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Chris Turnbull

Late 70's Jazz Funk Scene

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I'm waiting for this scene to get big again so I can start my DJ-ing career. Got hundreds of 12" singles and albums.

Has anybody mentioned that Colin Curtis was a big name on this scene. I suppose most people know that. 

Couple of tracks to mention: Ripple - The Beat Goes On;  

                                                T S Monk - Candidate For Love

                                                Kay Gees - Latican Funk

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Jazz Funk, now that takes me back.I used to live in Huddersfield and whilst first and foremost  into Northern soul  went to a few jazz funk events. My fave jazz funk record just has to be :-Eddie Henderson Prance On with say you will on the b side I.M.O. absolutely  brilliant,in fact I bought it at the time on a 12inch single and still have it.                                                               Regards Fred.  

Edited by Mr Fred

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15 hours ago, Bruv said:

 Use to enjoy listening to this in the late 70's while having a break from playing Northern Soul singles :wink: Ramsey Lewis - Spring High :hatsoff2: 

tuneeeeeeeeee

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On Friday, June 09, 2017 at 10:55, Mickey Finn said:

Santana crossed a lot of blurred boundaries during the 70s. From 1976, featuring Greg Walker on vocals:

The "Welcome" album from 1973 was very jazzy, featuring Leon Thomas on a few tracks but this instrumental always particularly did it for me:

By 1978 the influence of disco is clear ... with Greg Walker again, and produced by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, of Four Tops ABC-era fame:

 

Not a bad version of stormy on the last album 

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12 hours ago, geeselad said:

Not a bad version of stormy on the last album 

Together with Greg Walker, Santana turns up on this much played Herbie Hancock track from the era:

A year earlier, he released a solo album that contains some very much underplayed jazz funk:

 

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A few not been mentioned yet

Willie Bobo  Always There  (dog rare 12" mix)

Ned Doheny  Prove My Love

Johnny Hammond  Los Conquistadores Chocolates

Chic Corea  Central Park  (who could forget some of the dance moves at the Ritz all-dayers)

Aquarian Dream You'e A Star (or in fact the other version)

John Handy Hard Work

Richard Tee First Love

Bob James Heads

Mongo Santamaria Watermelon Man (70's version)

 

Colin Curtis used to show up on Mike Shafts Radio Piccadily show and play 3 in a row and Hewan Clark used to do it when CC wasn't around

Great Days Great music 

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11 hours ago, concrete said:

A few not been mentioned yet

Willie Bobo  Always There  (dog rare 12" mix)

Ned Doheny  Prove My Love

Johnny Hammond  Los Conquistadores Chocolates

Chic Corea  Central Park  (who could forget some of the dance moves at the Ritz all-dayers)

Aquarian Dream You'e A Star (or in fact the other version)

John Handy Hard Work

Richard Tee First Love

Bob James Heads

Mongo Santamaria Watermelon Man (70's version)

 

Great picks all - love the John Handy, and Richard Tee was a terrific pianist, like Joe Sample turning up on an amazing number of sessions as well as recording in his own right.  Both the Richard Tee and Ned Doheny tracks appeared on the excellent CBS comp of the time, Bitter Suite, which was reissued a while back on cd along with the 2 sequels.

This also appeared on "Bitter Suite", as well as Herbie's own "Mr Hands" LP from 1980, featuring Alphonse Mouzon on drums and Freddie Washington on bass:

Johnny Hammond's "Gambler's Life" on CTI from 1974 often gets overlooked, despite the fact it was also a Mizell Bros production. It's a really cooking session, somehow even more intense than the great follow-up "Gears":

This was and remains a popular tune - David Benoit from 1977:

 

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I couldn't see an area for introductions so I thought I'd start here as I love a bit of jazz-funk.....

A few have been mentioned before but here's 10 of my favourites:

Donald Byrd ‎– Dominoes 12" version
Ramsey Lewis - Sun Goddess
Herbie Hancock - I thought it was you
Touchdown - Aquadance (remix)
Grover Washington, Jr. ‎– Feels So Good
David Bendeth ‎– Feel The Real
Donald Byrd - Love has come around
Steve Kahn - Darlin Darlin Baby
Donald Byrd ‎– Places And Spaces
Bob James - Westchester Lady

 

 

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6 hours ago, Jimmy Disco D said:

I couldn't see an area for introductions so I thought I'd start here as I love a bit of jazz-funk.....

