Wednesday, November 30, 2005

El Chicano

Originally known as the VIP's, East LA's El Chicano were at the forefront of the 70's "Conga Funk" movement, which included bands such as War, Malo, and eventually Tierra. Their sound, like early Santana, is a mixture of rock, funk, soul, jazz, and Afro-Cuban salsa.

Their biggest hit was the title track to their 1970 debut, Gerald Wilson's "Viva Tirado". A regional hit in LA at first, the instrumental gained steam and found ears in the east coast. This led to El Chicano performing at the legendary Apollo Theater, becoming the the first Chicano act to do so.

MP3: "Viva Tirado" by El Chicano
from Viva Tirado(MCA/Kapp, 1970)

MP3: "Spanish Grease" by El Chicano
MP3: "Sabor a Mi"
from Revolucion(MCA/Kapp, 1971)

MP3: "Tell Her She's Lovely" by El Chicano
from Cinco de Mayo(MCA, 1974)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Maceo Parker

Sax funk legend Maceo Parker first gained notoriety when he was part of James Brown's band and landed a solo on "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." This led to solo's on other classics such as "Cold Sweat" and "Sex Machine." Maceo later left James Brown along with bassist Bootsy Collins and trombonist Fred Wesley to join George Clinton and Parliament where they took funk to a whole other level. In 2004 Maceo was part of Prince's Musicology tour where he received great critical acclaim. Maceo still continues to tour the world with his own band.

MP3: "Born To Wander"
MP3: "Feeling Alright"
by Maceo & All the King's Men from Funky Music Machine(Excello, 1972)

MP3: "Chameleon" by Maceo Parker from Soundtrack(Minor Music)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Kool & The Gang

Originally a traditional jazz band known as the Jazziacs, the group would incorporate their love for James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone into their music and eventually become Kool & The Gang. Although they reached their commercial peak in the 80's with hits such as "Ladies Night" and "Celebration", some of their earlier work is as funky and soulful as it gets. Much of their early funk was heavily sampled in hip-hop during the 90's. My exposure to Kool & The Gang's earlier work was through Too $hort's sampling of "Hollywood Swinging" for his song "Money in the Ghetto". Definitely some Funky Stuff.

MP3: "NT" by Kool & The Gang from Gangthology (Universal Int'l,2003)

MP3: "Dujii" by Kool & The Gang from Kool Jazz (Polygram, 1974)

MP3: "Sombrero Sam" by Kool & The Gang from Live at P.J.'s (Polygram, 1971)

Sunday, November 06, 2005


For nearly 40 years, some of the most underrated Latin Soul and Jazz music has come from none other than Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers. By listening to just one measure of his music, you'd think that Pucho hails from Cuba or some other Latin American country. It is surprising to find that Pucho is not even a Latino. The legendary timbalero was born Henry Brown in Harlem, New York and grew up entranced by the African American sounds of jazz and soul as well as the Latin music that he was exposed to in his neighborhood.
Although Pucho never garnered the recognition as contemporaries Willie Bobo and Mongo Santamaria, Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers have had a resurgence due to a new generation of listeners who have rediscovered his music. He still continues to tour to this day.

MP3: "Maiden Voyage" by Pucho & his Latin Soul Brothers
from Legends of Acid Jazz (Prestige, 1996)

MP3: "Chitterlings Con Carne" by Pucho & his Latin Soul Brothers
from Pulp Fusion (Harmless, 2003)