Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday 12-inch Flashback: ‘Funkin’ for Jamaica’

It doesn’t get more classic than this. But as often as I’ve enjoyed Tom Browne’s signature jam, I never heard this 12-inch mix until the Vinyl Morpher uploaded it to YouTube.

This version features more of Browne’s horn.

It used to be that cats would establish their reputations as straight- ahead jazzmen, then slide over into funk, R&B and disco. (Consider Herbie Hancock, Ramsey Lewis, Donald Byrd, Herbie Mann, Roy Ayers, George Benson, George Duke and Stanley Clarke.)

In Tom Browne’s case, he was 25 years old when he cut this record, and its success locked him into commercial R&B.

Although he’d already had some straight jazz experience with Sonny Fortune and Lonnie Smith, Browne didn’t get serious about recording jazz until the mid-’90s... with an album called “Another Shade of Browne.” His sidemen included Ron Carter, Idris Muhammad and Javon Jackson.

Click here to hear his version of “Bee Tee’s Minor Plea” on my Vox blog. (This is one of my favorite pieces by the late, great hard-bop trumpeter Booker Little.)

Browne continues to gig actively, in jazz settings mostly.


Woe said...

Yessir, Old School Classic indeed. I think this was the jam that put the Jamaica Queens thang on the map. I always thought that Chaka was singing on this track...

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I had thought so too. Here's the woman who sang it.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Yessir, that's sheeiitt. Couldn't get enough of that song back in the day.

I've been on the early 80s funk tip lately too. Happens at this time of year for some reason. Been studying Rick James' Street Songs and Come Get It (I know that's '78 but you know the period I'm in).

destruction said...

I've only heard 2 songs of Booker Little....I had NO idea he died at 23.

I really couldn't get deep into this tune the way a lot of cats my age were because the whole Fusion thing was starting to wear on me and my tastes starting gravitating more towards funk or jazz....and that alt rock and rap thing started bubbling inside me.