New Artists on Funky Jazz/Soul 101

Whilst there are many, many great established artists out there as well as thousands of great tunes groovin' through the Funky Jazz/Soul 101 airwaves there are also many new artists either just starting up or still in the early days of their career that are worth a listen or maybe even an album purchase.

With the varied and different sounds coming out today that are both fresh but still keep their retro sounding grooves it's worth checking out these new artists.

With that in mind i've setup a page of newer artists that DJ Cuckoo likes and you can read more about them below as well as visiting their website and listening to some of their tunes.

Vinzenz Benjamin

It was bands such as Tower Of Power, Earth Wind and Fire and Prince who inspired me to play bass. As a busy session player you tend to get caught up in work and never take enough time to create your own music, but it was always my intention to record and produce some of my own material.

My album 'Solid State' is a mix of different styles, from Pop to Soul to Jazz to Funk. The album incorporates big horn arrangements, some old school funk grooves and it features some great soloists. I had the pleasure of working with some really fantastic musicians on this album. Apart from my own compositions, partly co-written with others 'Solid State' also includes my personal take on some legendary funk and pop songs that have inspired me as a bass player. 'Solid State' is available on iTunes and Spotify.

Visit the Website - Vinzenz Benjamin

Stevie Hawkins - Drummer/Vocalist

2012 All Indie Music Awards Nominee "Best Blues" and "Best Jazz" Artist

From the time I could hold a drumstick I was honing that craft, singing and playing along to my mother's record collection. I was blessed to be exposed to some of the greatest sounds in 20th century music and my expertise is certainly attributable in large part to that. The rhythms were really ingrained and the rest was just learning to emote my feelings through those rhythms. I also studied all those great musicians that played "with feel", and still do. How music was constructed, the little nuances that make a big difference, these are the things that really shape a song and really shaped me and my development as a musician.

I've been inspired by so many great artists along the way and the ghosts of those influences are definitely included here on "What The Funk?". Some of my influences as a drummer and vocalist are, Ray Charles, The Bar Kays, Rufus Thomas, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Clyde Stubblefield, Jack DeJohnette, Ella Fitzgerald, Groove Holmes, Willie Mitchell, Art Tatum, Father Earl Hines, McCoy Tyner, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Picket, Little Milton, BB King, Arthur Alexander, George Jones, Joe Cocker, Manu DiBango, Mighty Sam McClain, Sam Dees, Jimmy Lewis, Frederick Knight, William Bell, Patti LaBelle, Herb Alpert, Donnie McCormick, Tony White, Chic Corea, Billy Cobham, Tower of Power, Bootsy Collins and P-Funk, Al Green, Bobby Bland, George Clinton, Funkadelic, Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown, Billie Holiday, Toots Thielemans, Cold Blood, George Duke, Al Jarreau, Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Castor, Junior Walker, Gregg Allman, Jimi Hendrix, and the list goes on.

My goal with "What The Funk?" was really to investigate and bring to the audience a holistic approach to the overall genre. There's such a variety of styles and so much of the history of music encapsulated in what we call "Funk". I wanted to expand funk music beyond what audiences can expect to hear with a few songs they'd never expect to hear. The album showcases classic funk to just plain fun funk with soul and jazz influences all thrown in the batter. The combination works, serving up a satisfying meal seasoned with topics that address love, alienation, hope, faith, bad times and good times.

Visit the Website - Stevie Hawkins Website

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