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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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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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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SLIVOVITZ Liver Album Cover Liver
SLIVOVITZ
4.79 | 3 ratings
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BILL FRISELL Have a Little Faith Album Cover Have a Little Faith
BILL FRISELL
4.56 | 9 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
PAUL MOTIAN
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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BOBBY PREVITE The Coalition of the Willing Album Cover The Coalition of the Willing
BOBBY PREVITE
4.51 | 7 ratings
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KAZUTOKI UMEZU Eclecticism Album Cover Eclecticism
KAZUTOKI UMEZU
4.52 | 4 ratings
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PAUL MOTIAN Paul Motian Trio: It Should Have Happened a Long Time Ago Album Cover Paul Motian Trio: It Should Have Happened a Long Time Ago
PAUL MOTIAN
4.48 | 4 ratings
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MASADA 50⁴ (Electric Masada) Album Cover 50⁴ (Electric Masada)
MASADA
4.48 | 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

VLADIMIR CHEKASIN Second Siberian Concert

Live album · 1994 · Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
Sax player/multi-instrumentalist Vladimir Chekasin was my very first experience listening jazz live. As undergraduate university student in 1981 or 1982 I felt some initial interest to jazz even if my strong prerogatives were Black Sabbath (going) and The Stranglers(coming). I lived in same town with famous free jazz Ganelin trio and when trio's member announced his solo concert in my university Aula I just decided to give the jazz a chance.

This evening changed my life, not less.It looked there were even no air to breath in overcrowded old building's hall with high wooden doors and white columns. Students and younger professors waited for something... unexpected. And it happened - Chekasin played quite emotive solo gig using circular breathing techniques, simultaneously playing of two saxophones and free improvisation against strange electronic device, kind of early analogue modulator/synthesizer. Fortunately for newcomers as I was, Chekasin's music was far from formal, it contained lot ot tunes snippets, emotive soloing and strange rhythms what made it surprisingly accessible.

At the end of the night I didn't realize (as many others sitting and standing near me in a hall) what it was - we just evidenced highest class musical shamanism session we had never saw in our lives. From that day I started visiting jazz concerts more often but it still took two decades to start listening jazz recordings.

"Second Siberian Concert" is recorded just a few years later in Novosibirsk - largest Siberian academic city, and till now it stays a last recording evidence of Chekasin musicianship as leader. He still plays time to time but concentrates mostly on jazz education in Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater and leading excellent student's Big Band.

The quartet recorded contains of Chekasin, playing plenty of reeds (obviously using simultaneously playing techniques since there are no other reeds player on board and one can hear different reeds played at the same time),analogue synth and occasionally piano; Romania-born Vilnius-based keyboardist Oleg Molokoedov (piano,analogue keys,synth) and local rhythm section - bassist Sergey Panasenko and drummer Sergey Belichenko.

The year is 1985 and synthesizers (especially in jazz, and more precise - in Soviet jazz!) still look like extreme modernism so no strange whole music is heavily overloaded with their sounds. Synths are still analogue so their sound doesn't attack listener's nerves as later time plastic electronics but still great Chekasin's sax soloing and two-reeds interplay too often disappears without significant traces in that wall of synth sounds.

Three compositions (two long and one - two-minute short) are mostly improvised but contain plenty of composed sources incl. popular swing tunes,themes from ballet,Slavic folklore elements and circus marches. Sound quality is only average though.

Released in 1994 only, after Soviet Union finished existing, this album has been never well known or widely distributed. Now available on bandcamp as digital download, it represents nice opportunity to hear one of the most interesting innovative artist of the region. Not a best artist's work for sure, it still is a valuable evidence in Chekasin's far not so umerous discography.

CHRISTIAN SCOTT (CHRISTIAN SCOTT ATUNDE ADJUAH) The Emancipation Procrastination

Album · 2018 · Eclectic Fusion
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js
Duke Ellington’s musical allegory “A Drum is a Woman”, was a clever story that foretold jazz’s future as a musical style that would adapt to every culture on the globe, and even go to outer space, but no matter how far jazz may wander and change, its strength and substance comes from returning to the music of Africa. Drawing upon the rhythms of Africa, as well as African tendencies in hip-hop and Detroit techno, Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah continues to add new vitality to the world of jazz fusion with his latest album, “The Emancipation Procrastination“. Scott’s been on his hybrid style for a while now, so if you are familiar with his last couple albums, then you may know what to expect here, well composed melodies over abstract beats that combine Africa, hip-hop, drumnbass and techno all orchestrated with subtle and tasteful electronics and effects.

Along with Scott, another star soloist on here is flautist Elena Pinderhughes. Most of us probably don’t usually think of strength when describing a flute player, but Elena’s playing carries more strength than we would normally associate with the flute. Her solos and orchestrations are a big plus on “Ruler Rebel (re-mix)”, “Ashes of Our Forever” and “The Cypher”. Other notable sidemen include Braxton Cook on saxophone and Lawrence Fields on keyboards. A host of others help out on bass, guitar, drums, percussion and electronics. Much of the music on, “Emancipation” stays in the aforementioned styles that Scott has become known for, but towards the end of this album comes two lengthy tracks that get into more of a sweaty energetic freeform fusion work out. These two closing numbers make for a nice contrast given the length of the entire CD.

SLIVOVITZ Liver

Live album · 2017 · Eclectic Fusion
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kev rowland
Slivovitz are back with their fourth album, which has been made available in multiple formats: HD Download (24bit/88.2khz WAV, FLAC, M4A, MP3-320) and CD (rigid cardboard Mini LP gatefold style packaging, on MoonJune, in collaboration with Audio Anatomy, Poland) and LP - 180 gram vinyl (released in a limited quantity on the Italian vinyl only label SoundFly). Recorded live on May 27th, 2016 at Casa di Alex (Milan), here we have the same line-up that recorded the previous studio album, with material being taken from both ‘All You Can Eat’ and ‘Bani Ahead’. As one would expect from these guys, they have taken the original material and have kept it incredibly tight, but have also allowed themselves to expand and take it into new directions.

