Night Lights Classic Jazz

Ain’t He Funky Now: Grant Green in the Early 1970s

Green's turn-of-the-decade recordings filtered the new sounds of the late 1960s through jazz guitar.

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Grant Green funky

Photo: Album cover art.

Green: grooving on the comeback trail.

In 1969 guitarist Grant Green, who had been sidelined for several years by drug problems, returned to Blue Note Records and the jazz scene. The albums he made for Blue Note in this period reflected the influence of contemporary R and B, with Green covering artists such as James Brown and the Isley Brothers. We’ll hear his interpretations of their tunes, in addition to the radio hit “Cease the Bombing” and an extended workout of Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” The music Green made during this era would enjoy a revival with acid-jazz and house-music enthusiasts in the late 1980s and early 1990s; it remains popular with younger listeners today, and Blue Note has released three recent compilatons from which this program is drawn.

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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album cover
Ain't It Funky Now
Grant Green — Ain't It Funky Now (Blue Note, 1970)

Notes: James Brown song

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album cover
Dracula
Grant Green — For the Funk of It (Blue Note)
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It's Your Thing
Grant Green — Ain't It Funky Now (Blue Note)

Notes: Isley Brothers hit.

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album cover
Canteloupe Woman
Grant Green — For the Funk of It (Blue Note)
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Final Comedown
Grant Green (Blue Note)

Notes: Break music.

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I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing (Open Up the Door, I'll Get It Myself)/Cold Sweat
Grant Green — Ain't It Funky Now (Blue Note)

Notes: James Brown tune.

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album cover
Maiden Voyage
Grant Green — Mellow Madness (Blue Note, 1970)

Notes: Herbie Hancock composition.

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Cease the Bombing
Grant Green — Mellow Madness (Blue Note, 1969)
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album cover
David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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