Stop three on our compilation quest, and the second of two jazz stops, arrives at something I like to call the process of interfusion. This is where influences from many strains of music, culture, background and ideology combine and transform to create new modes of music and new ways of being. When I reach for jazz (another music I’ve all but lost to my hearing troubles), I reach because I want to be filled with nuance and delight, with mastery that proves itself not through the faultless reproduction of technique, but through the mind-blowing bending of sound to fit the pulse of the moment. Sometimes this takes the shape of full-on improv, sometimes a slight variation on a riff that makes you go ooh. And when I reach for funk, I reach because I want my soul to feel in step with the universe, to be buoyed by a series of inner yeses and cellular swings, a guttural mnh at the base of my throat, a swagger in my step that’s as much driven by the Earth as an imprint thereon. And when I reach for both, for jazz-funk and jazz-fusion in general, I want all of this to happen. I want my senses to play experience the way these musicians play their instruments, and I want their genius to show me how.

It does, again and again, in these 15 tracks that pick up where we left off in volume 2, and plunge us even further into the process of interfusion. Bill Withers kicks it off with a cowboy soul tune that spontaneously combusts into a funky jazz number halfway down the trail. Buster Williams opens with a bass solo from Neptune. Charles Kynard jams on the organ with some beach-sizzlin’ surfer-rock. Ellen McIlwaine combines African and American folk techniques and ends with some yodeling that will light your ears on fire. Cheyenne Fowler drops the funkiest Christian tune on this side of the Gregorian calendar. Ben Branch & The Operation Bread Basket Orchestra (what a name!) braids gospel and funk so heartbreakingly you’ll believe that you too could be a motherless child. Moe Koffman plays his flute so fast my toes smoke. And Ahmad Jamal finishes us off with a piano number so sublime it has a permanent spot on the soundtrack of my life. And those are just the cuts I mention. This one’s full of spirits and voices and that indispensable element which can’t be taught: funky-ass-groove. I suggest you get you some, post haste.


01 J.J. Johnson ft. Bill Withers – Better Days (Theme from Man & Boy) – 1971.mp3
02 Compost – Inflation Blues – 1972.mp3
03 Buster Williams – Noble Ego – 1975.mp3
04 Donald Byrd – Makin’ It – 1975.mp3
05 Charles Kynard – Afro-Disiac – 1970.mp3
06 Don Ellis – Rock Odyssey – 1970.mp3
07 The Texas Southern University Jazz Ensemble – Compared to What – 1972.mp3
08 Ellen McIlwaine – Wade in the Water – 1972.mp3
09 Yvonne Gray – Head Trip – 1975.mp3
10 Cheyenne Fowler – I Don’t Speak with Fork Tongue – 1976.mp3
11 Demon Fuzz – Disillusioned – 1970.mp3
12 Ben Branch & The Operation Breadbasket Orchestra – Motherless Child – 1968.mp3
13 Moe Koffman – Summer, The Storm (Presto) – 1972.mp3
14 Seldon Powell – One Night Affair – 1973.mp3
15 Ahmad Jamal – One (Ahad) – 1978.mp3

In love, swing and swagger,


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