If you’ve been paying attention to the music I talk about on the Funkish blog, you’ll have heard that I maintain a pretty broad definition of Funk. I love the genre-bending hybrids that are funky, but not exactly Funk. They’re just too cool to categorize.
That being said, here are my favorite funky instrumental songs of 2017 so far. You’ve got pure Funk, Ethio-Jazz inspired Funk, funky Afrobeat, Afro-Funk, Latin Funk, funky Brazilian music, Soul-Jazz, and more.
Taken as a whole, it would be hard to classify this playlist at the record store. And yet, it’s funky! Enjoy…
Listen to the best Funk instrumental songs of 2017 & follow the playlist…
Pushing Fire: Sizzling Instrumental Funk Music
Taking The Funk To New Heights
The instrumental Funk tunes on Black Diamond are breathtaking. The album starts with heavy wah-wah and hot horns on “Blue Nile” and the band finds the perfect groove from the get go. Listen to it here.
Modern Afrobeat Meets Old Soul
You get to hear all these influences in full force on their superb 2017 record, Stinger, on Modern Outsider Records. Nine furious tracks take you on a rockin’ trip around the world musically. Stinger never lets up! Its high-energy vibe will keep you moving — body, mind & soul.
One of my favorite songs on Stinger is “Soul Thing.” If you’ve ever imagined what it would be like if Isaac Hayes and Fela Kuti had collaborated on a song in the early 1970s — it would have sounded like this. It’s more Stax than Afrobeat, and yet, the West African groove is still in there, with gorgeous trumpet dancing all along, plenty of wah-wah, potent percussion, and Hard Proof’s distinctive jamming.
In The Jungle Groove
Poignant, Powerful, Modern Soul Music
My favorite song on Pushing Fire is “Odessa Heat”. As good a Soul singer as Dale Spollet is, I still prefer instrumental Funk tunes. This is where the band gets to show off. These dudes are tight! Joel Givertz gets all Catfish Collins on the guitar. Johnny Chou is his Bootsy on bass. Adam Greenberg keeps the drums in the pocket throughout this record, and gets to shine here. The horn section of Matt Reale on trumpet, and Ian Anderson on sax are hot, and they know how to play it old school.
PHO has played with The Motet, Dopapod, Larry Graham, Dam-Funk, Dumpstaphunk and many more. The debut single, “Dr. Drake,” is high-energy futuristic Funk with big horns, spacey synth, dope drum & bass, and jamming Funk guitar.
Electrifying, Intense, Latin Funk Jams
Listen to “Callejero” in this Spotify playlist. It’s a super jam with phenomenal guitar work, teriffic timbales, and bold brass. It reminds me of WAR, the original L.A. Latin Funk lowriders that blended Afro-Latin grooves, Jazz, and 70s R&B. I bet this one gets the dance floors movin’!
True Modern Brazilian Funk
Their Funky Chosen Path
Musical Pirates of the Caribbean
Heavy Drums & Dubby Elements
Hammond F-U-N-K Champs
Like “Sam The Butcher” bringin’ Alice the meat, The M-Tet delivers a delicious slab of Soul-Jazz with deep bass marbling & fat organ grooves for some extra tasty F-U-N-K.
Funky Finnish Jazz
Mama Say, Mama Sa, Makossa
His version of Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa” — “Makossa No. 3” — makes this playlist because it’s a fabulously funky instrumental tune that pays homage to the heart & soul of the original, while creating something fresh, modern, and new — New Zealand meets Cameroon in the 21st Century.
On “Alexandria” they pay homage to the Ethio-Jazz groove with a genre-defying song full of deep baritone sax, deep organ, a syncopated, badass beat, and wah-wah sounds that take you on a funky trip to ancient Alexandria, a colorful melting pot of cultures & flavors.
Mistakes On Purpose
Then the band shines on the instrumental, “Muziqawi Silt” — originally by Walias Band, which included Girma Bèyènè, Hailu Mergia, and featured Mulatu Astake’s vibraphone playing on this classic. This is a staple of Ethio-Jazz that everyone covers — and here Akalé Wubé kills it! They play it straight, but make it funkier & more modern sounding. They also make it much more percussive, and the wah-wah cooks!
Afro-Funk, Afrobeat & Psychedelic Inspired Dance Music From Brooklyn
Listen to Super Yamba Band’s 2017 single, “Control Per Capita (C.P.C),” in this Spotify playlist. They wrote it to pay homage to Fela Kuti’s 1977 tune “Johnny Just Drop” — and the result is irresistible, funky, modern Afrobeat. It’s an extended funky jam with powerful percussion and organ jabs, plus dubby effects and bold brass propelling it along.
Hired Guns of Experimental Afrobeat Grooves
Making A Long Journey For World-Class Afro-Funk
Their stellar 2017 album, Drinking Water, gives us “17hr Trip.” Dig the rapid bass propuslion, and old-school Afrobeat groove, potent percussion & horny horns comin’ at ya. It’s a super funky Afrobeat jam that will make you wanna get up and dance! They make me want to book a trip ASAP to Australia to hang out hearing the bands of the Melbourne funky world music scene.
You Need To Keep The Groove On The Move
Listen to their tune “Street Market” here. It captures the essence of the band’s worldly, Funk groove. Its soaring horns, powerful percussion, fast drum & bass, and wild wah-wah meld the best of 1970s American car chase Funk, as well as showing off Latin & African Funk influences. Hear more about the band from David Nesselhauf, bass player of Diazpora, speaking on Calamity Jade’s Funk Shui show on Radiopopolare.
Chasing The Old School Cinematic Funk
A Funky New Day
Keepin’ It Funky In New Orleans