Thursday, March 30, 2017

10 essential Disco Jazz cuts

10 essential Disco Jazz cuts10 essential Disco Jazz cuts… Like always, a selection is per definition limited. A breeding ground for all sorts of experimentations back then, Disco happened to be a natural playground for the Jazzmen on their will to explore extra territories… As a result, many are the gems we couldn’t talk about here, even though they would have definitely been worth a mention.
No need to say how this selection is way from being exhaustive, most likely due to find an extension later when the right time comes. Nevertheless, you should find thereafter a pretty much illustrative sample of highly energetic jams where the infectiousness of the groove predominates. Wishing you’ll enjoy the ride as much as we did, while putting this together for you, with your feedback, and a mention of your favorite song more than welcome.

10 essential Disco Jazz cuts / Earth, Wind & Fire – In The Stone (Kalimba/Columbia)
Embedding one of the most famous horn sections in the history of the groove, Earth, Wind & Fire never missed an opportunity to show case their natural appetency for the fusion, such as brilliantly demonstrated on this joint taken from their 1979 released ‘I Am’ album that spawned classics such as ‘Boogie Wonderland’ (featuring The Emotions) and ‘After The Love Has Gone’…
10 essential Disco Jazz cuts / The Players Association – Turn The Music Up (Vanguard)
An 18-piece studio band put together by Chris Hills and Danny Weiss back in 1977 (with luminaries such as James Mtume, Steve Khan, Joe Farrell and David Sanborn), The Players Association delivered some of the most infectious jams one can think of, also served by an impressive horn section, from ‘I Like It’ to ‘We Got The Groove’ and the aforementioned, even though they’re mostly remembered for their cover versions of ‘Love Hangover’ and ‘Disco Inferno’, respectively by Diana Ross and The Trammps.
10 essential Disco Jazz cuts / George Benson – The World Is A Ghetto (Warner Bros.)
1977 marked the beginning of a new era for Jazz guitarist George Benson with the release of his Tommy LiPuma produced ‘In Flight’ album which included a cover version of War‘s classic’The World Is A Ghetto’. A cut which not only stands as one of Benson‘s signature cuts, seeing him scatting over his Ibañez guitar in an incomparable way (surrounded by cats such as Phil Upchurch, Ronnie Foster, Harvey Mason and Ralph McDonald among others), but also attracted the attention of a new audience, including in the clubs, therefore opening the path for further jams such as ‘On Broadway’, ‘Give Me The Night’ and other ‘Never Give Up On A Good Thing’…
10 essential Disco Jazz cuts / The New Jersey Connection – Love Don’t Come Easy (Carnival Records)
One of the definitive highlights from 1981, this blowing jazzy/funk jam born from the reunion of producer Eddie Sanders, arrangers Daryle Miller and Kevin Marshall along with singer Kenny Bristol under The New Jersey Connection guise. Quite ironical though, as despite an obvious appeal and know how even though not being an exception, they all disappeared soon after as a whole as, as individualities…
10 essential Disco Jazz cuts / Kool & The Gang – Open Sesame (De-Lite Records)
Although mostly remembered as a Disco hit machine in the 80’s, Kool & The Gang first appeared as a Jazz/Funk studio outfit by the beginning of the previous decade. Opening their 1976 released album of the likes, the infectiously horn-led ‘Open Sesame’ somehow stands as the missing link between their two periods…
10 essential Disco/Jazz cuts / Arthur Adams – You Got The Floor (Inculcation)
Ironically, the most well known by the likes of guitarist/singer Arthur Adams who mainly made his path in the Blues scene prior to be exploring funk territories in the mid-70’s, eventually playing along with The Crusaders, before going back to his roots. More than 30 years after its release, remaining as one of the most infectious compositions in the genre…
10 essential Disco Jazz cuts / Eumir Deodato – Whistle Bump (Warner Bros.)
Remembered as the producer of Kool & The Gang‘s greatest Disco classics, Brazilian pianist/composer Eumir Deodato has one of the most ecletcic repertoire on his own. From his brillant cover version of Richard Strauss‘s to the lesser known Funky ‘Keep On Movin”. Mixed by Jimmy Simpson (Ashford & Simpson, GQ) and co-produced with Tommy LiPuma, the 1978 released ‘Whistle Bump’ stands as one of his signature cuts, eventually introducing the use of a whistle in the Disco production…
10 essential Disco Jazz cuts / Funk Fusion Band – Can You Feel It (Progressive Version) (WMOT Records)
On Philly-based seminal label WMOT Records, this reorchestrated instrumental version around a strong vocal hook and an insane sax part of Asphalt Jungle‘s ‘Freakin’ Time’, by the likes of home producers David Todd and Nick Martinelli. A cut written by MFSB drummer Keith Benson.
10 essential Disco Jazz cuts / Idris Muhammad – Could Heaven Ever Be Like This (Kudu Records)
A Jazz drummer who recorded with luminaries such as Pharoah Sanders, Lou Donaldson and Grant Green among many others, Idris Muhammad (born Leo Morris) came to explore reputedly more danceable territories with the release of his ‘Turn This Mutha Out’ album back in 1977, featuring gems such as its title cut, ‘Tasty Cakes’ and the mythic ‘Could Heaven Ever Be Like This’ which would be the subject of heavy battles between bidders more than 20 years after its release on eBay.
10 essential Disco Jazz cuts / Community People – Education Wrap (Delmar International)
I know how this may sound like an arbitrary choice coming along with this quite underrated jewel, but I can’t resist finish up this selection with this positive blend of inspiring rap/chants melted with a killer sax part over an insane key led funky bass driven rhythm part which would be the one and only jam by the likes of this band…

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