Acid jazz represents a synthesis of jazz fusion, funk, hip-hop, and urban dance music. Its improvisational, percussion-heavy, and predominantly live orientation came largely from jazz, whereas its dedication to an ongoing rhythmic groove were borrowed from the latter three genres.

The term entered the vernacular in 1988 when adopted as the name of a U.S.-based independent record company and, at the same time, employed as the title of an English-compilation series consisting of reissued 1970s jazz-funk material. The evolution of the form is closely aligned with the continuing cross-fertilization of a wide range of related styles, most notably alternative dance, ambient house, bass and drums, club/dance music, house, jazz-rap, soul-jazz, trip-hop, and trip jazz.

Due to this ongoing cross-pollenization, acid jazz artists bring many differing perspectives to their recorded work. One of the most popular bands within the genre, the Stereo MC’s, moved from the British hip-hop in the late 1980s to a more organic, jazz-inflected amalgam of hip-hop and soul-funk with the release of their most popular LP, Connected (4th & Broadway 514061; 1992; #2 UK, #92 US). Courtney Pine came from the opposite side of the fence, bringing his hardcore jazz sensibilites directly into African American dance culture; his Underground (Talkin’ Loud; 1997) melded steamy live grooves with a battery of technological effects.

Other important recording artists associated with acid jazz include the Brand New Heavies, the Coolbone Brass Band, Corduroy, Count Basic, D’Influence, D*Note, DJ Greyboy, Dread Flimstone, Galliano, the Grassy Knoll, Greyboy, Greyboy Allstars, Groove Collective, Incognito, Jamiroquai, the Jazz Warriors, Jhelisa, Ronny Jordan, A Man Called Adam, Marden Hill, Mondo Grossom Outside, Palm Skin Productions, Gilles Peterson, Red Snapper, Sandals, Slide Five, James Taylor (Quartet), and United Future Organization.

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