JazzTimes 10: Classic Punk Jazz Albums

A late-'70s downtown phenomenon re-evaluated

Forty years ago, a new sound oozed up from the New York City underground, combining the boundlessness of free jazz with the aggressive attitude of punk rock. In his article for JT‘s May 2019 issue, Jim Farber took a look at this curious “punk jazz” hybrid; here as a companion piece are 10 albums that provide a basic template for the style. MAC RANDALL

The cover of James Chance and the Contortions "Buy"James Chance & the Contortions: Buy (1979)

Punk jazz’s ground zero. Buy was fired by the abandon of James Chance’s saxophone, which raged over the trampoline guitar riffs of Jody Harris and Pat Place. It was all kept in balance by a super-funky rhythm section.

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Jim Farber

Jim Farber, who spent 25 years as the chief music critic of the New York Daily News, currently contributes to The New York Times, The Guardian, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, and many other outlets. He is an adjunct professor at NYU, as well as a three-time winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award, for pieces which appeared in the New York Daily News, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone: The ’70s.