10 essential Jazz Funk classics Part 2… Like always, a selection is per definition limited, and God knows how the groove would definitely not have sounded the same without the regular experimentations which have paved its way… Such as back in the 70’s when Jazz came to integrate Funk, Soul or Disco along with analog synthesized sounds. As a result, many are the gems we couldn’t talk about here, even though they would definitely have deserved a mention.
You obviously enjoyed our part 1, which we deeply appreciate. Here we go then with its follow-up. No need to say how, as usual, this selection is way from being exhaustive. Most likely due to find a third round 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.
Gotta pay my props to my childhood brother – a drummer – who got me into Jazz/Funk and, in the meantime, into reading the rhythms. Back then, he suggested me a whole bunch of artists to check. From Freddie Hubbard to Billy Cobham and Stanley Clarke. Not to mention Weather Report. An obvious wink to famous NYC Jazz club of the likes where Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker was a regular headliner… ‘Birdland’ is the group’s biggest classic ever. With Jaco Pastorious responsible for a one of a kind bassline. And Wayne Shorter at the peak of his art on sax.
‘Rock Creek Park’ is not only the famous urban park that bisects the Northwest quadrant of WDC. It’s also one of the Blackbyrds‘ biggest classics ever along with ‘Walkin’ In Rhythm’. The Blackbyrds obviously inspired British Jazz/Funk acts such as Light Of The World and Hi-Tension. Meanwhile ‘Rock Creek Park’ was to find a reference on many artists’s repertoires. From De La Soul to Massive Attack and Nas among others who sampled it. It’s also one of the highlights of the soundtrack to Isaac Julien‘s 1991 film ‘Young Soul Rebels’ along with its title track by the likes of Mica Paris.
Most likely remembered as one of the inventors of the Smooth Jazz, Saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. reached one of his peaks back in 1975. He then released no less than 2 albums. One being ‘Mister Magic’ and its title cut which we included in our first series of selected cut. And the other, ‘Feels So Good’, featuring the magnetic ‘Knucklehead’ along with top notched musicians. From Bob James on piano and synths to Eric Gale on guitar. The whole over an infectious bassline by the likes of Gary King.
Speakin’ of this gem, Dexter Wansel said on Youtube…“0f all the songs I wrote/produced/arranged for MFSB, this is for me the most different. I think it’s an experiment in rhythmic, soft sonic synth and live string and harp combinations.” And the fact is we find the Philadelphia International Records collective of backing musicians in a quiet unusual vibe. Blending deep symphonic vibes over a killer funk-bass driven rhythm part courtesy of Alphonso Carey.