These guys are at one with the music, and at one with each other. Yes there is a great deal of structure, there needs to be when the music is as complex as this, yet there is also plenty of room for individual expression. Marcello Giannini allows himself to turn his amp up just that little bit more, using distortion to create a backdrop where he can sit and let the others take the lead, or provide just that little bit of edge. One of the highlights of the set is “Cleopatra Through”, where the guys do allow Riccardo Villari to demonstrate his skills with the violin, and one can feel/hear them all champing at the bit waiting to make their presence felt. It is almost like a pack of wolves, they all want to demonstrate that they are the alpha, but let the others strut their stuff first. The restraint being displayed by all of them is quite considerable, but the music as a whole is always more important than any single individual, and they know when it is time not to play, when it is time to support, and when it is time to just let loose the hounds and go full blast into the dark night. Music likes this takes on an additional edge when in the live environment, and if you have yet to approach these guys, then this is the pl;ace to start.

SLIVOVITZ All You Can Eat

Album · 2015 · Eclectic Fusion
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kev rowland
Some four years on from their second album ‘Bani Ahead’, this the Italian masters of progressive gypsy electro-eclectic jazz returned in 2015 with ‘All You Can Eat’. As with their previous album. this is again fully instrumental, primarily because there is just no room at all for any vocals. They just wouldn’t fit! Yet again there had been a slight line-up change, with bassist Domenico Angarano making way for Vincenzo Lamagna. Here is band that is continuing to push the boundaries of progressive jazz rock, taking the likes of Zappa into areas that even he hadn’t thought of. Ricccardo Villari (electric and acoustic violin) has obviously been heavily influenced by the great Stéphane Grappelli, but whereas he normally only had to battle against a guitarist (admittedly he made his career working opposite one of the greatest of all time), here we also have a sax player, a trumpeter, plus Derek Di Perri on harmonica. Derek isn’t a blues wailer either, he is short and sharp, tying in the rest of the brass to provide a structured wall for the others to play against.

There are times when the guys are languid, structured, layered, all taking their time to add their touches to the music, while at others they are battling, with the brass and violin competing against the electric guitar to see who can be the most dominant and have major impact. Then behind it all Salvatore Rainone is keeping it all together on the drums, and Vincenzo has a wonderfully warm bass sound and feel that provides the foundation for the others. The title suggests that there is room here for over-indulgence, and the musicians, both individually, and collectively, do push proceedings well into the realm of excess, allowing themselves the joy complex arrangements and dramatic compositional shifts and transitions, until they are finally satiated and there just isn’t space for another morsel. Moonjune Records keep releasing amazing albums by fine artists, and this is yet another.

HASHIMA The Haywain

Album · 2017 · Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
Serbians Hashima debuted two years ago with album which sounded like chamber rock band play fusion, with precisely composed and executed songs and calculated sound. The only imperfection in their music was very static,almost academic take on jazz/rock, the music which by its origin is dynamic and vibrant.

Now, two years after, they return with their second release - Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch's "The Haywain" inspired work which seriously differs from their debut. Dark and pessimistic as Northern European painter's art, Hashima's music is low-tempo and liquid, but contains lot of internal energy and sharpness. Closest example are Finnish Black Motor playing avant-garde jazz like if they were blues-rooted heavy metal power trio. Still Hashima music's roots are quite different and on "The Haywain" they sound more like unusual post-rock quartet with double bassist and tenor sax player on board playing avant-garde jazz.

The opener (and longest album's song) "Dance No.3" is a true bomb. Spiced with Portuguese rising star Susana Santos Silva trumpet vibrato soling (which surprisingly adds more Balkan feel to music then rest of the band) it blows your minds away. Everyone familiar with Nordic project "Angles" music can think about "Dance No.3" as minimalist "Angles'" hit with better controlled emotional coloring, like walking on the edge but never crossing the danger border.(Susana Santos Silva's fans have possibility to see her as part of probably best European progressive big band Fire! Orchestra just a few month ago; Angles and Fire! Orchestra both have some same musicians on board).

Rest of the album is played by quartet themselves and without free trumpet solos they become even slower,darker and more...chamber. Similarly as on their debut, music here develops as on rock and not a jazz album. Songs all are perfectly composed and precisely played/recorded, just rhythm/melody changes right in the middle of any composition without even a trace of preparation for such a change moves all music somewhere towards modern avant-garde field. Still, all components are such melodic and never too long-lasting, that quite complex music in whole sounds as good contemporary avant-rock album (think Kayo Dot) rather than the avant-garde jazz one.

There even are a shredding guitar sounds and thunder-like drums dueling with tenor sax, and whole album lasts just forty minutes - as good rock album from the times when good rock albums still existed (and we all know that it was such times when music has been released on vinyl since CDs were just something from futurologists dreams). Guys don't try to demonstrate technical abilities or speed at all, music sounds quite simple (but is far not so simple!), but at the end of the day I felt like I'm back in 70s and just listened to my another new great rock album.

Is jazz a new rock in 2017? I am not sure but I can seriously recommend "The Haywain" to open ears progressive rock fans unsuccessfully trying to find a new King Crimson during last two or three decades.

Not really a jazz album (from jazz purists point of view), this is the music I listened again and again last few days and one of the biggest discovery of last years. Balkans' jazz has their heroes from now.

P.S. And - I imagine that Hashima and Susana Santos Silva's whole common album could be a great thing as well!

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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