Eclectic Fusion

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Fusion was a term coined in the early 70s to designate a style of music that involved a combination of jazz, rock, funk and Latin styles. In the 80s a new style of fusion emerged that sometimes utilized those elements, but also turned to current musical developments such as punk, thrash metal, rap/hip-hop, neo-surf and diverse ethnic music such as klezmer, polka, Bulgarian wedding music and more. At JMA we call this 80s based fusion music, Eclectic Fusion. The Eclectic Fusion artist tends to be a bit more urban and hard edged than the 70s fusion artist, and is liable to call on a much more diverse array of influences. These artists can also be more prone towards an avant-garde and/or deconstructionist approach to their creations.

Some precedents to the Eclectic Fusion genre can be found in Miles Davis' "Black Magus" and Ornette Coleman's "Dancing in Your Head". Possibly the first full realization of Eclectic Fusion can be found in John Zorn's Naked City band. Other popular practitioners of Eclectic Fusion include Sax Ruins, Electric Masada, Panzerballet, Raoul Bjorkenheim's Krakatau, Led Bib, The Thing and Kazutoki Umezu.

eclectic fusion top albums

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LIBERATION PROPHECY Last Exit Angel Album Cover Last Exit Angel
LIBERATION PROPHECY
5.00 | 2 ratings
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SONNY SHARROCK Ask the Ages Album Cover Ask the Ages
SONNY SHARROCK
4.65 | 11 ratings
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MASADA At The Mountains Of Madness (Electric Masada) Album Cover At The Mountains Of Madness (Electric Masada)
MASADA
4.83 | 3 ratings
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CURLEW Bee Album Cover Bee
CURLEW
4.83 | 3 ratings
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CURLEW Live In Berlin Album Cover Live In Berlin
CURLEW
4.83 | 3 ratings
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DONNY MCCASLIN
4.95 | 2 ratings
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4.67 | 3 ratings
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PAUL MOTIAN The Paul Motian Trio at the Village Vanguard Album Cover The Paul Motian Trio at the Village Vanguard
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4.75 | 2 ratings
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PAUL MOTIAN Paul Motian Trio: Sound of Love Album Cover Paul Motian Trio: Sound of Love
PAUL MOTIAN
4.75 | 2 ratings
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4.50 | 8 ratings
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4.47 | 10 ratings
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KAZUTOKI UMEZU Eclecticism Album Cover Eclecticism
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4.52 | 4 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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eclectic fusion Music Reviews

LE REX Escape of the Fire Ants

Album · 2019 · Eclectic Fusion
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kev rowland
It is safe to say there are few bands quite like Le Rex. While there are many who are challenging existing musical forms there can be few who can be said to be attacking quite like this. For a start, I can’t think of another band who have a line-up quite like this, as we have alto saxophonist Benedikt Reising, tenor saxophonist Marc Stucki, trombonist Andreas Tschopp, tuba player Marc Unternährer and drummer Rico Baumann. Yes, you read that correctly, four horns and a drummer, no guitar, bass or piano in sight, and of course no room whatsoever for a singer. Although arguably it can be said that the tuba does sometimes play the role of a bass as it anchors the bottom end of the sound, it is far more common for Unternährer to be a key part of the melody and there are times when he takes on the lead role.

Although jazz is the starting point, on the way to the end Le Rex are actually incredibly progressive in their outlook as they bring their eclectic bent into songs which are always fascinating and interesting, moving in directions one can rarely fathom: there is no way to predict what is going to happen next. But these are all songs as opposed to improvisations, and originally were scored, although the band rehearsed them so they could play them live in the studio without reference. When I play this, I have discovered that sometimes my ear is following one particular musician through the threads, at others I am jumping between them, and others when I open my mind and try to take it all in at once. Interwoven, complex and complicated, one would imagine that this might be a hard album to listen to, but nothing could be further from the truth as it is such a delight from beginning to end. I can imagine fans of the likes of Art Zoyd getting as much from this as those who would consider themselves to be more traditional jazz lovers as opposed to prog. Yet another great release from Cuneiform Records, so glad they are back on the scene.

