Call it Jazz, Funk, Fusion, heck, why don't you call it Acid-Jazz!? Gilles Peterson did!
Luv N' Haight has compiled several collections of "rare grooves",
obscure but unbelievably funky tunes from artists known and unknown. There are also a lot
of similar compilations from England, where this type of music was much more
popular (than in the U.S.). Any info on these would be appreciated.
- An obscure keyboard player, I only have one track, but it makes him worthy of
this list. :) The 7th song on Big Cheese Records' The Meltdown, which has 8
"finely matured Jazz-Funk tracks" (GREASY not cheesy!), is "VJC" (?), an 8+ minute
- Talented organist, he played on some classics like Grant Green's "Sookie, Sookie".
He made a few albums for Blue Note in the late 60s/early 70s (Two-Headed Freap was
re-issued as part of the "Rare Groove Series"), and recently played on Lee Ritenour's
Wes Bound (GRP).
- "Chameleon", "Hang Up Your Hang Ups", "Actual Proof", just to name a few
classics from his 70s experiments in Funk/Fusion. This man's work is so
vast, as he kept on recording modal Jazz at the same time he was leading the
Fusion scene. A member of Miles Davis' Quintet, which he reformed in the mid 70s
with Freddie Hubbard "replacing" Miles (the V.S.O.P. album). As far as I know,
he only played the Hammond live, but never recorded with it.
One of my favorites is his accompaniment on Grant Green's Feelin' The Spirit
(Blue Note, 1962), where he lays down some infectious piano grooves on
spirituals like "Go Down Moses" and "Motherless Child." He also tried his
hand(s) at Hip Hop in the early 80's with Future Shock (which shocked a lot
of his fans), and his latest, Dis Is Da Drum, is in the Acid-Jazz vein, with
Groove Collective lending a hand or two. Like Taj Mahal, he's one of the only people
to have recorded 10+ non-Pop albums in the 70's and still have them in print today.
- I don't know much about his obscure funkee man. Some tracks on Acid Jazz
Vols. 2,3. His classic Reelin' With The Feelin' (with Joe Pass) was re-issued
by BGP as one half of a 2on1 with Wa-Tu-Wa-Zui.
Johnny "Hammond" Smith
- Remembered mostly for his recordings from the 70's: "It's Too Late" with
Grover Washington Jr., and Gears, a Jazz-Funk classic. He recorded with
Gene Ammons (Angel Eyes on Prestige). Also known simply as Johnny Hammond and
Johnny Smith, BGP released a 2on1 of his early Soul-Jazz classics: That Good Feelin'
& Talk That Talk, which are from his early Soul-Jazz days.
Leon Spencer Jr.
- Another funkmaster, he backed artists like Melvin Sparks, Houston Person, Lou
Donaldson & Sonny Stitt, and also recorded a few albums of his own, NA on CD
again! (Get with it Fantasy!). I definitely recommend picking up
Luv N' Haight's Jazz Dance Classics
Vols. 1-3, on which Leon Spencer is well represented.
- The only track I know he's on is Rusty Bryant's "Fire Eater", available on
Jazz Dance Classics Vol. 1, but it's one monster groove. Rusty's Friday
Night Funk for Saturday Night Brothers and Fire Eater are available on CD
- A talented organist/composer/arranger, he was a sideman on several early 70s
Prestige releases, Rusty Bryant's Returns among others. Check out the 2on1
CD from Beat Goes Public called Sure 'Nuff/Black Magic!.
- Reuben Wilson's On Broadway isn't available on CD, but the title track is on
Blue Note's Straight No Chaser 2 CD compilation of tunes sampled by Us3 for
their album Hand on the Torch. His "We're In love" was sampled by Nas on
"Memory Lane", which is a great jazzy Hip Hop tune from his debut album
Illmatic. Wilson has one of my favorite tracks on Blue Note's compilation
Blue Break Beats Vol. 2, "Orange Peel," on which John Manning plays a
Coltrane-like sax solo to a James Brown type of groove.
Emmanuel Riggins, Earl Neal Creque
- Notable organists; need info please!