A few have been mentioned before but here's 10 of my favourites:

Donald Byrd ‎– Dominoes 12" version
Ramsey Lewis - Sun Goddess
Herbie Hancock - I thought it was you
Touchdown - Aquadance (remix)
Grover Washington, Jr. ‎– Feels So Good
David Bendeth ‎– Feel The Real
Donald Byrd - Love has come around
Steve Kahn - Darlin Darlin Baby
Donald Byrd ‎– Places And Spaces
Bob James - Westchester Lady

 

 

Some good choices there Jimmy in your top ten :hatsoff2:  Can I welcome you to the site. :)  

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13 hours ago, Bruv said:

Some good choices there Jimmy in your top ten :hatsoff2:  Can I welcome you to the site. :)  

Same here Jimmy - good to be able to share appreciation and learn some new stuff along the way :thumbup: The Ramsey Lewis tune is a cracker, and if you like his stuff more generally, I recommend his 1982 LP "Live at the Savoy", featuring Grover Washington Jr on 4 tracks:

Always loved the Bendeth track, and since we're on the subject of UK jazz funk with Morrissey Mullen, what about some early Shakatak, when they still had that distinctive UK sound:

 

 

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15 hours ago, Bruv said:

Some good choices there Jimmy in your top ten :hatsoff2:  Can I welcome you to the site. :)  

 

2 hours ago, Mickey Finn said:

same here Jimmy - good to be able to share appreciation and learn some new stuff along the way :thumbup: The Ramsey Lewis tune is a cracker, and if you like his stuff more generally, I recommend his 1982 LP "Live at the Savoy", featuring Grover Washington Jr on 4 tracks:

 

Cheers!

I'm a big fan of Ramsey - be it jazz, funk or jazz-funk he's pure class. I think I've got eight of his LPs but Sun Goddess is my favourite thanks to the Maurice White's input. Generally I'd prefer studio to live albums but I'll give that on a listen. :thumbsup:

I had a listen to Dave Bendeth on the headphones last night, I forgot just how good it is.....

 

 

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A lot of this is too light and fluffy to me - perhaps what I like is more corrrectly 'disco' but it's got major balls to it...

Between the boss' collection of this stuff, stuff we inherited from Les Cokell and my own records we have shed loads of this stuff - frankly I'd rather listen to this and its soulful house/god garage soundalikes at a nighter nowadays (we loved upstairs at Blackburn when it was this sort of stuff) than most of the sorry excuse for northern that's played... Undisputed Truth has to rank as one of my alltime favs.

Dx

 

 

Edited by DaveNPete

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I think the boundaries are quite blurred in many cases, and explains why one person's jazz funk is another's disco, is another's boogie etc. All of your picks above wouldn't feel out of place in a JF set (not to me at least), even if they tilt towards the disco end of things in a few cases - the fact is that a lot of these guys were either jazz musicians anyway or had major jazz influences. 

Interesting that you pick 2 Patrick Adams productions here - the P&P output is commonly referred to as underground disco but it's not difficult to find the jazz influences. Same with a lot of soulful and deep house, there's a rhythm section keeping things tight on the bottom with a lot happening above it, and occasionally the bass and drums will break free and do their own things before getting back on track.

As for light and fluffy, well that's just asking for it pal :rofl:

Featuring Funk Brother Bob Babbitt on bass, Jimmy McGriff from 1976:

And this, from the pen of Narada Michael Walden, who's also playing Hammond here ... fasten your seatbelt:

 

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11 hours ago, Mickey Finn said:

Same here Jimmy - good to be able to share appreciation and learn some new stuff along the way :thumbup: The Ramsey Lewis tune is a cracker, and if you like his stuff more generally, I recommend his 1982 LP "Live at the Savoy", featuring Grover Washington Jr on 4 tracks:

Always loved the Bendeth track, and since we're on the subject of UK jazz funk with Morrissey Mullen, what about some early Shakatak, when they still had that distinctive UK sound:

 

 

I liked the early Shakatak tracks Mick,  Street Walkin was a particular fave. :)  

  

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It was already there at the start ("Livin' in the UK") but by the mid-80s they had refined their own sound, which was particularly popular in Japan, where they released loads of stuff that's only recently been made available via UK release. Many of the earlier tunes still had that recognisable UK jazz funk brand on them, which is fitting since they took their name from the famous Record Shack store in London - or so the story goes. I've got most of their albums and the musicianship is top notch. They are also more musically adventurous than their popular image suggests. 

Bassist George Anderson has released a few solo albums which feature a range of styles from mellow soul to out-and-out jam. In keeping with this thread, this jam from 2009 pays tribute to Mr Hancock:

 

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18 hours ago, Mickey Finn said:

Interesting that you pick 2 Patrick Adams productions here - the P&P output is commonly referred to as underground disco but it's not difficult to find the jazz influences.

Not SO underground with Musique and Keep on Jumpin and In the Bush, as well as Atmosphere Strut.

