From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- "Funk gradually became smoother as disco came to prominence in the mid- to late '70s, and lost much of its distinguishing earthiness. However, it had a major impact on jazz (both fusion and soul-jazz), and became the musical foundation of hip-hop. Thanks to the latter, funk enjoyed a renaissance during the '90s, especially among white audiences who rushed to explore its original classics." --allmusic.com, 2003
Funk is an American musical style that originated in the mid- to late-1960s when African American performers blended soul music, soul jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony, and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground. Unlike R&B and soul songs, which had many chord changes, funk songs are often based on a single chord.
Like much of African music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments such as electric guitar, electric bass, Hammond organ, and drums playing interlocking rhythms. Funk bands also usually have a horn section of several saxophones, trumpets, and in some cases, a trombone, which plays rhythmic "shots".
Influential African American funk performers include James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, George Clinton, and The Meters. Notable 1970s funk bands included Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, The Commodores, and Kool & the Gang. Funk music was a major influence on the development of 1970s disco music and funk samples are used in most styles of hip hop music.