jazz funk

jazz funk
   Jazz funk originated out of the process of mixing together sounds and rhythms from different sources, specifically the contemporary swing style of jazz in the 1950s and funk, a sort of high-energy black rock ’n’ roll, which had emerged out of soul and rhythm and blues. Both jazz and funk can be considered to be meta-genres; they are each broader terms for a wider variety of associated musical styles. Jazz funk is often called fusion, because of the way it successfully blends the two styles. The jazz funk movement served to reinvi-gorate and heighten the jazz influence in pop music (see pop and rock). One of the most original exponents of jazz funk was George Clinton in the late 1960s, with his groups Parliament and Funkadelic. By the mid-1970s they had become an important force in black American music. Other American acts such as James Brown, Kool and the Gang and Earth Wind and Fire displayed considerable jazz funk tendencies. Jazz funk classics in the 1980s were Tom Browne’s ‘Funkin’ For Jamaica’ and Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rockit’, in the same tradition as his ‘Headhunters’ album in the 1970s. In Great Britain in the early 1980s there was a revival of the jazz funk style, with bands such as Linx, Imagination and Shakatak bringing a slightly more disco feel to the music. Aiming to inspire in their listeners the notion of James Brown meets Charlie Parker, they took the theme of jazz funk fusion as a basis, and incorporated the New York avant-garde styles of James Chance and the Contortions, and The Lounge Lizards, with the odd interspersions of African polyrhythms. The British revival was not altogether successful, lasting for perhaps a year, mainly due to the fact that it was considered to be a mere inventive version of disco pop.
   More palatable bands followed, such as RIP, RIG AND PANIC, MAXIMUM JOY, THE HIGSONS AND PIGBAG, with their chart success ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Pig Bag’, a title borrowed from an earlier James Brown hit. Jazz funk was typified by its mixture of laid-back mellowness, the slapping technique employed by its bass players, and its groove factor, often backed by complicated percussion. Modernday exponents of jazz funk in the UK are bands such as Level 42, Jamiroquai, Galliano and The Brand New Heavies.
   See also: disco; jazz soloists

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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