A really old posting. Made by Greg Beuthin.
Acid Jazz really has nothing to do with Acid music (originally)- it was a tongue in cheek spinoff of the Acid House phenomenon happening in the UK at the time. The underground dance club scene (The Fez, The Centre of the World, etc) provided an ambiance for "Massives" of DJ's and musicians to get together and jam, spinning off from the original reggae sounds (and sound systems) of the 70s to other forms of black music (as opposed to non-black music movements like techno and house, which started at almost the same time). Soul II Soul was an early example of this, but they went in a slightly different direction than the acid jazz bands that followed. The most prevalent musical trend was the revival of the 70s American funk, which became very popular in Britain in the late eighties. There were the early (88? 89?) Talkin Loud and Saying Someting parties which were the basis for the first couple of Totally Wired compilations, which was Acid Jazz's (the label) jumping off point. The first Acid Jazz single, Galliano's "Fredrick Lies Still" was an almost tongue in cheek cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead," from the film Superfly. A big supporter/ promoter of acid jazz was Gilles Peterson, who was a dj at KISS FM. He was purportedly one of the founders of the Acid Jazz record label, then went on to start Talkin Loud.
The legends about how the name came about:
On one of the BGP Acid Jazz compilations the sleeve notes
referred to Gilles Peterson jokingly giving James Taylor a
cassette of Funk Inc. and Charlie Earland Grooves labelled simply
"Acid Jazz" in order to inspire him.
Gilles Peterson claimed on radio to have coined the phrase acid jazz when he was asked to dj after an acid house dj. He said that the crowd was going mental to this house music and he wasn't sure how he could follow it up. He put on things like Jonny Pate's 'You're starting too fast,' Weldone Irvine and Charles Earland etc., and the crowd kept dancing. But then Gilles probably would say that he invented it.
Then, while the Young Disciples were in California last summer, they claimed that they gigged at this club where they had a massive acid house thing going on downstairs, and a small room upstairs where the YDs were supposed to play "jazz." So Femi (or was it Marc?) called it "Acid Jazz" to attract people upstairs.
It is likely that many of these stories regarding the origin of the term are apocryphal, and it should be noted at the time the so called Acid Jazz thing hit, in the late eighties, alot of DJs who'd been playing this sort of stuff already were pretty pissed off with the tag "Acid Jazz", and the widely held assumption that Gilles Peterson deserved sole credit for the resurrection of this form of music since he'd supposedley coined the term.
Finally, Chris Phillips or Jez Nelson interviewed some New York soul band last year, on a London radio station. The band said they might get into this new acid jazz thing. At the end of the programme, one of the DJs scoffed, saying "Acid Jazz was something Giles Peterson invented five years ago that some other people got involved in. It is over now."
Perhaps the moral of the story is not to invent these tags, it is bad enough with Soul Jazz, Soul Funk, Jazz Funk, Funk/Jazz etc already.
Now, of course, music does not evolve in a vacuum, and there were several things happening in the U.S. Americans usually claim the first mingling of rap and jazz, and could even claim dibs on "acid jazz," because what we know today as "Acid Jazz" is usually reworked American 70's stuff.
Some give credit to Miles Davis' _Doo Bop_ album (1992) for being the first in that category. Also, _On the Corner_ (1972) was a bold leap into funky jazz.
Ganstarr's "Jazz Thing," (for Spike Lee's "Mo' Bettah Blues") did come before Miles' "Doo Bop" unless you are questioning whether it's "real" jazz they are rapping over.
Branford Marsalis played sax on Public Enemy's Fight The Power in 1990.
Ron Carter played bass for A Tribe Called Quest's Low End Theory in 1991.
In 88, Stetsasonic did two versions of Talkin' All Jazz, first sampling Lonnie Liston Smith, then remixing with a Donald Byrd track. In 86, Run-DMC flipped a Bob James song into the hip hop classic Peter Piper.
(The dates come from record sleeves. They don't always correspond to when the songs were actually created.)
Incidentally, 1988 is also the year that Gang Starr dropped their monster "Words I Manifest" single (sampling Charlie Parker doing a Dizzy Gillespie tune) and subsequent "No More Mr. Nice Guy" album on Wild Pitch. Their LP track "Jazz Music" initiated and predates "Jazz Thing" and even any of Tribe's recorded efforts.
However, crediting Gang Starr with the first Hip Hop Jazz *Album* is slightly unfair on Galliano, whose earlier projects came sometime before. To go much further back, probably the first real rappers, after Max Bygraves, were the Last Poets. Some of their material could be described as Jazz Hip Hop in the loosest sense of the word, which is appropriate considering perhaps the seminal Jazz Hip Hop track - Gangstarr's "Jazz Thing" is simply rapping over a Brandford Marsalis Horn, and the latter simply playing over a loop of Kool and the Gang's "Dujii", and you'd have a hard time convincing any Jazz buff that Kool Jazz was actually jazz.
So that's how it goes. Of course, now people have started sampling jazz with techno music (The House of Acid Jazz is a good example) and people have used samples *and* used real musicians (eg US3).
Once people started recognizing that some of the "jazz" from the 60's and 70's was funky like that, they started to call it acid jazz as well. So now it has encompassed a huge variety of music.
An important thing here is to recognize and acknowledge the contributions from everywhere. The UK was the first to revinvent funk with jazz (in the US, the jazz had slowly been dropped from the funk ala Prince, Parliment, etc). The US was concentrating more on getting musically serious with it's rap forms, but until full length jazz-rap albums like Guru's came out, the emphasis was mainly on single songs or single samples. However, this list is more geared towards the funkified jazz sounds of the original acid-jazz movement than the jazz-rap community, but discussions of the latter are not necessarily out of place. :-)
This "history" and definition is actually a collage of various statements submitted by me and the following people. They do not necessarily have the copyright on the knowledge, but spent their time writing about it. Much respect to:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Phil Julian)
From: email@example.com (Phil Julian)