The Best Jazz-Funk Bands/Artists

Over 1.4K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Jazz-Funk Bands/Artists

While there are many fantastic jazz-funk artists, some are just better than others. This list is designed to let the fans of jazz-funk separate the absolute best jazz-funk bands and groups from all of the rest. Jazz-funk is a subgenre of jazz that’s known for it’s strong, funky groove and focus on instrumentation. George Benson and George Duke are classic examples of the genre, but are they the top jazz funk fusion artists of all time?

This list of the top jazz-funk bands in the world includes all musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. Jazz-funk artists list, with photos, ranked best to worst by votes. Jazz-funk groups and artists are shown below along with any additional genres in which their music belongs. These are truly the greatest and funkiest jazz-funk bands of all time, since the most famous jazz-funk artists ever are listed, and the order is decided by actual fans of the best jazz-funk music.

You can click on the jazz-funk band names to see more information about that particular notable jazz-funk group. All the top jazz-funk bands named on the list also have songs and albums listed on their pages if you click on the jazz-funk band names themselves.

A list made up of genre-bending artists like Victor Wooten and Jaco Pastorious. Vote for the best artists, in your opinion, by clicking the thumbs up button. Vote down the acts that can't bring the funk. Which of these artists belongs at the top of the list? Galactic? Billy Cobham? All important, significant, and iconic names in jazz-funk music history deserve your votes, so choose wisely. 

The list should include all modern and new jazz-funk bands, so if there are any missing on the list, you can always add them yourself. This list has the best examples of jazz-funk, and can be a good place to start if you wondering how to get into jazz-funk music. The bands at the top of the list will be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good jazz-funk bands with which to start out. This list answers the questions "who are the best jazz-funk bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest jazz-funk musician ever?"

Whether you’re a jazz-funk expert or a new fan of jazz-funk music, please vote for the best jazz-funk bands - not just the most popular jazz-funk bands that you never actually listened to. 

Most divisive: Kung Fu
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  • Earth, Wind & Fire is a legendary jazz-funk band that formed in 1969 and has captivated audiences worldwide with their captivating blend of jazz, funk, and rhythm and blues. Their extraordinary musicianship has been celebrated in hits like "Shining Star," "September," and "Boogie Wonderland." Known for the incorporation of strong African influences into their music, they have delivered stunning live performances characterized by rich brass arrangements and dazzling harmonies. Earth, Wind & Fire have won multiple Grammy Awards and remain a vital force in both jazz-funk and popular music today.

  • George Duke
    164 votes

    George Duke was a multifaceted musician who made a lasting impact on the world of jazz-funk. Initially known as a skilled keyboardist, he went on to explore various fusion styles as a successful bandleader. His collaborations with legends like Miles Davis and Frank Zappa often showcased his ability to effortlessly blend funk grooves with intricate jazz harmonies. In addition to his strong technical abilities, Duke's innovative compositions have left a significant mark on the world of jazz-funk.

  • Billy Cobham
    124 votes

    Billy Cobham is considered one of the most influential drummers in the history of jazz-funk due to his unparalleled technique and innovative playing style. With an illustrious career spanning over 50 years, Cobham made a name for himself through his work with Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra before launching an impressive solo career. The virtuosity displayed in albums like Spectrum remains highly revered today among both musicians and fans alike.

  • Stanley Clarke

    Stanley Clarke

    129 votes

    Renowned bassist Stanley Clarke boasts an extensive discography showcasing his immense talent in the realms of jazz-funk fusion. Pioneering the art of slap bass alongside Larry Graham, Clarke has made lasting contributions to both musical genres throughout his illustrious career. His precise playing techniques combined with innovative compositions have earned him a well-deserved spot as a leader in the jazz-funk community. Clarke’s collaborations with Return to Forever and George Duke have further solidified his standing among legends in the field.

  • Jaco Pastorius

    Jaco Pastorius was a groundbreaking bassist known for expanding the boundaries of jazz-funk through his mastery of fretless electric bass. His innovative playing style and distinctive sound prominently featured on Weather Report's Heavy Weather album have left an indelible mark on the genre. Pastorius's solo career showcased his unique musicianship, stylistic versatility, and melodic-rich approach to creating unforgettable music.

  • George Benson
    261 votes

    Regarded as one of the most talented jazz-funk guitarists in history, George Benson has continually pushed the boundaries of these genres thanks to his skillful mix of intricate chord progressions and soulful melodies. Perhaps best known for his breakthrough album, Breezin', Benson’s talent spans beyond his role as an instrumentalist – his refined vocal abilities contribute to his status as an iconic artist whose smooth style invites listeners into a world of captivating music.