Groove Back in Time: Exploring 80s Jazz Funk

Neil Greaves
Mar 23, 2024By Neil Greaves

Lets talk about Jazz Funk 

The 1980s was a decade known for its vibrant and eclectic music scene, and one genre that truly shined during this time was jazz funk. Combining the improvisational nature of jazz with the infectious grooves of funk, 80s jazz funk created a sound that was both sophisticated and danceable.

**The Fusion of Jazz and Funk**

At its core, jazz funk is a fusion genre that blends the harmonic complexities of jazz with the rhythmic intensity of funk. Artists like Herbie Hancock, George Duke, and Roy Ayers were at the forefront of this movement, creating music that was both technically impressive and irresistibly funky.

**Innovative Sounds and Instruments**

One of the defining features of 80s jazz funk was the use of electronic instruments such as synthesizers and drum machines. These new technologies allowed artists to experiment with sounds and textures, pushing the boundaries of traditional jazz and funk music.

**The Rise of Jazz Fusion**

During the 1980s, jazz fusion became increasingly popular, blending elements of jazz, funk, rock, and pop music. This fusion of genres led to the creation of a diverse range of sounds and styles, making the decade a truly exciting time for music enthusiasts.

**Iconic Albums and Tracks**

Some of the most iconic albums of the 80s jazz funk era include Herbie Hancock's "Head Hunters," George Duke's "A Brazilian Love Affair," and Roy Ayers' "Silver Vibrations." Tracks like "Chameleon" by Hancock and "Reach for It" by Duke became instant classics, defining the sound of the decade.

**The Influence of 80s Jazz Funk**

Jazz-funk profited from the reputational decline of disco, at the hands of Saturday Night Fever, which had made it commercial, crass and “un-cool”. DJs instead turned to jazzier funk records, or funkier jazz records, coming fresh out of the states from the likes of Donald Byrd, Lonnie Liston Smith, Gil Scot Heron, Roy Ayers, the JBs and many more. Brass Construction, whose seminal debut album topped charts upon release in the mid-70s, exemplified the speed and the sound of jazz-funk.

Even today, the influence of 80s jazz funk can be heard in a wide range of musical genres, from hip-hop to electronic dance music. The innovative sounds and infectious grooves of this era continue to inspire artists and music lovers alike.

**Exploring 80s Jazz Funk Today**

If you're looking to dive into the world of 80s jazz funk, there are plenty of ways to explore this vibrant genre. From streaming platforms to vinyl record stores, there's a wealth of music waiting to be discovered.

**Get Your Groove On**

So, if you're ready to transport yourself back in time to the funky, groovy sounds of the 80s jazz funk era, grab your headphones, turn up the volume, and let the music take you on a journey through one of the most exciting periods in musical history.

A great introduction to Jazz funk

The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers.

Roy Ayers