Dx

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Musique came out on Prelude, not such an underground source as such, but still highly regarded. As for Cloud One, I'd call that underground, even if not as under as some others. Their stuff is still coming out on more specialist comps far far away from "I will survive" and "Boogie wonderland". 

Patrick Adams was producing Candi Staton and Eddie Kendricks for major labels around 1979, as well as Phreek, so was clearly in demand, as was Leroy Burgess who turned up on the Peter Jacques Band release from that year. But they didn't ever leave the indie scene behind, especially when disco supposedly died but was reborn as boogie.

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As the topic is broadening a bit, I managed to find a mint 12" of Greg Henderson - "Dreaming" for £1 last weekend in a charity depot place. I had to dig through about 600 - 700 of dusty granny albums to find it though.

 

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Great choices. Jimmy Ponder also recorded with Sonny Lester's Groove Merchant/LRC labels, where Jimmy McGriff, Lonnie Smith, Richard Groove Holmes, and O'Donel Levy were releasing a lot of good stuff during the 70s. There was also a fair bit of tired sounding studio funk, but more than enough better quality tunes to justify a closer listen. Lester has had this annoying habit of constantly repackaging his output, meaning that tracking original releases is not as easy as it should be. A few years ago Unidisc put out a great selection of Groove Merchant releases on cd, not quite the full catalogue but a big chunk. Unfortunately the LRC material was not part of that, meaning that e.g. Lonnie Smith's "Funk Reaction" LP from 1977 was missed out. A shame, because it features this cracking track with George Benson at his best:

The earlier Groove Merchant recordings show the link between what became jazz funk and the soul jazz of the 60s - for example, Joe Thomas from 1972:

He later had disco hits with "Plato's retreat" and "Make your move", but these didn't really showcase his playing like this tune, and the jazz content was very much reduced.

Before hitting big with "Got to get your own" Reuben Wilson recorded for Blue Note and then Groove Merchant. This track from 1972 again highlights the connection between soul jazz and jazz funk.

 

Edited by Mickey Finn
Removal of earlier You Tube clip

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13 minutes ago, Bruv said:

:g: Not sure if this can be classed as Jazz Funk but it's a still a great instrumental - The Rah Band - Falcon  :thumbsup:  :hatsoff2:  

Not an "obvious" pick but a good one, and why not jazz funk? The soloists are certainly giving it :thumbsup: "Slide" is another popular instrumental from around the same time.

I remember first hearing "The crunch" in the late 70s which was a more of a novelty single than anything more serious - more fun than funk. Later in the mid-80s they had a major chart hit with "Clouds across the moon" which I hated at the time - very programmed with saccharine vocals. More recently "Messages from the stars" turned up on an 80s funk comp and it seems that Richard Anthony Hewson (RAH) had a good ear for a pop tune and a fondness for funkier arrangements that meant his stuff got picked up by the JF scene from time to time, especially when he was still using real instruments.

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Thanks for posting this. Herbie Mann is one of the more forgotten heroes of this period, maybe because he went more directly to disco, or because he was getting on a bit already.

Joey Negro recently posted on his Facebook page in tribute to the recently deceased Dave Valentin that the jazz funk era was remarkable for enabling flute players like Mann, Valentin, Hubert Laws and Bobbi Humphrey to go beyond the confines of hard bop and even have chart success. Unthinkable now!

Somewhere I have a cassette recording of Eddie Henderson interviewed on JazzFM back around 1990, where he states that it was the second oil crisis that effectively did for a lot of these artists. The cost of vinyl rose and with inflation what it was the majors decided to cut back, thus ending Henderson's run of fusion albums (along with many others). Funny how that also coincided with the "death of disco" - i.e., oil might have had something to do with it but it looks more like a policy decision by the majors regarding their black/disco departments. After all, look at the amount of independent labels putting out singles and even albums at this time - it's not like they had the economies of scale of the majors, but they still managed. But the jazzers also went back to acoustic hard bop in the early 80s, occasionally returning to fusion but more and more hitting paydirt with the smooth jazz formula as radio formatting became stricter. Thankfully the strength of the UK scene meant that a lot of home grown artists were able to continue during this period.

Herbie Mann continued recording well into the 90s. His 1990 album with Dave Valentin, "Two Amigos", is worth a listen :thumbsup:

 

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Anyone ever used to go to Yarm country club? Alex Lowes used to play Jazz funk there (he does the Stockport weekenders now ) saw the Average white band there , The Fatback band and Donald bird and the blackbirds and many more at the Top Hat at Spennymoor good old days .....

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Never heard that before - thanks for posting. Not often you see the names of the session players on the record label!

