Today, I’m going to share my “secret” list of funk tunes that I have been practicing to for a few years now. These are tunes that I bought on iTunes because I was sick of the generic Jamey Aebersold tracks that we all practice to. I spent many hours one week going through iTunes and looking for funky tracks for every minor key that my students could practice to. I would play each sample of the song and if it was funky enough to add to the list and was in a key I needed, I would add it. I ended up with 22 tunes covering 11 Keys (I’m still looking for one in C# minor concert key………if you find one please let me know so I can add it to the list)
You can see the tunes below in the picture I took of my iTunes playlist. I also included a PDF of the list so you can download it. The blues scale listed next to each song is the concert key blues scale you would use for that song so if you play an Eb or Bb instrument you would have to transpose for your instrument. For example:
Tune #2 Loose Your Funky Self is in the key of D minor concert and you can use the D blues scale on it DFGG#ACD. For Eb instruments it would be the B blues scale BDEFF#AB and for Bb instruments it would be the E blues scale EGABbBDE.
My goal in finding these songs were to find funky grooves that were interesting but didn’t have so much going on that it would be hard to play with them. These are mostly about the groove and although repetitive have some interesting mixes and surprises in them.
I use these tunes with students to practice the material from these books:
Some of the coolest minor lines out there! Not easy, but well worth the effort to learn! I call them “devastating” because they are the type of lines you play and other musicians take notice. (They also help when you are trying out a sax in a music store and don’t want to sound lame…………)
Adding approaches to your lines in a minor groove is a great way to play fast and create lines that weave in and out of the minor tonality. Gives your lines a modern flare……..
Classic blues scale licks and lines. Nothing earth shattering but when you have a vocabulary of great blues licks to pull from it sure makes it easier to play a great solo using the blues scale! You need this foundation if you can’t sound good with just the blues scale……Trust me!
Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale (Over D minor you would use the G7 Dominant Bebop Scale)
Many people think the bebop scale is just for bebop music. That is not true at all. You hear the bebop vocabulary all the time over funk and smooth jazz sax solos. Matter of fact, it is a great way to rip into some double time lines and break away from the pentatonic and blues scale to make things more interesting……..
These tunes are interesting enough that it keeps me interested and excited to practice to them. I would suggest looking each of these tunes up on iTunes and playing the samples to see if you like them. If you like them then you can purchase them on iTunes and download them. If you don’t like funky more modern dance music most of these will probably not be for you. (I apologize in advance to you hardcore jazz fans…….) Check them out and decide for yourself. I make no commission from any purchases you make on iTunes but if you want to buy a book or lesson while you’re here it is much appreciated. Have fun practicing!
PS. A new tune I found that isn’t on this list is:
Ease the Funk by BadboE on Loose Your Funky Self-Bb Blues Scale (Another Awesome Groove!!)