17/07/2024

Best Beat

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Top 3 Best Funk Jazz Songs (With Lyrics) Of The Seventies

Top 3 Best Funk Jazz Songs (With Lyrics) Of The Seventies

If you’re like me, you love those old blues-inspired grooves of the 70’s, the songs that made everyone in the room stand up and move. The elements of that music that got us all on our feet were not that deep, mostly comprised of basic rhythmic grooves or ostinatos (repeating figures) with layered lyrical content or instrumentation over the top. Add a few tasty rhythmic punches here and there, and suddenly we’re all singing and dancing to a relatively new genre at that time: funk! Funk is where disco meets blues-tinged soul music. Add the more complex harmonic elements of jazz into this mix and the result is one of my favorites: funk jazz. Let’s take a look at my top 3 best funk jazz songs of the seventies.

1. “Low Rider” W.A.R.

W.A.R was a musical crossover band hailing from Los Angeles, and focusing on spreading the feeling of brotherhood and harmony through their music. Released in 1975 at the height of the bands’ popularity, “Low Rider” features a distinctly Latin-influenced groove, starting right at the intro cowbell, developed further and carried throughout the song with the signature horn/harmonica melody. Add in the compelling low vocal line addressing urban methods of financial motivation and transportation, and the song comes together easily and on top of the social California laid-back funk vibe.

2. “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)” Parliament

From the album “Mothership Connection” released in 1976, this track sets the funk standard for groove sing-a-long chorus’s. In addition to excellent horn work and outstanding bass/guitar grooves, the vocal work here is multi-dimensional, based upon groups of singers using call-response techniques. The result makes for an exceptional vocal groove that everyone can sing at first listen. Finally, another interesting feature of this track is the level of free improvisation among the different instruments, adding an element of jazz to an ultra-funky groove.

3. “Play the Funky Music” (Wild Cherry)

Another track from 1976, Wild Cherry released this as the A-side single on Sweet City Records. Destined to be Wild Cherry’s only hit, the track is rife with outstanding guitar/bass riffing, and horn punches performed exquisitely by a quartet of session horn players. Lyrically this track is the story of a rock and roller realizing that disco was filling up the dance floor, and eventually getting his own groove on, getting on the floor and leaving the rest of the world behind. Lesson learned.