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Soul jazz is often associated with hard bop. Mark C. Gridley, writing for the All Music Guide to Jazz, explains that soul jazz more specifically refers to music with "an earthy, bluesy melodic concept" and "repetitive, dance-like rhythms.... Note that some listeners make no distinction between 'soul-jazz" and 'funky hard bop,' and many musicians don't consider 'soul-jazz' to be continuous with 'hard bop.'" Roy Carr describes soul jazz as an outgrowth of hard bop, with the terms "funk" and "soul" appearing in a jazz context as early as the mid-1950s to describe "gospel-informed, down-home, call-and-response blues." Carr also notes the acknowledged influence of Ray Charles' small group recordings (which included saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford) on Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Cannonball Adderley.
Soul jazz developed in the late 1950s, reaching public awareness with the release of The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco. Cannonball Adderley noted: "We were pressured quite heavily by Riverside Records when they discovered there was a word called 'soul'. We became, from an image point of view, soul jazz artists. They kept promoting us that way and I kept deliberately fighting it, to the extent that it became a game." While soul jazz was most popular during the mid-to-late 1960s, many soul jazz performers, and elements of the music, remain popular. The Jazz Crusaders, for example, evolved from soul jazz to soul music, becoming the Crusaders in the process. Carr places David Sanborn and Maceo Parker in a line of alto saxophonists that includes Earl Bostic and Tab Smith, with Adderley, followed by Lou Donaldson, as the strongest links in the chain.
Some well-known soul jazz recordings are Curtis Fuller's Five Spot after Dark (1957), Lee Morgan's The Sidewinder (1963), Frank Foster's Samba Blues (1963), Nat Adderley's "Work Song", Horace Silver's "Song for My Father" (1964), Ramsey Lewis's "The 'In' Crowd" (a top-five hit in 1965), Cannonball Adderley's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (1966) (also popularized further when covered as a top 40 pop song by the Buckinghams the following year), and Young Holt Unlimited "Soulful Strut". Les McCann and Eddie Harris's album Swiss Movement (1969) was a hit record, as was the accompanying single "Compared to What", with both selling millions of units. Some jazz recorded in Jamaica by musicians later recording ska and reggae Roland Alphonso, Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, Cecil Lloyd (Jamaica Jazz From the Workshop, 1962 I Cover the Waterfront, 1962) can also be called soul jazz.
Funky means earthy and blues-based. It might not be blues itself, but it does have that 'down-home' feel to it. Soul is basically the same, but there's an added dimension of feeling and spirit.
- Gridley, Mark C. (1994), Ron Wynn (ed.), All Music Guide to Jazz, M. Erlewine, V. Bogdanov, San Francisco: Miller Freeman, pp. 11–12, 14, ISBN 0-87930-308-5
- Tanner, Paul O. W.; Maurice Gerow; David W. Megill (1988) . "Hard Bop — Funky". Jazz (6th ed.). Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown, College Division. pp. 112–121. ISBN 0-697-03663-4.
- Carr, Roy (2006) , "Soul to Soul", A Century of Jazz: A Hundred Years of the Greatest Music Ever Made, London: Hamlyn, pp. 150–153, ISBN 0-681-03179-4,
Soul [jazz] was just a natural outpouring of Hard Bop and, for the most part popularized by many of the genre's stellar soloists....
- Sidran, Ben. Jazz Profiles from NPR: Nat Adderley (1931–2000) NPR. Accessed June 16, 2021.
- See also Herrmann, Zachary. (April 2, 2007) Concord releases Orrin Keepnews Collection JazzTimes Magazine. Accessed December 13, 2007.
- Quoted in Carr, p. 150
- Work Song soul jazz Retrieved 25 January 2021
- Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 140. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.