It's a good reminder of how open to different musical influences the JF scene was. One record that still gets played is this by John Gibbs from 1978:

And Manu Dibango from 1976:

And what about Airto from 1979:

 

Edited by Mickey Finn

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I must admit, I don't listen to jazz funk as much as other stuff these days, I dusted this LP off last night though, apart from the more brilliant and famous "Love will bring us back together" this is a nice one.......

 

 

Maybe this one's a bit too early for this thread but I love this track....  the great production values make it sound late seventies.....  (The full length LP version is better, but the LP is rubbish apart from this track).

 

Edited by Jimmy Disco D

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Thanks for posting - never heard the Sonny Stitt before, and it fits well in style and points to where things were going towards the end of the 70s.

That Roy Ayers album was a big favourite at a certain time for me - I remember when Polydor brought out three of his albums including this on vinyl and cassette and I wore out this cassette. "Love will bring us back together" is still a much played tune, but there's plenty else on the album, including a brilliantly cheesy version of "Take me out to the ballgame", but this track you posted works for me - the same sort of hypnotic loop that he used in other classics, including this originally from 1983:

Fever was reissued by Soul Brother along with three other of Roy's later Polydor LPs a few years back.

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35 minutes ago, Mickey Finn said:

Thanks for posting - never heard the Sonny Stitt before, and it fits well in style and points to where things were going towards the end of the 70s.

That Roy Ayers album was a big favourite at a certain time for me - I remember when Polydor brought out three of his albums including this on vinyl and cassette and I wore out this cassette. "Love will bring us back together" is still a much played tune, but there's plenty else on the album, including a brilliantly cheesy version of "Take me out to the ballgame", but this track you posted works for me - the same sort of hypnotic loop that he used in other classics, including this originally from 1983:

Fever was reissued by Soul Brother along with three other of Roy's later Polydor LPs a few years back.

 

Nice!

I was looking at the cover while I was listening to it and was suprised to see that it features Bernard Purdie on drums and Roy plays keyboards rather than vibes on most of em. Please don't mention that "Ball Park" track again though, I was trying to forget it!

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If I went to an across the board soul night, and 10 of any of these tracks mentioned got played, consecutively, I think I'd leave.

Jazz funk is an acquired taste, and in small doses, fits in. However for me, as back in the late 70s and early 80s, it does not fit into the general Northern/Rare soul scene.

Obviously others will strongly disagree!

Ed

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GRP became associated in the 80s with smooth, well-produced (overproduced?) albums that increasingly fit the smooth jazz format. But at the beginning it was Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen's distinctive contribution to jazz funk. The problem was that every time one of their artists crossed over to mainstream success, parent-label Arista took over, meaning that Tom Browne went from full on fusion to nondescript Maurice Starr-produced electro within 5 years. During that time his trumpet became less and less upfront, until there was no recording contract left. Imagine how exciting this must have sounded kicking off his debut LP in 1979, with a very young Marcus Miller already proving his chops:

In 1981 Bernard Wright released his debut LP on GRP, also with Marcus Miller, Grusin and various other heavy hitters on the session, including Don Blackman. This track also opened the album. A couple of years later he was also transferred to Arista and doing electrofunk, although with more bite than Browne, as Grusin and Rosen were still on board as producers. 

Back to 1978 for this debut LP, from Angela Bofill, who was already on the way to commercial success by the 80s even before Grusin and Rosen upped sticks and went out on their own. This track sounds like it could have been produced by Roy Ayers to these ears.

And was this the biggest GRP jazz funk record of all? It was released in 1982 when the JF scene was beginning to dissolve, but it took on a cult status that still holds. I agree with John Lias that the album as a whole is overrated - what raises it to cult status are those tracks that were just streets ahead of everything - Blackman was brilliant when he was brilliant. A shame it took 20 years for the follow-up, which I recommend ... and a bigger shame he's no longer with us.

 

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At the Blackpool Weekender there was a room that was supposedly playing Jazz Funk All Dayer Memories. Everything sounded like it was remixed to the same drum beat. Not the Jazz Funk I remember. Bit disappointed! 

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9 hours ago, Grayman45 said:

At the Blackpool Weekender there was a room that was supposedly playing Jazz Funk All Dayer Memories. Everything sounded like it was remixed to the same drum beat. Not the Jazz Funk I remember. Bit disappointed! 

If the jocks were playing lots of recently remixed versions of JF tunes then I would have been disappointed, especially if they sounded like they came out of the same studio :g:There seems to be a fashion for this sort of thing just now, with one or two remixers getting heavy airplay on certain channels/shows.

I heard Richard Francis play a brilliant JF set at Stomp Radio's Long Good Friday event this year - much more imaginative than the usual, and keeping firmly with the originals.

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