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
4.89 | 8 ratings
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MARCUS MILLER The Ozell Tapes: The Official Bootleg Album Cover The Ozell Tapes: The Official Bootleg
4.80 | 5 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Head Hunters Album Cover Head Hunters
4.40 | 61 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Thrust Album Cover Thrust
4.37 | 39 ratings
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4.60 | 5 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Flood Album Cover Flood
4.37 | 15 ratings
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THE CRUSADERS Chain Reaction Album Cover Chain Reaction
4.67 | 3 ratings
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GABOR SZABO Macho Album Cover Macho
4.50 | 5 ratings
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DONALD BYRD Kofi Album Cover Kofi
4.43 | 6 ratings
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SOULIVE Up Here Album Cover Up Here
4.62 | 3 ratings
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MARCUS MILLER Silver Rain Album Cover Silver Rain
4.50 | 4 ratings
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SOULIVE Doin' Something Album Cover Doin' Something
4.40 | 6 ratings
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Plan R
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Album · 2023 · Funk Jazz
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“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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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.


Album · 1970 · Funk Jazz
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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.

DAVE LIEBMAN Light'n Up, Please!

Album · 1977 · Funk Jazz
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Dave Liebman is probably one of the top saxophonists to come out of the 70s scene. He has played with greats including Elvin Jones, Chick Corea, Miles Davis and so many more, but even the greats have an off day, and for Liebman that would be this album, “Light’n Up Please”. Its not a terrible album, but far from a great one for sure. Initial problems occur just looking at the cover. Who does a photo op in the back of a Ford Pinto? Not only was it a complete crap car, but if someone had struck the car‘s infamous backside, Dave and his lovely missus would have surely gone up in flames. Then on the back cover you get a sticker telling you that the track listing on the album back cover is incorrect and you are to read the record label to get the correct listing. We haven’t even placed the album on a turntable and we are already off to a bad start, ha.

Apparently “Light’n Up” was Dave’s shot at funk jazz, a hugely popular style at that time, but this just isn’t Dave’s forte. He even enlisted JBs member Pee Wee Ellis to help out, but it didn’t work. To the novice this album may sound okay, but just play it back to back against the JBs, the Meters or the Headhunters and you will hear that something is just not quite right. Part of the problem is in the rhythm section. The cuts that feature Tony Saunders on bass and Jimmy Strassburg on drums are the better ones, but the ones that feature Jeff Berlin on bass and Al Foster on drums suffer. Jeff is a good prog and fusion bassist and Al is top notch in post bop and fusion, but as a funk team, they just don’t lock with each other, and Dave doesn’t lock with them either. Dave plays his usual flowing post bop lines instead of the short punchy riffs that make funk work. I’m reminded on Monk’s famous advice to Steve Lacy, ‘make the drummer sound good’.

Dave’s song writing on here is not great either, for supposedly being funk tunes, a lot of the music is just clumsy. One of the better cuts, “Chicken Soup” is just a straight up rip off of Maceo’s “The Chicken”, yet Dave puts his name on the song writing credits. The best song on the album, “Tranquility of the Protective Aura” is the only song not written by Liebman, instead it was penned by keyboardist Harold Williams and it is a luxurious piece of Ravelish exotica. Once again, this isn’t a really terrible album , but if you really love good funk music, you will hear the weaknesses pretty quickly.

FRED WESLEY Damn Right I am Somebody (wth the JB's)

Album · 1974 · Funk Jazz
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Damn Right I am Somebody’ is an excellent jazzy funk release recorded by the JB’s during their second peak after reforming under the leadership of tromboner par excellance, Fred Wesley. Wesley’s records usually reflect the style of the people he is working with at the time, in this case that would be one of James Brown’s very best early 70s ensembles. This is hard grooving James style funk with the characteristic slight swing feel and Afro-Cuban accents from conga player Johnny Griggs. Unfortunately, the musicians on here are not listed, but some givens include Jimmy Nolan on guitar, Maceo Parker on sax, John Starks on drums and James Brown on incidental vocals. If you have ever seen Eddie Murphy’s hilarious send- up of James’ nonsense syllable improvisations, you will love album opener ‘Damn Right I am Somebody’ where Brown unleashes a constant stream of onomatopoeia crazyness.

If you know your early hip-hop samples and loops you will know that this is the JB’s album with the synthesizer. Some references claim that James is the synth player, while others list vocalist Bobby Byrd. Either way, the persistent synth noodling on several cuts adds an excellent exotic flavor to this record. All the songs on here are great, but one stand out is ‘I’m Payin Taxes, What am I Buyin’, where Jimmy Nolan provides a killer guitar riff that won’t quit. Jimmy Nolan is the god of rhythm guitar .. word.

Most of the songs on here are classic JB’s funk except for ‘Make Me what You Want Me to be’ which is a classy orchestrated soul-jazz pop number, likewise their lover’s groove re-make of Marvin Gaye’s ‘You Sure Love to Ball’ sets a different mood as it closes the album and turns down the lights for the rest of the evening.

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Artists with Funk Jazz release(s)


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