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Published on July 9th, 2012 | by Sam


Funkify Your Life-3 Rhythm Grooves from the Meters

The Meters were a funk/R&B band out of New Orleans in the 1970s.  They have recently (in the past 10-15 years) become a huge inspiration on jazz artists.  I’m guessing they had always been an influence but their contributions have become more well-known recently.

Aaron Neville was the organist/keyboard player in the group and wrote most of the songs.  He later went on to be a part of the Neville Brothers.   The group’s guitarist was Leo Nocentelli who played really interesting, scratchy rhythm parts.

Nocentelli had a great quality of playing a sort of uneven rhythm.  To me, it sounds like it comes from the New Orleans’ rhythm sections.  The drummers have a funky swing to the eighth notes and Nocentelli nails that.  It also reminds me of some West African music where the subdivisions are not all equal.  This is one of the keys to really get the Nocentelli sound.

Cissy Strut

This tune has been a favorite jam tune for years.  Here we are looking at the comping pattern for the organ solo.  The rhythm is pretty steady here, but he does sometimes leave out notes here and there.  Make sure to listen to the original recording of this tune, many players who covered it since use it as a jamming vehicle instead of playing the original rhythms and feels.

Sophisticate Cissy

This tune is from the same album as Cissy Strut.  This groove is just plain nasty!  This is the groove featured on the A sections. Nocentelli’s part just fits in perfectly with the rest of the rhythm, in fact getting into his playing could really be a study of fitting a guitar part into an overall band or groove.


This tune comes from the band’s second album.  This lick comes from the A section of the tune (basically a G7 section).  One of my favorite parts of this lick is the ending-moving back and forth between the higher D and lower F.  Very interesting and creative stuff, but again make sure you listen to the original to get the feel.


Make sure to check this stuff out on the original recordings! You can easily make an argument that this stuff is true Chicken Pickin!

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