What is funk? Well, it’s easier heard than described. But it’s based in a band sound which unfortunately has waned in recent years with the advent of technology though a few artists, most notably Cee-Lo who came out of hip-hop, are trying to keep alive.
“Funk is the evolution out of soul music. It’s the music where the band became the star. With War, Earth Wind and Fire and the Commodores, the band was the star. The horn players and the guitar players became much more prominent. It’s a lot of different elements but it’s an evolution out of what soul music was and Brown and Sly are the key people in it.”
As far as funk’s originator, George says that has to be James Brown. Most of the musicians that followed him, including Stevie Wonder, Micheal Jackson and Prince, acknowledged his dominating influence. Early hip-hop got much of its sound from Brown as well as other funksters as their music is widely sampled throughout the hip-hop genre. Brown’s band was the tightest in the game and Brown, legendary for riding his bands hard to achieve musical perfection is acknowledged for both his musicianship and showmanship.
“The James Brown Band of the late 60’s when you had Maceo [Parker] Fred [Wesley] Clyde Stubblefield The Funky Drummer, Bootsy [Collins] was in that band for about a year. That James Brown band was really the creators of funk.”