THE COMET IS COMING Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

Album · 2019 · Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
London new jazz scene leader Shabaka Hutchings "space jazz" project The Comet Is Coming's second studio album. Not really a Sun Ra legacy-based, more Can/Magma/nu jazz minimalist hybrid played by sax/keys/drums trio.

Mostly a mid-tempo tuneful compositions with absolute domination of heavy analog synth passages (and massive studio post-production). Repetitive structures with almost militaristic marching rhythm on every song recall early 70s prog rock more then any form of jazz. Still Shabaka's (who uses King Shabaka scenic name when playing with Comet...) tenor sax soloing over the main sound flow (quite aggressive, pushing the sound ahead, with few free longish moments) and rare spacey electronic effects build some bridges with eclectic jazz scene of our time.

Obviously oriented more to prog fans, album's music still contains moment or two for Shabaka Hutchings fans.

SLIVOVITZ LiveR

Live album · 2017 · Eclectic Fusion
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js
Possibly the best fusion band you’ve never heard of, Slivovitz is one of those groups that deserves much wider recognition. Although they started out as an eclectic rock band with fusion leanings, over the years, and through a change-up in the rhythm section, Slivovitz has blossomed into a full blown fusion outfit that can go toe to toe and blow for blow with anybody. This latest album that includes live recordings from 2016 finds the band hitting new peaks and finalizing their status as current fusion heavyweights. All of the tunes on “LiveR” come from their previous two studio albums, but here they are given new life as the band has grown at a rapid rate. Although all of their music more or less falls under the broad umbrella of fusion, their eclectic tendencies remain intact as they perform complex arrangements that draw from funk, prog, the Middle East, blues rock and more.

One of the more striking aspects to Slivovitz is their sound. With a front line ‘horn’ section that includes harmonica, sax, trumpet and violin, they obviously aren’t going to sound like anyone else. It is an entirely un-slick sound, pleasingly raw and ragged, and with their penchant for melodies from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, they can often sound ‘gypsy’ like. Slivovitz can also use all of these instruments to make interesting orchestrations, which they often do while indulging their appreciation for fast changing prog rock style arrangements. This is a live album and everyone gets plenty of solo room and many of the intense solos are the highlight of the record, particularly the rides by saxophonist, Pietro Santangelo.

Album opener “Mai Per Comando” is a top track with its upbeat punk funk reminiscent of the early days of Bill Laswell’s Material. “Currywurst” features JB’s style funk in a somewhat frantic and slightly fractured mode. “Negative Creep” is actually the Nirvana song and Slivovitz plays it hard and heavy in that same style. “Caldo Bagno” is a bonus track that features a burning distorted guitar solo from Marcello Giannini.

ANDREA MORELLI Both People

Album · 2019 · Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
You don't need to speak Italian to understand what Both People album's opener is about. "La danza dell'elefante" composed by sax player Andrea Morelli and played with lot of enthusiasm by this Sardinian quintet will make dancing even elephants.

Three sax players (alto,soprano/tenor and baritone)plus muscular rhythm section consisting of electric bassist and rock-heavy drummer just released an excellent album covering some jazz epochs, from free-bop to eclectic crossover of avant-garde jazz and rock of nowadays.

Already mentioned above "Elephant Dance" is catchy tuneful song where three saxists playing unison push music ahead as if they are trying to bypass groovy rhythm section. Perfectly recorded,with crispy and spacey warm sound, this composition is a real hit and I am sure it will stay in your head for the rest of the day.

"Rhythm no changes" changes the intensity of sound towards more loose and relaxed modern free-bop where three saxes soloing against each other build beautiful and surprisingly accessible sound castles over anchoring bassist and drummer interplay.

"Playing is a little bit like fishing" sounds as partially dreamy (but way not sleepy) collective improvisation where is enough space not only for reedists' but for drummer and bassist soloing as well. Still it's a groovy bass which controls the music from being chaotic or loose. As a result we got quite a graceful composition of fragile beauty - really not very casual case speaking about free improvisations.

"Spring time" demonstrates more complex structure with regular rhythm changes and lot of sax free soloing, probably first albums song dedicated more to listener's head than his heart.

