Dub Fusion

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Dub Fusion is the mixing of jazz improvisation with dub style rhythms and production, as well as Jamaican rhythms such as reggae, ska and rocksteady. Some other artists who play in a dub influenced style may also be found in JMA's Nu Jazz, Acid Jazz and World Fusion genres.

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Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm

BILL LASWELL Baselines Album Cover Baselines
BILL LASWELL
4.93 | 4 ratings
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BILL LASWELL Invisible Design Album Cover Invisible Design
BILL LASWELL
4.95 | 3 ratings
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BILL LASWELL Invisible Design II Album Cover Invisible Design II
BILL LASWELL
5.00 | 1 ratings
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THE SKATALITES Ska Authentic Album Cover Ska Authentic
THE SKATALITES
5.00 | 1 ratings
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THE SKATALITES Heroes Of Reggae In Dub Album Cover Heroes Of Reggae In Dub
THE SKATALITES
5.00 | 1 ratings
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THE SKATALITES The Legendary Skatalites In Dub Album Cover The Legendary Skatalites In Dub
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5.00 | 1 ratings
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MATERIAL Hallucination Engine Album Cover Hallucination Engine
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4.41 | 3 ratings
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JAH WOBBLE Heaven & Earth Album Cover Heaven & Earth
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4.50 | 1 ratings
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EKSTASIS Wake Up and Dream Album Cover Wake Up and Dream
EKSTASIS
4.50 | 1 ratings
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BILL LASWELL Imaginary Cuba Album Cover Imaginary Cuba
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4.50 | 1 ratings
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THE SKATALITES Rolling Steady The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions Album Cover Rolling Steady The 1983 Music Mountain Sessions
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MONTY ALEXANDER Harlem-Kingston Express Live! Album Cover Harlem-Kingston Express Live!
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Born to Dub You
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AUGUSTUS PABLO
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Underwater Dub
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Bless Up
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ERNEST RANGLIN
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Addis To Omega
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DUB COLOSSUS
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dub fusion Music Reviews

JAH WOBBLE Jah Wobble & Bill Laswell ‎: Radioaxiom – A Dub Transmission

Album · 2001 · Dub Fusion
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When their careers first began, it was hard not to notice the almost doppelganger like similarities between bassists Jah Wobble and Bill Laswell. Both came up through the late 70s post-punk scene, both featured a deep dub influenced sound, and both were pioneers in the growing art of self produced home recording. I’m sure they noticed the similarities because it wasn’t long before they began to work together on some projects, including “Radio Axiom a Dub Transmission”, one of their best. This album features the sort of dub influenced groove music you would expect from these two, but this time around they took the time to build something very special, not the easy ‘dub by numbers’ productions that these two can sometimes be guilty of. The difference is in the rhythms, fortunately Bill and Jah assembled a top crew of percussionists led by dub drum master Sly Dunbar, instead of relying on simple looped beats, something that has marred some of Laswell’s past albums in particular. This polyrhythmic foundation is topped with an all-star cast that includes space jazz trumpeters Graham Haynes and Nils Petter Molvaer, Nicky Skopelitis’ always perfect guitar textures, North African vocalists on a few numbers and subtle keyboards throughout.

The rhythms on here vary from straight up dub to a that sort of Jamaican/breakbeat rhythm that was made popular by The English Beat and The Police. Although there are outside influences, this album maintains the stoic integrity of a true dub record with no cuts standing out as incongruous sore thumbs. The flow from song to song is excellent as the rhythms vary enough to be interesting, but never enough to mar the album’s overall continuity. Both Laswell and Wobble have been guilty of ‘phoning it in’ before, but not this time around, “Radioaxiom” features a careful and precise production that ranks it near the top in the cluttered and over crowded field of modern jazzy dub music.

BILL LASWELL Bass Terror (with Nicholas James Bullen)

Split · 1994 · Dub Fusion
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In the early 90s, breakthroughs in digital technology caused the cost of professional recording equipment to drop drastically to the point that almost anyone with a steady gig could get a digital recorder, something to loop or create beats with and a CD burner and become a one person recording studio and CD production company. This increase in easy homemade product led to an increased interest in digitally produced beat oriented electronic music, or what became known as “electronica”. Some of this music was interesting at first, but soon this world of easy access and production fielded endless repetitive and simple homemade beats and sounds. When I first bought Bill Laswell and Nicholas Bullen’s CD, “Bass Terror”, back in the day, it was a mildly interesting piece of electro fluff, but it soon proved to be the tip of the iceberg for tons of other quickly slapped together projects put together by thousands of artists around the world.

“Bass Terror” isn’t a terrible CD, and may prove interesting to some, but revisiting it makes you realize how quickly this sort of quick-n-easy project became antiquated. For a little background, this CD is not a joint effort, but instead includes one track by Bill Laswell, a pre-electronica leader in self-made product, and two tracks by Nicholas Bullen, who helped create grindcore with his bandmates in Napalm Death. The title, “Bass Terror”, is misleading as there is nothing particularly scary going on here unless you are afraid to fall asleep.

The lengthy opening track by Laswell opens up okay with a fun groovy bass riff backed with a drumnbass looped track that sounds ancient by today’s standards. Bill dubs in some Bootsy style flanged pops on the bass and this track has its moments in a kitsch retro kind of way but soon wanders into rambling preacher samples and ambient drift. Southern preachers may be amusing to a “sophisticated” New Yorker like Laswell, but its fairly mundane and un-amusing to those from a less “cosmopolitan” background.

The two following tracks by Bullen alternate repetitive slow simple sluggish hip-hop/rock unchanging four beat loops with quiet industrial ambient dronish noise. The quiet noise sections are well done, and I would imagine the beats were made dull and simple on purpose, but still, those kind of repeating four beat patterns became both overdone and obsolete very quickly.

