It has been a while. I’m finally back to posting again after a long holiday on the north coast of New South Wales. Up and down the East Coast of Australia is just amazing. It’s all beach! Boogie boards, fishing, swimming, walking, lovely!
It’s been a while since I wrote about a great funk CD, so I thought this one would put the grease back in your stride! It’s James Brown’s In the Jungle Groove. This CD was James Brown’s transition from soul to funk, and this record solidified it. I think the album cover says it all. One of the best in my collection.
In the Jungle Groove is a pinnacle album for drummers because it contains two versions of “Funky Drummer”, a song with the baddest beat in the entire world. It’s certainly the most sampled beat ever. Funky Drummer contains the Clyde Stubblefield drum break that has been almost a foundation for hip-hop. It is the supreme drum loop! Full stop. This CD is worthy of a purchase just to learn that lick. And with an all-star cast of players, the entire album is bangin’ and in the pocket from start to finish.
The drummer is GC Coleman. You’ll know it when you here it:
The documentary chronicles the history of the “Amen Break” loop. This loop made its way from that copywrited funk record into hip hop songs by Third Base, NWA, and a slew of others. It then leaked into the drum & bass scene in the UK where it was actually copywrited and sold by a UK loop CD company who claim the loop was created especially for them.
Eventually, it was embraced by corporate America to help sell SUVs and blue jeans to suburban America. Interesting take on sampling and copyright laws. Where’s the RIAA when you actually need them?
This record was it for me. A turning point. Tower of Power’s Live and In Living Color. After seeing the Funk Filharmonik, I went and picked this up on cassette the very next day. I was on a mission. I had to get some of those grooves in me. This whole snappin’ backbeat with an under current of light, syncopated ghost notes on the snare truly intrigued me. There is no one that does it like David Garibaldi. Some of his rhythms were so inventive, they still sound fresh today. From DJs to hip-hop(Beastie’s Paul’s Boutique), they’ve all grabbbed a Garibaldi groove or two in their day. This live CD is a perfect example of the syncopated funk that Garibaldi is known for.
One of the most influential albums in Herbie Hancock’s career to date is Headhunters. I didn’t find this one until a few years ago. I was into Herbie’s more traditionally oriented jazz records, but this CD is full of deep down, gritty funk. Harvey Mason is masterful on the kit. Great percussion from Bill Summers. Herbie riffs with synths and Fender Rhodes over these fat grooves. A must for any drummer’s collection.
What can I say about Sly & the Family Stone but ‘Fresh’! It’s a funk masterpiece. Though Larry Graham and Greg Errico are not on this one… Andy Newmark is. And, he is masterfully funky. The grooves have a loose, street feel but are pretty sharp in their execution. The opening track, ‘In Time’ is almost impossible to learn because nearly every bar is different from the last. But, somehow the same theme runs through the entire tune. Andy Newmark is a funk master!