The 10 funkiest jazz fusion jams of all time

The 10 funkiest jazz

From George Duke through to Herbie Hancock and beyond, dig deep into these jazz-funk classics.
One of the most telling things about an artist’s innovative acumen is their ability to rework and fuse the pillars of jazz music within the bounds of their own creations.

Today, we look at ten of the funkiest jazz-fusion tracks ever released. From Chick Corea through to Herbie Hancock and beyond, today, we look at ten of the funkiest jazz-fusion tracks ever released.

  1. ‘Floop De Loop’ – George Duke (1975)
    Duke’s 1975 release The Aura Will Prevail is an often overlooked, yet hugely innovative contribution to the then-evolving concept of jazz fusion. By the mid ’70s, Duke had begun to discover his singing voice, and was dabbling in R&B vocals. However, this record showcases Duke’s greatest talent: instrumental jazz fusion.

‘Floop De Loop’ features an unrelenting, growling riff played by the tremendously underrated Alphonso Johnson, whose marauding bass runs will give you shivers. Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chancler, largely known for his drumming with Michael Jackson, provides an infectiously funky pocket that melds everything together.

Duke’s combination of Rhodes, clavinet and synth parts demonstrates his craftsmanship as a keyboardist, while his trademark use of the pitch bend on his biting clav gives an expressive aura to this tune that no other keyboardist could viably replicate.

  1. ‘Home Is Where The Hatred Is’ – Gil Scott-Heron (1971)
    Recorded within the space of two days, Pieces of a Man pushed more boundaries – musically and lyrically – than almost any other album of the era.

Gil Scott-Heron sings about finding a ‘home’ within his drug habits, despite harbouring a hatred for these addictions. But ‘home’ is somewhere you’ll always return to, even if you don’t particularly like it.

Scott-Herron’s genius lies within his ability to envelop the rawest narration of the paradox of drug abuse within one of the funkiest musical pockets to have ever existed. Prolific jazz double bassist Ron Carter supplies a chugging electric bass part, while the weird and wonderful Bernard Purdie sits behind the kit.

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