In this article we’re featuring our top 10 picks for jazz-rock tunes. This list will feature 5 older classics as well as 5 newer (and perhaps more obscure) tunes played and written by some of the brightest and youngest stars in jazz-rock today. Now before anyone gets upset, we’re using the term “jazz-rock” a bit widely here. This means some of the tunes on this list might also fit into various categories like funk, pop, smooth, or fusion (but we thought “Top 10 List of Jazz-Rock-Funk-Pop-Smooth-Fusion Tunes” was a bit of a clunky title). So please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.
Jazz-Rock is a fusion of jazz and rock that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It blends the improvisational, harmonic, and rhythmic elements of jazz with the amplified sound, groove, and energy of rock. This genre has evolved over time, encompassing other styles such as funk, pop, smooth, and fusion. The article lists the top 10 Jazz-Rock tunes, featuring classics and newer picks from young jazz-rock stars, showcasing the diversity of the genre. Jazz-Rock continues to influence and inspire contemporary music, highlighting the power of cross-genre collaborations and experimentation.
We’ll start with the old…
Jazz-Rock Tunes #10: Feel So Good, Chuck Mangione
“Feels So Good” is a classic often found in the smooth-jazz category. It’s a great tune that goes back and forth between two sections featuring a pop-ballad section and a funky, rhythmic section, featuring the flugelhorn playing the melody.
Jazz-Rock Tunes #9: Morning Dance, Spyro Gyra
“Morning Dance” earns its place on this list for being the coolest tune that uses steel drums. It’s sort of a happy, pop-based tune that features marimba, sax, and electric piano solos. Some fun chord changes as well.
Jazz-Rock Tunes #8: The Chicken, Jaco Pastorius
“The Chicken” is a jazz-funk tune that has became something of a staple in jazz circles. The version linked here is from Jaco’s album The Birthday Concert which featured some of the heaviest players in jazz (Brecker, Erskine, Mintzer, etc).
Jazz-Rock Tunes #7: Oops, Steps Ahead
“Oops” is just a great tune by a great band. Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, Steve Smith, Daryl Jones, Mike Manieri all in the same band so it has to be great!
Jazz-Rock Tunes #6: Chameleon, Herbie Hancock
“Chameleon.” Herbie Hancock. ‘Nuff said.
And now, the new…
Tunes #5: Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing, Jacob Collier
“Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” This is Jacob Collier’s take on a classic Stevie Wonder tune. It’s not an original tune, but Jacob is poised to be a big thing on the jazz scene for his exciting, deeply textured arrangements and musicality.
Tunes #4: Mood, Robert Glasper
“Mood” by Robert Glasper, a huge force on the jazz/soul/R&B scene, is from one of his first records by the same name. It’s a beautiful haunting piece in 5/4 time.
Tunes #3: Rolling In the Deep, Dirty Loops
“Rolling In the Deep” – yes, the Adele smash-hit – gets the Dirty Loops treatment. If you don’t know Dirty Loops they’re a trio from Sweden that re-imagines pop/rock hits with incredible jazz harmonies and pyrotechnics, getting their start as Youtube sensations.
Tunes #2: Less Free Will, Taylor Eigsti
“Less Free Will (Part 1: Fallback Plan Suite)” is a tune by one of the best jazz pianists on the scene. Taylor Eigsti has been around for some time already despite his youth. Everybody wants this guy in their band these days.
Tunes #1: Thing of Gold, Snarky Puppy
This band has been together for about 12 years, but launched to much-deserved success and visibility only a couple years ago after winning their first Grammy award. They’re as good as it gets – great tunes, great writing, great playing, great solos. If they had a single, “Thing of Gold” would be it!
Here are five takeaways from the article on the top 10 Jazz-Rock tunes:
- Jazz-Rock is a genre that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, blending the improvisational elements of jazz with the amplified sound of rock.
- The top 10 Jazz-Rock tunes featured in the article showcase a diverse range of styles, including funk, pop, smooth, and fusion.
- Classic Jazz-Rock tunes, such as Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good” and Jaco Pastorius’s “The Chicken,” are still popular among music lovers today.
- The modern Jazz-Rock picks, such as Robert Glasper’s “Mood” and Snarky Puppy’s “Thing of Gold,” demonstrate the creativity and innovation of young Jazz-Rock stars.
- Jazz-Rock continues to evolve, incorporating new sounds, rhythms, and techniques, while remaining relevant and inspiring to contemporary music.