Fusion

Jazz music community with review and forums

Rock and RnB came from jazz in the 1940s via the jump blues genre. Needless to say, over the years jazz, rock and RnB have enjoyed a close relationship and have cross-influenced each other from the beginning. In the mid to late 60s, rock and RnB under went major changes with rock becoming much louder and more experimental under the influence of artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Cream, while RnB became more syncopated and abstract with the new funk sound created by James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Sly Stone and Larry Graham. Meanwhile, Latin jazz was undergoing similar experimental changes under the guidance of artists such as Hermato Pascoal and Flora Purim.

At this point in the mid to late 60s, any intersection between jazz, rock, funk and Latin became a radically different form of music that eventually came to be called fusion. Pioneers in the world of fusion include Larry Coryell, Jermy Steig, Charles Lloyd, Jack DeJohnette, John McLaughlin, Tony Williams, Soft Machine, Brian Auger, Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea and Dreams (Billy Cobham and the Brecker Brothers)

fusion top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

MILES DAVIS In a Silent Way Album Cover In a Silent Way
MILES DAVIS
4.58 | 96 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Bitches Brew Album Cover Bitches Brew
MILES DAVIS
4.57 | 86 ratings
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MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA The Inner Mounting Flame Album Cover The Inner Mounting Flame
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA
4.57 | 66 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Crossings Album Cover Crossings
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.58 | 51 ratings
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BILLY COBHAM Shabazz Album Cover Shabazz
BILLY COBHAM
4.62 | 15 ratings
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MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Birds of Fire Album Cover Birds of Fire
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA
4.47 | 66 ratings
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EDDIE HENDERSON Realization Album Cover Realization
EDDIE HENDERSON
4.62 | 12 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Dark Magus: Live at Carnegie Hall Album Cover Dark Magus: Live at Carnegie Hall
MILES DAVIS
4.51 | 24 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time Album Cover Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time
MILES DAVIS
4.67 | 9 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Pangaea Album Cover Pangaea
MILES DAVIS
4.47 | 21 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Big Fun Album Cover Big Fun
MILES DAVIS
4.42 | 25 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Sextant Album Cover Sextant
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.39 | 38 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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fusion Music Reviews

XAVI REIJA The Sound Of The Earth

Album · 2018 · Fusion
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js
Lately there has been a sort of cult for free improvisation fusion bands developing within the MoonJune label, particularly among some of their more King Crimson offshoot oriented bands. The Crimson connection makes sense as it was the Fripp and Bruford version of the band that really began experimenting with the idea of a free form jazz rock jam, no chord progression, no pre-determined soloist, and no plan at all. The Hendrix Experience, Cream, The Allman Brothers and others had already made some noise in that direction, but it was Fripp and crew that set the bar for the ‘free rock’ jam. On “The Sound of the Earth”, drummer Xavi Rieja has put together a crew that is well suited for a jam like this with the versatile Dusan Jevtovic on guitar, King Crimson veteran Tony Levin on bass and Crimson ProjeKCt leader Markus Reuter on touch guitar. It helps that all four of these guys have worked with each other before in similar type bands, and the communication that comes from experience shows as they take on the tricky endeavor of making music without much of a blueprint.

Some of the best music on this CD goes down on the first three tracks, plus the first part of track four. Track 2, “The Sound of the Earth I” sounds like David Gilmour at his early 70s best, and “From Darkness” sounds like a beehive of interlocking math guitar riffs. On “The Sound of the Earth II”, the band displays the risks inherent in a free jam when Xavi changes the beat half way through and catches the band off guard and not sure what to do with the sudden change in beat. From here the guys continue through varying tracks that often deal with floating ambience and slow paced space rock. Track 7, “Lovely Place” is a bit of a surprise as the band goes into a chord progression borrowed from “Hotel California”, which Reuter uses as a backdrop for a soaring guitar solo.

