Jimmy Monsta Funk 3 x 5 – Jazz Before Techno

Continuing with drawing the lines between jazz and techno, Jimmy Monsta Funk drops part 2 in his series of track selections. Following on from Part 1 which examined Techno After Jazz, he’s just turned in another top 5 that for him sits on the opposite side of the same musical table.

via Jimmy Monsta Funk
In the world of DJing and record selecting the need to define tracks by genre never goes away, if only for record shops to be able to put records into nice neat piles.

Electronic dance music (for want of a better term) has always been influenced by what came before, either directly through sampling or indirectly through the use of standard motifs, styles of singing or classic melodies and percussion. The world of techno in particular has been linked with jazz and drum & bass has also been influenced by the music born and forged in Harlem and New Orleans over 70 years before.

Over the next three weeks, I aim to give you some tracks that are techno influenced by jazz, jazz as a precursor to techno or a modern fusion of old styles and feelings.


The following five tracks straddle the 1970s / 1980s and feature the emergence of electronic instrumentation (albeit years after the pioneering works of Tristram Carey, Raymond Scott, Pierre Henry, Jean-Jacques Perrey and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to name a few), they also point the way to where music was heading.


1 – Weather Report – Nubian Sundance

I discovered this track when a got a cab home from a gig. The jamaican cabbie helped me get my records in his boot and when we got in the car, he slipped a cd into the stereo. He said to me ‘as you like music, check dis out, dis is the future’. I check the track out wondering which ‘drum and bass’ producer had made it. Then he said ‘dis is from 1974’, I was gobsmacked, totally forward thinking with a rhythm and melody to die for!


2 – Jean-Luc Ponty – In the Fast Lane

The funkiest track the jazz violinist ever made!


3 – Herbie Hancock – The Twilight Clone (from the Album ‘Magic Windows’)

One could say that ‘Rockit’ is the track to pick, but for me the track is so wrapped up in the history of hip-hop. This track was made 2 years before the release of Rockit, but still works incredibly well with modern electronic records.


4 – Miles Davis – What I Say (from the Album ‘Live Evil’)

This period of Miles Davis’ music was influenced by the tape editing techniques done in the studio by Teo Macero. I love the way the rhythm falls over its self yet propels the listener to an entirely different reality.


5 – Pharoah Sanders – Astral Travelling (from the Album ‘Thembi’)

Space is the place! This track influenced many a drum and bass track with the wonderful playing of Pharaoh’s band, not least keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith