Funk albums music derived from jazz and R&B music, while also bringing in its root of soul music. It originated in the middle of the 1960’s and featured a heavy focus on rhythm instruments. Electric guitars and basses, with less focus on changing chords, these instruments were used to layer rhythms.
Funk albums music usually contains rhythm instruments to provide interlocking rhythms of electric bass, electric guitar, drums, keyboards of some kind and often times even a horn section. Featuring heavy bass lines while also using extended chords that jazz have been known for, the style abandoned the music style of changing chords in favor of a more complex rhythmic style.
James Brown is often credited for pushing the roots of funk albums, but it wasn’t until 1967 that “funky” was first seen in the title of any funk albums. Since that time the funk albums movement has expanded into other genres including p-funk, rock, rap, disco and even more electronic based funk.
As a precursor to funk we saw the soul albums and R&B genres. ‘Soul albums’ having a strong place in American history and its roots in gospel and blues, saw its rise in the 1960’s. Many originally calling themselves rockers soon realized that they had their roots in the same origins as R&B and Soul and began relabeling themselves and targeting the quickly growing popularity of the genres.
Of this movement, it was Northern Soul albums that made such a large impression. Taking from Motown pop influences of Detroit and even cities like Chicago, the songs generally featured heavy beats and a brisk tempo that led to a generation of dancers known as ‘stompers.’ Northern Soul encompasses hundreds of musicians of the likes of Curtis Mayfield, the Godfather of Northern Soul albums, and became a global movement as it found its way and its rise in England.
On the other end of the movement was southern soul which originated in the southern United States. Focusing more on a gospel influence and the feel of the song versus the lyrics, southern soul founds its dominance in Memphis Soul.
No matter what the geographic location was though, soul found its way into all cultures and transformed the music industry through its new styles and its influence into other music genres that can still be heard today.
Jazz albums saw their musical origins at the beginning of the 1900's in the southern states of America. By mixing European music and African music, something new was formed. Jazz albums were heavy in blues notes, polyrhythms, swung notes, syncopation and improvisation, while also bringing in elements of popular American music of its time.
Jazz albums saw off-shoot variations form from its genre based on geographic location. Kansas City Jazz and New Orleans Jazz are two popular variations found in jazz albums. With its influence still running today, the words of J.J Johnson still ring true. "Jazz is restless. It won't stay put and it never will"