What happens on “The Sound of the Earth” is pretty much what you could expect when a talented bunch of guys get together for a free form jam session, there are plenty of exhilarating moments of discovery, as well some time spent searching for the next hot idea, its bound to happen. If a modern heavy improv with a King Crimson flavor to it is your idea of a good time, you will not be disappointed in this one.

ALLISON MILLER Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom : Glitter Wolf

Album · 2019 · Fusion
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snobb
Perfectionist modern jazz album sounding as if it is a progressive rock one. First new(coming from 2019) release in my player with serious chance to win a place on year's top list.

Drummer Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom is a super-group of sort with varying line up and number of members but in all cases rooted around her,bassist Todd Sickafoose and violinist Jenny Scheinman. On different stages cellist Eric Friedlander and pianist Myra Melford were the members among others. "Glitter Wolf" is recorded by sextet improving core trio with pianist Myra Melford, cornetist Kirk Knuffke and clarinet player Ben Goldberg.

Tightly composed melodic and quite complex musical material is played by the band intensively gigging for two years - one can hear how perfectly they feel each other! Miller's drumming pushes well produced(under the hands of Ani DiFranco & Carly Simon producer Julie Wolf) songs ahead with muscular energy more common for rock albums. At the same time, all things happen under perfect control avoiding chaos or directionless development. There are no lyrics/vocals otherwise the album could be alternatively classified as excellent art-rock work. Each composition has it's own face, atmosphere and is precisely executed.

Differently from some modern jazz albums, "Glitter Wolf"(isn't the title sounding rockish?) successfully avoids sterile chamber/academic sound. It often sounds as your morning alternative music TV, all these young guys with beards singing their songs with guitars somewhere out of town at the sunrise...

It is jazz sounding as rock or just cross-genre music without formalism and repetitiveness, radiating positive energy - really rare thing our days. It must be heard!

ANDY SUMMERS World Gone Strange

Album · 1991 · Fusion
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Steve Wyzard
STRANGE INDEED!

It is an absolute crying shame that Andy Summers's late 1980s-early 1990s albums on the Private Music label are almost forgotten today. All four, though very different from each other, are exquisitely crafted and have stood the test of time very well. 1991's World Gone Strange, the last of the four, attracted some attention due to its special guests (Tony Levin, bass, Chad Wackerman, drums, Eliane Elias, piano/vocals, Mike Mainieri, marimba/producer), but was his last solo project until 1995's Synaesthesia.

For those who enjoyed the envelope-pushing sounds and atmospheres he added to the pop group that made him world-famous, you'll find plenty of that here. Summers has never been known as a "lead guitarist" per se, but World Gone Strange, more than any of his other work, features extensive amounts of his lucid, fluid soloing. A tangible blues influence makes itself known throughout, above and beyond "The Blues Prior to Richard". This is not just aimless studio noodling: the compositions and arrangements are rock solid, with the title track and "Oudu Kanjaira", with its distinct "eastern" feel, remaining in your head long after the album is over. Three percussionists add extra texture, and wordless vocals appear on a few tracks without becoming a major distraction.

"A little too erratic" and "Too jazz for rock, too rock for jazz" were undoubtably the general reactions to World Gone Strange at the time of release. If you are familiar with Summers's matchless style, there's nothing here that can't be easily assimilated and "figured out". This is not an inaccessible avant-garde work, just a headache for marketers who couldn't deal with a true artist who continued to grow, expand, and progress with each album he released. Highly recommended, even in the 21st century!

PHILLIP JOHNSTON Phillip Johnston & the Coolerators : Diggin' Bones

Album · 2018 · Fusion
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kev rowland
At the same time as releasing Johnston’s soundtrack album, Asynchronous are also releasing the debut album by Johnston with his band The Coolerators, a band he formed after moving to Australia in 2005. On this album he provides both soprano and alto saxophone, and he has been joined by Alister Spence (organ), Lloyd Swanton (bass) with Nick Cecire (drums). Here we have a band showing that when it comes to playing jazz and blues there is often an overlap, here brought together with a huge amount of swing and funk. Swanton and Cecire do their best to provide a structure for the other two to work on, and then stay out the way while also displaying their own wonderful musical ability. Cecire is the more flamboyant of the two, with an impressive work rate on different areas of the kit, but Swanton keeps it all tied down and doesn’t let the band get too out of control.

