playing in different registers and taking on distinct roles, each bass part sounds crisp and the sound very rarely gets muddled up - something you might expect to happen when you throw so many low-range instruments into the mix. Each of the bassists takes turns alternating between traditional bass lines, lead playing, and soloing, and all three guys are exceptional at every role.

Don't be fooled into thinking that this album is entirely about bass, though; sure, it's the focus of the majority of the record, but it's not all that's here. There are a slew of guest and session musicians who contribute their expertise to this album as well, including fusion hero Chick Corea (who offers a great piano solo on "Mongoose Walk") and George Duke. Marcus Miller himself adds a plethora of instruments to this release, including bass clarinet, saxophone, and the much-loved minimoog.

If you're like me and love the electric bass, S.M.V.'s Thunder is a release you don't want to miss. If bass and jazz-funk is not something you're all that into, however, this record isn't going to do too much to change your mind despite the lineup and great concept. It has a few shortcomings, no doubt, but overall Thunder is a solid debut release.

(Originally published on

MONOPHONICS Into The Infrasounds

Album · 2010 · Funk Jazz
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Of any style of music played wrong, nothing sounds much worse than bad funk, and that’s why I tend to approach new retro funk bands with caution. The trouble with a lot of today’s bands that try to bring back a 70s vibe is that they get too hung up on the schtick and the obvious outer trappings of the music, but I’m happy to say that Monophonics do not fake the funk, and although they aren’t quite a top tier band yet, they are well on their way. Monophonics pull from a number of sources to create their sound; classic funk from The Meters and The JBs, Afrobeat from Fela Kuti and soulful blues rock ala Buddy Miles. Some songs stay true to one style, while others may mix things up a bit. Although the Monophonics may not have the razor sharp precision of the JBs, or the impossible to duplicate syncopations of the Meters, any seasoned funk fan will tell you that these guys are on the right track. Their ensemble feel for rhythm is pretty tight, but unfortunately they still lack a really strong soloist to help push these jams over the top.

Some of the top cuts on here include; “Low Blow”, which is a dead ringer for an early Meters tune, “Gappa” an African groove with a nice closing flute solo, and “Loose Nukes”, their most heated number with a guest solo from Karl Denson. I noticed that the Monophonics are playing the college scene jam band circuit, I bet they are better than a lot of other bands playing that scene.

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Artists with Funk Jazz release(s)


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