Various Artists

Flying Funk

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Like sister release Flying Groove, Flying Funk is an anthology compiled by writer Dean Rudland that surveys the jazz/funk/soul stew released by Bluebird's Flying Dutchman subsidiary during the late '60s and early '70s. Some might be surprised to look at a disc with "funk" in the title and not see anyone near the popularity level of James Brown or Funkadelic. That's because most of the artists included here operated in the margins. Despite this, many of them have become cult heroes and have either taken part in the invention of styles that followed (see Gil Scott-Heron, proto-rap poet) or have long remained legendary in jazz circles (see Lonnie Liston Smith, keyboard wizard). Both Flying Groove and Flying Funk thrive on a sub-style that has become known as rare groove -- "rare" due to the scarce nature of much of the material, and "groove" for obvious reasons. Flying Funk includes such cult classics as Gil Scott-Heron's "Home Is Where the Hatred Is," the Jimmy Castor Bunch's "It's Just Begun," New Birth's "Got to Get a Knutt," Nina Simone's "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter," Bernard "Pretty" Purdie's "Ain't No Sunshine," and Lonnie Liston Smith's "Expansions." An excellent entry route into the era, Flying Funk shows that these artists weren't so much ripping out the roots of jazz as they were growing new trees with them.

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