Jazz funk

What is jazz funk?

Jazz funk is a style of music that grew out of jazz, but brings in elements of soul music and rhythm and blues.

John McCallum, Atholl Ransome and Malcolm Strachan from the Haggis Horns discuss the jazz funk genre before performing their own composition, "Hot Damn".

Jazz funk was pioneered by artists such as Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.

Structure and form

Funk tends to have a simple structure based around one or two riffs.

Melody and harmony

Like jazz, jazz funk has a basic harmonic structure that allows players to improvise.

Rhythm and tempo

While jazz often features a swing beat, jazz funk is backed by a groove rhythm that is more like a rock beat. The rhythm tends to be more complex than that of soul music.


Jazz funk adds electric instruments and effects to more traditional acoustic instruments such as sax and trumpet that feature in jazz.

As well as the acoustic trumpet, trombone, saxophone and clarinet of jazz, funk often features these electric instruments:

  • Bass guitar replaces double bass
  • Electric piano, organ or synthesizer replaces piano