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Is Acid Jazz a Racially Motivated Genre?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by eJake, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I was recently thumbing through an older thread that had popped up about The Brand New Heavies and other acid jazz. Having never heard of Incognito I thought I'd go check em out while I was cleaning up my kitchen.

    Listened to their first record, it was awesome as I expected. About halfway through I started wondering why they don't just call this music what it is, funk and disco. THEN I started thinking about how many times black music has had to be re branded to be sold to the white audience.

    Jamiroqui sounds like disco to me. Much of TBNH sounds funky af. Does anyone think that somewhere there was a person who decided that in the late 70s and early 80s white people were not going to buy things branded as funk and disco and thus coined acid jazz? If so, the hipocracy of calling it jazz is almost comical.

    I'd like to hear folks opinions, this is just a thought that crossed my mind.
  2. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE! Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    Well...as I understand it, ragtime and jazz eventually became known as "swing" and "big band" for racial reasons. I'm no music historian, so it may not be as simple as that, but I do believe that music genres have at times been rebranded due to race.
    GregC, ICM, Zane DeBord and 1 other person like this.
  3. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    Absolutely hear ya. It's still happening today..
  4. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    I'm white and I gravitate(d) to MOSTLY funk/disco/soul. We like what we like. They could have called it squirrel squalls and I'd still dig it. For the record it never occurred to me to define The Brand New Heavies as "acid jazz". I've always thought of them as R&B with a penchant for funk. Using the wiki I see that they do carry that moniker as well. Funny, that.
  5. Wood and Wire

    Wood and Wire

    Jul 15, 2017
    Acid Jazz was the name of the record label.

    There were a whole bunch of bands on the label, that were pretty successful, and had a similar sort of sound - so the term became somewhat ubiquitous (like Hoover, for all vacuum cleaners, regardless of actual manufacturer).

    Prior to that, there had been the 2tone record label, but they did have more of a philosophy behind them, having a roster made up of multiracial bands.
  6. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    That's good info thx. Acid Jazz Records - Wikipedia
    wmmj likes this.
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Also...at that time, "Jazz" & "Rag" had sexual connotations.
    Too risque for the '30s/'40s?
    DiabolusInMusic and FilterFunk like this.
  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Bass Player mag hipped me to The Heavies...IIRC, it was BP's review of Brother Sister.
    My 1st impression: I loved them...finally, something cool in an old skool vibe with a certain freshness about it.

    I used to ask the UK guys on this site (e.g. Bruce Lindfield) about Acid Jazz...told them, I get the "Acid" part.
    I am not hearing the "Jazz" part.
    Jhengsman, eJake and Funky Ghost like this.
  9. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    I found the Heavies in the early 80's I think? 80's for sure and I was in High School so 80 - 84 ish. I really liked them a ton. They were the gateway to more English love in the way of Massive Attack in the late 80's. I think they call that "Trip Hop" ? I dunno but I dug it a lot.
    eJake likes this.
  10. DrummerwStrings


    Mar 27, 2015
    The name Acid Jazz was more about Jazz musicians wanting to incorporate some of the modern R&B and Hip-Hop into their music. I first heard the term 'Acid Jazz' in 1989, maybe '88.

    Of course, communication goes both ways, so it's more complicated than that - more groups that had some Jazz influences were getting record deals, DJ mixes, & radio airplay (Ask where did Acid Jazz Records get their name). More DJs & Hip-Hop acts were using Jazz riffs in their samples & mixes. I wouldn't call TBNH a Jazz group, but I distinctly remember when "Dream Come True" dropped, it made an impression. Listen to some of the 1990 radio hits - TBNH definitely has more Jazz compared with the rest of the charts.

    At the time I never considered Acid Jazz a rebranding of Disco or Funk (still don't). Come to think of it, there was a Funk resurgence a little sooner - including De La Soul in '88, & Prince's New Power Generation.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  11. DrummerwStrings


    Mar 27, 2015
    No, a put-down on the genres. Rock-n-Roll too (sex connotation, not sure it was derogatory).
  12. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    Yeah see I always thought that groups like Return to Forever and such were acid jazz.
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Always liked this one...about 2:00 in, N'Dea forgets the words. It is live. :)
    Quinn Roberts, nbsipics and wmmj like this.
  14. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Good one...to me, The Screaming Headless Torsos would be Acid Jazz. ;)
    wes stephenson and smeet like this.
  15. Drgonzonm


    Sep 4, 2017
    American SW
    If the Danes are playing acid jazz, then no. Imho, no
  16. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    American music came from two primary source. Black musicians were going in two different directions and white music was coming from the Southern Central hills. It was traditional Celtic.
    From the early days of slavery, Black people were signing their traditional songs. Many began as what were called "Field Hollers". They were work songs to pass the time and to set a work rhythm. This began the Blues and it evolved.
    In the last few years of the nineteenth century through the first few of the twentieth, military music was a very popular genre. John Phillip Sousa was a rock star in his day. Black musicians around the New Orleans area were buying used band instrument to play the music, but had no training and were learning by ear. They added the African rhythms to the military marches and gave us Dixieland Jazz.
    Meanwhile, up in the hills, the Hill Billies we sawing out old Celtic tunes and inventing Blue Grass music. And from Blue Grass, came Country.

    Then some Black musicians wrote lyrics to their blues tunes aimed at White teenagers. Chuck Berry pretty much started and led that movement.

    Then the White musicians started listening to the Black music and together they merged Blues and Country into Rock & Roll.

    So, the short answer, is yes, most music is actually racially generated. The music people write, play, and listen to represents their culture. But, today it moves fluidly back and forth.
    What race has to do with a piece of music is only relevant for historical purpose anyway.
  17. DrummerwStrings


    Mar 27, 2015
    Pretty much agree if "today" is removed - Music has always been fluid.
    dbsfgyd1 and Max Blasto like this.
  18. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I don't think you mean what you think you mean. Maybe instead of "genre" you mean "designation" and instead of "racially motivated" you mean "racially exploitive". What you said is that style of music exists because of a specific racial reason, what it sounds like you mean is that somebody created the name to take advantage of a specific demographic market.
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  19. I hope you're not serious but if you are: wow!
    Skybone, NeilGB, repoman and 5 others like this.

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