Jazz Funk

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Jazz funk seems to divide opinion, a bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Maybe that’s an extreme view to be honest,  like any form of music, there are tracks that really kick it and others that are lightweight. When jazz funk first came on the scene in the 1970s many hard-line jazz heads saw it as a dilution of contemporary jazz. But, jazz has always reflected popular music, from Coltrane covering “My Favourite Things” to Miles cutting a Cyndi Lauper track. Some purists have selective memories. Dance has always been an important element of jazz, right from its conception. So while elitist jazz critics were sat in front of their expensive hi-fi units listening to fifties be-bop, we were dancing to Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, Hubert Laws, Lonnie Liston Smith, Paulinho Da Costa, Roy Ayres, Ronnie Laws, the Crusaders, Bob James, George Duke, Willie Bobo, Charles Earland, et al.

I took a little nostalgic trip recently through the golden period of the late seventies early eighties jazz funk. I wish I could say I was there dancing at Wigan Pier or Legend in Manchester during that period. I was actually studying in Hull, out on a limb on the Humber, watching Fatboy Slim kick a football around Queens Gardens and Roland Gift jog past my window. Romeo and Juliet’s wasn’t exactly a world class jazz funk venue. So as now, I made do with homemade C90s of jazz dance classics. Imaging my tiny bedsit was a grimy disco, I danced around the wardrobe, of course the alcohol helped. Around that time I started DJing, my first engagement was a gay disco at the famous Wellington Club (famous in Hull anyway). Can’t remember what I played, but I do remember being called “too butch”. Is that an insult? Not sure really, but it didn’t put me off, thirty years later and I’m still rocking the disco, albeit a virtual one.

Anyway I digress, what I mean to say is I took a nostalgic trip through some old favourites on Mixlr. Two hours of jazz dance classics. If you would like to join me on a dance orientated excursion just follow the link: http://mixlr.com/dj2tee/showreel/dj2tees-jazz-funk-weekender/ Alternatively, if you feel jazz funk is not worthy of your time, bung a fifties Miles platter on the turntable, settle down in your armchair and fire up your pipe. But you could do both, I know I do. Now where did I put my slippers?

Tracklist

Paulinho da Costa – Love Till The End Of Time
Bob James – Sign Of The Times
Ronnie Foster – Argentina
P. Magadini – Samba De Rollins
Billy Frazier and Friends – Billy Who? (Long Version)
Hubert Laws – Family
Benny Golson -The New Killer Joe
Lesette Wilson – Caveman Boogie
Mass Production – Shante
Willie Bobo – Always There
Ronnie Laws – Young Child
Deodato – Night Cruiser
Eddie Russ – Zaius
Francine McGee – Delirium
Mongo Santamaria – Sambita
Hiroshima – Lion Dance
Hiroshi Fukumura – Hunt Up Wind
Al Hudson and the Soul Partners – Spread Love
Roy Haynes – Vistalite
Eddie Henderson – Prance On
Light of the World – Pete’s Crusade (12″ Version)
Candido – Jingo
The Blackbyrds – Rock Creek Park
Locksmith – Blackjack
Chico Hamilton – Strut
Chick Corea / Return to Forever – 500 Miles High
Rodney Franklin – The Groove
Atmosfear – Dancing in Outer Space
John Tropea – To Touch You Again
The Starship Orchestra – The Genie
Lonnie Liston Smith – Space Princess
Charles Earland – Let the Music Play
Sea Level – Fifty-Four
Cedar Walton – Latin America
Kat Mandu – The Break
D Train – You’re The One For Me
Gilberto Gil – Palco
Dennis Coffey – Wings of Fire

Once again apologies for nicking a picture. This time from Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove’s seminal ‘From Jazz Funk to Fusion & Acid Jazz: The History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene’ . You might want to check that out: http://chaserpublications-ukjazzdance.blogspot.com/

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