BILL LASWELL Dub Chamber 3

Album · 2000 · Dub Fusion
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Bill Laswell’s “Dub Chamber 3” was the third installment in Bill’s ongoing “Sacred System” series. Bill’s approach to dub music has not always brought an enthusiastic response from hardcore fans of the genre. Although Laswell’s music has the nice sounds and all the pretty outer trappings of a modern dub recording, the real meat and potatoes of dub-wise rhythms and melodies are not here. Instead, what we have on “Dub Chamber 3” is more of a trip-hop, ambient down-tempo bass-heavy groove topped with perfectly timed electronics, long trumpet tones and occasional funky Fender Rhodes. When taken as a dub influenced trip-hop piece, this CD stands out in a field dominated with mediocrity and boring repetition. Call it what you like, there is some very nice music on here, and far more musical development than your average down-tempo disc.

Laswell assembled an all-star cast for this recording, including some major pioneers in the world of dub influenced nu jazz including; Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet, Nicky Skopelitis on guitar and the great Jah Wobble on bass on one cut. Craig Taborn’s occasional short electric piano solos also help add interest. The first two cuts are built around somewhat repetitious and common sounding hip-hop drum loops, but are layered with some very imaginative soundscapes. On the third cut, “Devil Syndrome”, the rhythm goes into a double time drive that seems at odds with the rest of the CD. From a rhythmic standpoint, the best cut is the fourth and lengthy closer, “A Screaming Comes Across the Sky”. On this one Laswell breaks out an old school drum machine and programs some very interesting and odd broken up sparse beats that ramble on forever while the music goes through some very interesting changes. Too bad all of the tracks on this CD could not be as musical as this one, its a gem.

Although some of the rhythms on here may seem a bit pedestrian to hardcore dub fans, the sounds and musical phrases layered on these beats are top notch. Bill is a master of the studio and his effects are perfectly timed to build a careful ambient atmosphere that often has a somber and almost religious feel to it. Much credit should also go to the beautiful guitar playing of Nicky Skopelitis, a major pioneer in today’s atmospheric approach to guitar. Nu jazz trumpet ace Nils Petter Molvaer is a natural for Laswell’s sense of timing and texture, and his long mournful tones add to the mix on two cuts.

Fans of trip-hop, ambient down-tempo and early nu jazz will find a lot to like here, this disc is far more interesting than most, and the closing cut is a masterpiece of the genre. Fans of Laswell’s work in this area may also want to check out “Hallucination Engine”, possibly Bill’s best album in this style. Those who are using this as a gateway to true dub music will want to check out the late 70s recordings of King Tubby, Scientist and Prince Jammy.

SCIENTIST Dubbin With Horns (Meets Roots Radics)

Album · 1996 · Dub Fusion
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To the casual listener, the relationship between jazz and dub roots reggae may not be obvious other than that both are based on African rhythms, but the very origins of ska/rock steady/reggae were created by Jamaican jazz musicians. In Jamaica, during the early 60s, out of work jazz and RnB musicians began to find steady employment playing the new ska beat, and brought with them the horn charts and rhythmic riffs from their previous work as jazzmen. Over the years ska gave way to reggae, but the jazz musicians were still part of this scene. In the late 70s engineer/mixer King Tubby assembled some of Jamaica’s finest musicians and began to record experimental psychedelic instrumental records that became known as dub. Fast forward a few more years and now his most talented protégé, a young man named Scientist, has taken the controls for even more creative dub adventures.

Although the release date says 1996, “Dubbin with Horns” was recorded during the late 70s, which is a good thing because modern dub has lost its roots and has been infiltrated with hip-hop, techno, crackaeton and crack-step. There are a lot of great late 70s dub records out there, but this one is especially good. The sound on here is pure gold, deep and heavy with just the right reverb around the horns to make them sound massive. Don’t expect jazz solos from the horn players, they just stick to their riffs, but every riff is the perfect addition to the riddims laid down by the Roots Radics. There are so many great tunes on here, but one favorite is “Nuh Brother Fight”, based on the majestic sounds of what is often called the “Stagalog” riddim, the horns sound like an African procession and Scientist interjects perfectly timed echoes and breaks. The deep bass on this cut will definitely test your sub-woofer.

Fans of late 70s dub should pick this one up, in a genre loaded with great recordings, this one is a slight cut above the rest.

AUGUSTUS PABLO East Of The River Nile

Album · 1978 · Dub Fusion
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“East of the River Nile” is not your typical dub record. Instead of the usual bare-bones arrangements doctored with echo and sound treatments, keyboardist Augustus Pablo give us a straight ahead instrumental reggae album that features layers of classic analog keyboards. It’s the sound of the layered electronic keyboards that makes this one different from the usual dub crowd, and gives it something more in common with 70s psychedelic keyboard jazz albums like Les McCann’s “Layers” or exotic instrumental art-rockers like Bo Hanson. The groovy electronic albums of Les Baxter and Denny Martin might come to mind, and Pablo’s way of doubling the clavinet and string synthesizer for melodies sounds a lot like Bernie Worrel’s signature work with Parliament/Funkadelic. This is the dub record that crosses over into that special 70s genre of the instrumental multi-keyboardist album, released back when eager fans of multi-stacked keyboard setups would search the backs of album covers to see how many cool keyboards were being used.

Another thing that helps Augustus Pablo standout from the dub crowd is his gift for melody. “East of the River Nile” is full of well developed tunes that draw on 60s art-pop and movie type themes which are creatively arranged with Pablo’s arsenal of keyboards. Every song has a unique sound pallet and color. Although fans of classic dub reggae are probably already well aware of this one, “Nile” should also have a lot of cross-appeal to collectors of exotic instrumentals and rare groove.

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