Given the way Johnston and Spence combine together, or against one another, mixing in multiple influences and styles that is indeed no mean task. The title song sounds influenced by South America, India, Morocco and the Middle East but somehow all comes together and makes sense as Spence allows Johnston to take a far more prominent role. Two albums released at the same time, but two very different styles indeed, and it is hard to say which one is better, so best say instead that they are both indeed well worth investigating.

RANDY WALDMAN Superheroes

Album · 2018 · Fusion
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js
As the story goes, apparently veteran arranger/pianist Randy Waldman was seated at an event next to Adam West, the original TV Batman, and the two got to talking about music and it turned out that West is a big jazz fan. That got Randy to thinking about the idea of a ‘jazz superhero’, which led to the rather unusual idea of cutting an album of superhero themes while utilizing the talents of some of Waldman’s “jazz superheroes”, in other words some of today’s top jazz musicians. Well I am sure many around Randy figured this was a crazy idea that would soon pass, but no, he was serious and he actually did cut the album, “SuperHeros”. You might expect something kind of silly or campy would come from such an unexpected tribute, but Waldman takes this project seriously, and the professionalism of the arrangements and performances back this up. Randy combines fusion, post bop, Latin and contemporary big band style arrangements to create his re-makes, and enlists some top artists including George Benson, Joe Lavano, Wynton Marsalis, Eddie Daniels and many more. The melodies and harmonies of the original TV and movie themes are heavily altered to fit a modern jazz style, and there is plenty of room in each chart for hot solos.

The first half of the CD centers around the more well known themes, and these cuts also receive the most ambitious arrangements, with a couple tracks featuring a 13 piece horn section. As the CD nears the end we get into some themes that are less well known such as the long forgotten Underdog and Super Chicken. Alas, the one theme that is missing is the jazzy one from “The Green Hornet”. Possibly the top track on “SuperHeroes” is “Spiderman Theme”, which features the always amazing vocals of Take 6 actually singing the original words while also providing interesting backgrounds for the solos. You get the feeling that Take 6 really are Spiderman fans finally getting a chance to sing about something that matters to them. Some other highlights include Marsalis’ time fooling elastic trumpet solo on “Batman Theme (TV)” and Eddie Daniel’s bebop ride on the insanely fast “Super Chicken Theme”. For the musician in the house, you will enjoy pointing out to people where the band uses the changes for “Giant Steps” for solos, and the fact that the TV Batman theme has the same changes as “Mr PC”.

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WEATHER REPORT Live in Germany 1971

Movie · 2010 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
Well if the world still has to find some live recording from the very first studio all-star line-up (not likely, though), at least we've got now something very close to and we can even see the quintet at work with this just-as-famous version in the form of a German TV show called the Beat Club. With only Airto Moreira gone, replaced by Brazilian countryman Um Romao, the other four being Vitous, Shorter, Mouzon and Zawinul, Weather Report embarked on this TV show adventure not knowing that Alphonse Mouzon would leave the band in a while.

As you'd expect this broadcast consisted mainly of tracks from the debut album, but some are fairly different as WR always made improvisation their force. So you'll recognize 'Umbrellas generic structure, but drafted fairly differently, not just because of Romao's constant change of percussions instruments - he's one of the visual focus of the group, who otherwise remains fairly static and even blows a flute (and later some whistles) for a short while. One of the big difference between the studio album and this broadcast is that Miroslav has taken up the electric bass (his contrabass is still very present but mainly played with a bow), thus allowing even more energy to invade the quintet's shared space. The group's steaming-hot improvised fusion is simply awesome and flows naturally from your speakers like a river of fresh lave spewing out from your volcanic woofers.

