Friday, February 1, 2008
Euro Jazz Funk Madness
Back in the early 1970’s, the fusion of jazz with funk and elements of rock was a pretty big trend in North America. With the recent introduction of synthesizers and other electric instruments and with the increasing popularity of funk music; recognized jazz band leaders such as Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley and Donald Byrd started exploring new electronic grounds. Before long, their most noted band members started their own jazz-funk outfits and by the mid 70’s, the likes of Herbie Hancock and the Head Hunters, Chick Corea and Return to Forever and Joe Zawinul and Weather Report were drawing huge attention and had become big record sellers.
What was going on in Europe at the time? With the psych pop and Yé-Yé craze slowly fading and the Disco frenzy just a few years ahead… Was the talented European jazz avant-garde falling asleep? Hell no!!! A few guys back here were seriously vibing on the Fender Rhodes and chomping up some of the most groove infected drum breaks you'll ever hear.
In fact, they may have not had the same level of attention back in the days – but they have had as much impact on the hip-hop, trip-hop and electro scenes to come as their American counterparts.
Here is a selection of 20 super rare - super funked up European jazz grooves that you can't miss on. Please meet (if you don't know them yet):
Marc Moulin (from Belgium) and his band Placebo, (he also plays on the amazing track from Cos); a visionary force in European acid jazz, heavily influenced by Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock - who in turn has been highly influent for pop-synth and trip-hop artists in later decades.
Jean Claude Pierric and Francois Rolland who are the masterminds behind the Harlem Pop Trotters, Les Wanted, Minotaure and the legendary Godchild; Most of their music was not even commercially released at the time. It was production music, or library music, pre-recorded and sold via sound banks for usage in commercials or television programs! Other Library musicians featured in this selection include Michel Gonet, and Englishman Peter Milray, from the famous DeWolfe music Library.
The legendary band Cortex, led by Alain Mion & Alain Gandolfi and this track from their Album "Troupeau Bleu" - an indescribable blend of Jazz, funk, samba and batuccada with brilliant keyboard arrangements. The album was recorded in 2 days, and is almost impossible to find - aka Holy Grail for record collectors like myself (luckily it was recently re-edited).
World-class French drummer André Ceccarelli and other Jazz greats such as Martial Solal, Maurice Vander, Michel Sardaby and Romano Mussolini (who is no other that the youngest son of Benito himself), all feeling the funk pretty heavily on these tunes.
Spanish Jazz fusion artists Jordi Sabates and Pedro Ruy Blas, who add a very noticeable (and wonderfully appreciated) flamenco feel to their groove. Ever heard that from Mr Hancock?
Famous French composer Michel Colombier, who has worked with the worlds greatest, from Gainsbourg to the Beach Boys, to Quincy Jones and Madonna. On this track, from his 1979 self titled album, the personel is no other than:
Michel Colombier : piano, fender rhodes synthesizer - Lee Ritenour : guitar - Herbie Hancock : mini-moog solo - Jaco Pastorius : bass - Airto Moreira : percussion - Steve Gadd : drums. That says it all. I've never seen such an impressive line-up.
01. Les Wanted - Couidic-Kong, 1972
02. Ceccarelli, Chantereau, Padovan, Pezin. (C.C.P.P.) - Joris of lumina, 1975
03. Peter Milray - Time Machine, 197?
04. Harlem Pop Trotters - La Moto Verte, 1974
05. Michel Sardaby - Welcome New Warmth, 1974
06. Romano Mussolini - Mirage, 1974
07. Maurice Vander - Grand Rogue, 1974
08. Martial Solal - A Train is Better Than Two, 1974
09. Cos - Halucal, 1974
10. Jordi Sabates - Ocells del mes enlla, 1975
11. Cortex - Sabbat, 1975
12. Placebo - Balek, 1973
13. Pedro Ruy Blas & Dolores - La Ausencia, 1976
14. Martial Solal - Locomotion, 1974
15. Marc Moulin - Le Beau Galop, 1975
16. Minotaure Illustration - Yawn and Yell, 1972?
17. André Ceccarelli - Gang Process, 1975
18. Genevieve Paris (with André Céccarelli) - De Paris en Paris, 1975
19. Michel Gonet - Flower Dance, 1978
20. Michel Colombier - Sunday, 1979
This is like good wine. Kept in a cellar for about 30 years, finely matured, it just tastes amazing today (and similarly to Bordeaux, 1974 and 75 were pretty excellent years).
If you'd like to get a feel of this fine music, click here
If you'd rather go to Britney Spears' official website, please click here