Read this article and listen to the playlist because you get a carefully curated introduction to what’s happening in Jazz music currently, and over the course of the last several years.
“If you don’t want Jazz to change, you are putting a pillow over its face, and it’s going to die,” says Robert Glasper in this Economist article.
This playlist and the live music videos represent the musicians giving Jazz “a shot in the arm” — playing it funky, vibing & experimenting, as they create fascinating new Jazz on top of classic traditions. Listen to Jazz from 2016, 2015, and throughout the 2000s. Watch potent performances by today’s best Jazz musicians…
See The Comet Is Coming & their astonishing live performance…pushing the envelope of Jazz as they “Journey Through The Asteroid Belt”…
Listen to & follow Of A New Cool — Today’s Jazz Funk on Spotify…
The Funky Side Of Modern Jazz & The Jazzy Side Of Instrumental Funk
West Coast Cool
It’s a little meaner than the original — Peter “D” Williams attacks the drums & Tim Felten takes a brief, yet nasty organ solo on this one. The horn section plays the refrain spot-on and tremendous tone on the guitar all make this tune sound more modern and stimulating than the original.
This tune is the title track from their fabulous follow-up album on Colemine Records to their debut, which was one of the best albums of 2015. Sure Fire Soul Ensemble really exemplify the funky side of Jazz & the jazzy side of Funk!
Turning Japanese I Really Think So
Jazz trumpeter Takuya Kuroda is a forward-thinking musician with a bent toward mixing post-bop and adventurous Soul-Jazz. Born in Kobe, Japan, Kuroda now is based in New York City. His 2016 single, “R.S.B.D.” on Concord highlights his fun & soulful style as his joyous trumpet dances on top of a heavy drummer, and synthesizers come in to give it an otherworldly, futuristic quality.
Snarky Puppy is clearly a leader on the Jazz Funk scene these days. They’re incredibly prolific with seven full-length releases in the last five years, making it 11 in total. This young, large, and massively talented group has already won 2 Grammy Awards!
Their 2016 record, Culcha Vulcha, is my favorite so far. It explores the funky side of Jazz with vaguely New Orleans flavored tunes, suggestively Brazilian songs, and creates something distinctive on each track.
Listen to “G0” in this Spotify playlist. I love it because over the course of nearly 9 minutes, it changes directions a few times, yet stays funky and makes you want to pay attention as they take you on a musical adventure…which is what Snarky Puppy does best.
London’s Got The Jazz Funk
Old School Jazz Giant & New School Genius
Southern Fried Jazz Funk
If you love big horns, deep bass lines, and dope drumming…you must check out Southern Comfort from this tremendously tight band. In this playlist, you get to hear the album’s jazziest song & you’ll be singing “Glory Glory Hallelujah” to this New Orleans Jazz flavored groove.
Drop It In The Mix And See What Happens…
Cool Contemporary Covers
Brilliant One Off
Hear the ultra-funky, “Grover,” here.…
Blades shoulders that responsibility with nonchalant virtuosity and infectious groove on his 2014 recording, Field Notes.
Blades is joined by guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Joey DeFrancesco, Joshua Redman) and drummer Simon Lott (Charlie Hunter, Will Bernard), both musicians who share Blades’ grounding in tradition and urge to push it forward. Get into their laid-back tune, “Red Lanterns Are Blue,” in this Spotify playlist to hear how this teriffic trio makes Jazz soulful, funky, and modern.
Modern Jazz Ear Candy
The Sunny Side Of Jazz
Jazz Guitar Phenom
Watch & listen as Charlie Hunter and his band record the bluesy, “No Money No Honey,” the funkiest tune on his 2016 record, Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth…
Kiss Kiss Beautiful Jazz
“Hollywood Spritz is a soundtrack to a police television drama from the ’70s that doesn’t exist, including a Jazz Funk rework of the Charlie’s Angels theme.” That’s the song you’ll get here. I love its funky flutes, dope beat, and updated 70s style.
Listen to it and buy it on Bandcamp because it’s one of the most imaginative & entertaining records of 2016.
All Rhodes Lead To Funky Jazz
Then, listen to their 2016 album, Afterglow, and get it on BandCamp.
French Genre-Defying Soul Jazz
“Jungle Blue” is my favorite track — a racing short story told by the dynamic drumming of Arnaud Lechantre, with a baritone sax and a small family of vintage keyboards as the main characters. Groovy, cool and soundtrack-ish, it’s like taking a jazzy adventure in an exotic French tropical colony of old. Listen to it here.
Following, is “Ebb & Flow” by Atlantis Jazz Ensemble. The Atlantis Jazz Ensemble’s music lies somewhere between the shores of Africa, Europe, and the Americas, influenced by Jazz currents stemming from both sides of the Atlantic.
The group was founded in 2013 by saxophonist Zakari Frantz and pianist Pierre Chrétien of the Souljazz Orchestra, both looking to explore new directions in modal, spiritual and esoteric Jazz music (without getting weird & avant garde). They recruited like-minded trumpeter Ed Lister, double bassist Alex Bilodeau, and drummer Mike Essoudry for the journey, and the new combo was soon on its way.
This is accessible, soulful, cutting-edge Jazz at its finest. There are even Afro-Cuban and Ethio-Jazz inspired tunes on their stupendous 2016 record, Oceanic Suite. “Ebb & Flow” is a real cool groove that makes you feel good when you hear it. Definitely listen to the whole album several times.
Stretching The Cool
Epic Jazz Thoughts
I love this soulful, Jazz-Funk tune. Washington & his ingenious band mates, get out on the edges, while never getting weird. They keep to their sublime groove, which is always captivating & resplendent. Harmonizing, vibing, and vamping…they pick it up, lay it in the cut and keep you there — engrossed & enchanted by this epic groove monster.
Today’s Most Cohesive And Inventive Piano Trio
Watch the Vijay Iyer Trio on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert. He’s one of the most respected Jazz artists out there, and continually blazes new ground in Jazz music…