Jazz Notes 20: Jazz-Funk Modal Style

by Jerry Arcidiacono

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  • Hi GMC:ers! Between the '60s and the '70s years jazz musicians explored new solutions and some new electric instruments. The Jazz-Funk era was started.

    Comparing this new form of music to the previous Jazz songs we can easily find some strong differences. First of all, the use of synths, electric pianos, electric bass, etc. Also, a new "groove" is used on this compositions, without the old "swing" feel.

    One of the early songs in this style is Cantaloupe Island from Herbie Hancock. Even you're not into Jazz music, probably you've heard this song sometimes. This tune is one of the first examples of modal Jazz music with a straight rhythm. As comparison, you can listen to the album Kind of Blue from Miles Davis to hear modal Jazz with a swing feel.

    Modal music has few chords on background. Usually one chord is played for many bars, so the improviser can play lines with more freedom, without thinking too much "vertically" like in the past.

    I changed a little the piano rhythm figure on my backing track. The challenge on this solo is to play interesting lines without using too much notes. Here are the three modes I used for this solo. No chromatic passages, just the modes.

    Time Signature:

    120 bpm

    * Washburn WI67Pro
    * Cubase 4 (as DAW, for bass and el. piano sounds)
    * EZdrummer (Vintage Rock kit)
    * Overloud TH1 (for guitar sound)

    If you have any questions:
    * Give feedback (upper-right-corner)
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    * General Forum

    Enjoy!/ Jerry
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