"Host ones" is a shortest album's composition and it fits well to be paired with the opener as "elephant ballet" second action's possible soundtrack.

Alto sax player Fabio Delvò another album's composition (after "Spring Time") - "Flying over the ocean" - is down tempo complex structure's one, with lot of space for soloing of each quintet member.

"Amazing (Sahel's crossing)" - a collective improvisation which closes the album - it's a down tempo composition with touch of sadness and North African scent from last few seconds soloing bass.It's understandable final - whole album is announced as "a recording project against the rampant racism of this historical period", and the Sahel is a transition zone between Sudan and Arabic Africa, former French colonies and one of the hot areas in Africa.

Add excellent sound recording and mix plus CD's box paper cover's high quality of printing, voilà - you have a great album, another good example of what is known as "best from Italy".

MAKAYA MCCRAVEN Universal Beings

Album · 2018 · Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
"Universal Beings", a massive double album and the result of four gigs recorded material, heavily reworked in a studio, is a genre-defying album of sort. Depending on starting point, the music here could be tagged as hip-hop with jazz elements or jazz- hip hop. French-born Chicago-based drummer Makaya McRaven himself calls it “organic beat music".

Four different bands played gigs in four world's large music centers (all-acoustic) and the resulting tapes have been digitally processed,looped and mixed in studio. Differently from more conventional clubbing music of this kind, original live material (with lot of improvisations) gives very new quality to the final sound - the music being quite flexible and liquid sounds surprisingly "lively".

New York side is recorded with harpist Brandee Younger, cellist Tomeka Reid, vibraphonist Joel Ross, and bassist Dezron Douglas. Strings-dominated band plays tuneful and quite soulful mid-tempo fusion with world elements and lot of ambient. Chicago side is radically different with London new jazz scene's leader tenor Shabaka Hutchings on forefront.More raw sound and lot of sax soloing in combination with characteristic Afro-beat and repetitive hip hop structures makes it sounding not much different from Hutchings own more organic projects as Sons Of Kemet or Shabaka and the Ancestors.Cellist Tomeka Reid who plays on New York side as well produces here some sound which could be mistakenly indicated as analog synth on the background in the moments.

London side is not much different from Chicago's.Probably the reason is another rising name from London scene's - tenor Nubia Garcia sounding often as Pharoah Sanders on his spiritual jazz albums. Los Angeles side contains dominating Jeff Parker guitars sound adding lot of blood to music (plus Josh Johnson on alto, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson on violin, Carlos Niño on percussion and very physical acoustic bassist Anna Butterss). Groovy fusion with exotic rhythms and some beautiful tunes.

All-together hour-and-half long album doesn't lasts long, always changing instrumentation,rhythms and arrangements make it one beautiful soundtrack to second decade of new century modern jazz scene's non-existing documentary. Newbies seeking for short but informative introduction to most modern jazz of today are in a right place choosing this album.

eclectic fusion movie reviews

MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Fly In A Bottle

Movie · 2011 · Eclectic Fusion
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js
“Fly in a Bottle” is a documentary that follows Medeski, Martin and Wood while they are on tour developing the music that will become “Radiolarians”, as well as some of the recording sessions for that same album. The music on here is excellent, MM&W have a come a long way over the years. They were always a talented band from the start, but their confidence has grown. The funky tunes are funkier than ever, and the psychedelic jazz-rock tunes are more powerful, imaginative and original. Almost any music fan might enjoy watching their concerts and even some of their recording sessions, but a lot of the rest of this DVD is for hardcore fans only.

Along with the footage of MM&W playing music, you also get a lot of footage of them on tour visiting ecological tourist spots and talking, hanging out etc, which is where I think a lot of non-fans will probably start losing interest. They seem like nice sincere guys, but they aren’t particularly entertaining or charismatic, which is often the case with nice sincere guys. There are also some artsy short videos that follow the main feature, some more entertaining than others. Fans of MM&W may want to pick this up, it’s a well-made video and the music is excellent, but non-fans may find this lacking in substance in places.

Artists with Eclectic Fusion release(s)

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