Clearly the gravitational centre of the band is Zawinul's Rhodes, but it is clear that it is the group's tightness its main force. Morning Lake is much needed breathing space, starting out slowly with Shorter's sax signalling the dawn for Romao's birdsongs. Just past that Dom pulls an Brazilian berimbau . Drummer Alphonse sings funkilly (rather well, too) a rare sung track in the closing medley, but it's will veer into the Dr Honoris Causa - later on the Body Electric album.

A while later, Mouzon would leave the band and be replaced by drummer Erik Gravatt and this line-up would go on to record Body Electric and the Tokyo concert (released in 77, but part of it in the ISTBE album) and in the process become the definitive line-up of the Vitous- era Weather Report But for now, this German TV broadcast is an inestimable witness of the group's almost original line-up, and is just as essential as their debut album, the Tokyo concert or Body Electric.Too bad it's relatively short, though. Run for this baby...

DIXIE DREGS Live At The Montreaux Jazz Festival

Movie · 2005 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
This was the Dixie Dregs lineup that I first come to know live and otherwise. The Montreaux Jazz Festival performance was used for side two of the LP Night of the Living Dregs. I had no idea the concert was filmed. This represents the band at their prime. Keyboardist Mark Parrish, would soon be replaced by T Lavitz, who is a better keyboard player, but this as this performance testifies, he was no slouch either. Oddly enough, the back cover of this DVD shows a band picture with the original keyboardist from Freefall, Steve Davidowski (guess there was only room for one Steve in this band). Steve Morse was at his most inspired around this time, even though he has certainly grown in skill over the years.

The set list is a little disappointing as it lacks some of the prime cuts from What If (Night Meets Light, Odyssey, Travel Tunes, What If), but I'm not complaining. Now I have something more than just memories of the many Dregs shows I saw back then. It is more of a forward looking set which includes Attila The Hun, that didn't show up on an album until three years later. Also of note, but of less interest to progressive rock fans, is the bluegrass style ditty, Kathreen, never released on a regular album, but only showed up on their demo album, The Great Spectacular, from 1975. If you have a copy of that album, you have something rare, indeed.

Thrown in for bonus are two live TV appearances, one on American Can'tstand (Bandstand) and one on Don Kirschner's Rock Concert. On the former, you get to see them both try out a vocalist, in an attempt to appeal to a more mainstream audience, and with Mark O'Connor, who only played with them for one album, but a few great live shows before the band disbanded for a few years.

As great as the band studio albums were, the live shows took things to an even higher level. Now you can see what you missed, unless you didn't.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Abstract Logix Live! / The New Universe Music Festival 2010

Movie · 2011 · Fusion
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js
Abstract Logix’s New Universe Festival of 2010 was probably one of the more significant fusion concerts in recent history, and it is all captured in excellent form on this concert video. Many of the top names in current fusion are here and what a great varied and colorful approach they all bring to this music that will always be associated with its 70s roots. Ranjit Barot fuses fusion with Indian flavors and orchestral music, Human Element bring back the beautiful noise and chaos that has been absent since the early days of jazz-rock, Wayne Krantz takes on the modern NYC flavor with his harsh jarring free funk, Jimmy Herring plays sentimental, sometimes delicate, progressive rock flavored fusion, and of course the great John McLaughlin rounds it all up with high speed post bop mixed with funk and contemporary fusion. Every single performance is top notch and very convincing in letting us know that there is still plenty of life left in this sometimes maligned genre.

The music on here is great, but the video itself is even better. Its amazing how far concert videos have come over the years. This one is clear as a bell and features lots of accurate close-ups of the musicians as they display their virtuoso skills. They say that fusion is a musician’s music, if that is the case, then this video is a great learning tool for the aspiring player. Much of the footage on here goes right to the source and features the musician’s hands as they work their scales and fret boards. Any aspiring fusionist can pick up a lifetime of high speed licks and extended technique by studying this video and even stop-starting it it frame by frame. Long gone are the days of vague camera angles from way far away and pointless shots of musicians grimacing while they play, this video is all about accuracy and showing you exactly how this music goes down. This is a spirited and enthusiastic concert and highly recommended for fans of modern fusion.

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Live At Montreux 74/84

Movie · 2007 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
The 1984 appearance of the MO was a lineup that didn't have any of the previous MO lineup of musicians except for John. Still there was a pretty impressive roster. Jonas Hellborg, on bass, steals the show. I suspect he's been rather influenced by Jaco at this point. Also, we also have Bill Evans, fairly fresh out of his stint saxing with Miles Davis. There's also a fine drummer, Danny Gottlieb, who'd played with Pat Metheny prior. Don't know much about Mitchell Forman. With John experimenting with the Synclavier Guitar so much, the keyboards are almost redundant in this ensemble. I had a hard time sitting through this at first. It definitely has that '80's taint, if you know what I mean. But I've warmed up to it. It's a bit like an attempt to return to the magic of the original lineup that doesn't quite get there. Still, if you judge it in the context of the time, it's not too bad.

I got this for one reason and one reason only, it was the two video bits from the Apocalypse lineup of Mahavishu Orchestra. Actually calling them bits isn't quite accurate. Wings of Karma and Hymn to Him are actually decently long pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had some actual orchestra musicians with them there at Montreaux. The first inkling I got that there was some live footage from this MO lineup was a poor quality video of Smile of the Beyond on a certain video clip web site many of us know of. It's very disappointing that we only get two clips from the show with video and the rest are audio only. I'm guessing the rest of the original footage has been lost. One can only hope that it will resurface. The performance is a bit more structured than the more compact MO's could be live, but that's to be expected due to the larger number of musician's involved. Still the core band does get to work in some improvisation, McLaughlin in particular.

This release is all in all a pleasant surprise for 2007, but there's more video out there from the older Mahavishu Orchestras, and I hope to see that material surface soon. It gets a four on the round up.

JEFF BECK Performing This Week...Live At Ronnie Scott's

Movie · 2008 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
Holy crap, there's a new Jeff Beck live DVD out there!.

...I thought as I saw this at the record store. This is why it's important to keep those local independent brick and mortar record stores open: you'll never know what you'll find browsing.

As near as I've been able to find out, Jeff Beck (THE Beck, not that other guy) hadn't been touring in a long time, but rather was sticking to special performances. To make up for it, sort of, he did a week's worth of shows at London's Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in late November 2007. I've never been there, but it looks a little large as some jazz clubs go but still reasonably intimate. I'm pretty sure you don't need binoculars to observe any performances there.

Jeff has assembled an interesting set of musicians, the oldest being Jeff himself (b. 1944), Vinnie Colaiuta (1956) on drums, Jason Rebello (1969) on keys, and Tal Wilkenfeld (1986) on bass. Vinnie I know best from association with Zappa, Jason's new to me but I found out has worked with Sting, Tal (new to the music scene) hails from Australia and judging from her performance she is someone to really keep your eye on. Guests appearances by Joss Stone, Imogen Heap, and Eric Clapton, heyyy.

The set list, not really the proper term as it must have been culled from all the shows, is an impressive collection of material spanning Jeff's career so far. Original stuff includes Beck's Bolero {is this not actually a cover?}, Led Boots, Scatterbrain, Angel, Blast From The East, Rollin' And Tumblin'. Also some nice covers thrown in for good measure including Eternity's Breath!, Cause We've Ended As Lovers {never really seemed like a cover to me}, People Get Ready, A Day In The Life, You Need Love). You also get some interviews as bonus material and the DVD booklet is a nice read. 21 tracks altogether, mixed in Dolby 5.1 and DTS surround sounds with a 16:9 video format, I might add.

Wish I was there but this is the next best thing. It's one hell of a way to experience one hell of a guitarist. It's a live assortment, but due the quality and quantity I am rounding this one up.

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