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
4.61 | 93 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Crossings Album Cover Crossings
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.62 | 49 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Bitches Brew Album Cover Bitches Brew
MILES DAVIS
4.57 | 81 ratings
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MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA The Inner Mounting Flame Album Cover The Inner Mounting Flame
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA
4.56 | 65 ratings
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BILLY COBHAM Shabazz Album Cover Shabazz
BILLY COBHAM
4.67 | 14 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

DOMINIQUE VANTOMME Vegir

Album · 2018 · Fusion
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kev rowland
Dominique Vantomme is a pianist, keyboardist, composer, band leader, music educator and producer, equally well known for his work with many European pop and rock acts as for being the jazz piano instructor at the Music Conservatory in Kortrijk, Belgium. In 2016 he travelled to Holland to see Stick Men, and after befriending the Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Stick Men plus, literally, countless others), they decided to record together. They were joined in the studio by guitarist Michel Delville (The Wrong Object; douBt; Machine Mass), and drummer Maxime Lenssens, and with Dominique providing the musical sketches, it was then just a case of everyone else settling down and letting the music take them wherever it needed to. The whole album was recorded in just one day in October 2016, and one can’t imagine this being a highly constructed and layered affair as the four musicians are just bouncing ideas off each other and seeing where they will go.

I have known of Michel Delville and his other bands for a number of years now, and here he is at the fractured best that I would expect of him. Tony is melodic, keeping things tight and mellow, while the drums keep playing ahead of the beat to drive things along while Tony holds into the leash. Then there is Dominique also keeping things in a melodic vein with fine organ, but Michel is out to take the music in quite a different direction, and it is the energy between the four as they ride the musical stallion and try to all keep it in the same direction although they all want to go off in different directions, that really makes this work. This is fusion and improvisational jazz working together to create something that is quite special.

DUŠAN JEVTOVIĆ Live At Home

Live album · 2018 · Fusion
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kev rowland
As is implied by the title, this live album was recorded at the Decije Pozorište in Dušan’s home city of Kragujevac in Serbia. While the rhythm section of Pera Krstajić (bass) and Pedja Milutinović (drums) keep everything nice and tight, it is the interplay between guitarist Dušan and keyboard player Vasil Hadžimanov which really set this album alight. Each of them are content to sit back and let the other take the spotlight, or to provide harmonies or full interplay as the need arises. The result is nothing short of colossal, as while fusion is at the very heart of what they are performing, it moves into many different territories including progressive, RIO, avant garde, post rock and so many others. Self-produced, a decision has been made to only have audience noise between the songs, keeping the music front and centre with no distractions and the sound that has been captured is quite superb.

Dušan creates many different moods and styles and can be dark and heavy, while Vasil uses much lighter piano and keyboard sounds to create a magical counterpoint so that the heavier music sounds even darker, with the lightness being refreshing and invigorating. This is music to get lost inside, something that really demands the use of headphones so that there are no external distractions. It is not easy music to listen to, but is intensely rewarding throughout, organic and real, a breathing living beast that isn’t going to be tamed and is always at the boundaries of what is acceptable, and never what is expected. So very good, in so many different ways, this is well worth exploring

DUŠAN JEVTOVIĆ Live At Home

Live album · 2018 · Fusion
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js
Its hard to know what to expect from a Dusan Jevtovic album, his music has veered from heavy noisy post rock to more fleet-fingered jazz fusion, depending on which album you are listening to. On his new live opus, “Live at Home”, Dusan brings all his different influences together and presents his strongest and most coherent musical statement yet. He is joined again by keyboardist Vasil Hadzimanov, who trades in the ivories on the last album for a funky Fender Rhodes which meshes better with Jevtovic’s distorted guitar sound. The rhythm section of bassist Pera Krstajic and drummer Pedja Milutinovic are first timers in the Dusan army, but they prove themselves up for the variety of fusion to rock rhythms. Vasil is also given more solo space this time around as he and Dusan share equally, and sometimes play duo solos.

“No Answer” from the previous album of the same name opens things and right off the bat you can hear this live version both rocks and swings better than the original, it really sounds like Jevtovik and his band are hitting their mark. The rest of the album doesn’t let up as there is plenty of free fusion with intense solos from both Dusan and Vasil, plus some rockin numbers too. Of the rockers, “Babe” sounds like an outtake from a mid-70s King Crimson album, and “New Pop” sounds like one of those good times 70s Jeff Beck numbers. Most of the rest of the album deals with freer jazz-fusion rhythms and solos, often with a Middle-Eastern or East-European influence. There is a short vocal love song that is kind of a surprise and no one is credited with vocals on the liner notes either.

This is Dusan Jevtovic’s best album yet. There are plenty of excellent jazz fusion solos backed by a very elastic and interesting rhythm section, plus there is also Dusan’s dark heavy psychedelic sounds too. Looks like he has found a way to balance his different interests.

MARK WINGFIELD Lighthouse

Album · 2017 · Fusion
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kev rowland
Recorded during the same sessions that resulted in the release of the highly critically acclaimed 'Stone House', 'Lighthouse' again finds guitarist Mark Wingfield working with Markus Reuter (touch guitars) and Asaf Sirkis on drums. However, this time they have worked as a trio, so there is no room for bassist Yaron Stavi who appeared on the first album. Recorded in a single day, what we have here are three musicians, all at the very top of their game, who are challenging the preconceived ideas of music, and are bouncing off each other in what must have been an incredibly frenetic and inspiring environment.

Markus most often plays the role of lynch pin, holding the music into some semblance of constraint, while Mark rolls into multiple musical tangents as his fingers and mind wanders, finding their way through the maze of their mind, and then there is Asaf. The man is a multi-joined octopus, who hands and legs obviously do not belong to the same body, and I was intrigued to discover just how many times my attention was being drawn from what many would think was the lead instrument, and was instead marvelling at the complexity and many different styles he was bringing to the party.

This is jazz, it is fusion, it is progressive in its very truest sense, and is totally off the wall. This won't be for everyone, but to my mind and ears there is something incredibly special about this album, where the three of them are improvising both against and with each other, taking their instruments the limit of musicality. A stunning release.

DOMINIQUE VANTOMME Vegir

Album · 2018 · Fusion
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js
Fusion musicians indulging in a little psychedelic rock is nothing new. Miles Davis’ mid 70s band with Pete Cosey was one of the best psych rock bands ever assembled. Terje Rypdal doesn’t mind dishing out some cosmic grooves now and again, and there is always John McLaughlin’s Hendrix-sounding “Devotion” album with Buddy Miles and Larry Young. You can add Dominique Vantomme’s “Vegir” to that list as it features a quartet of top notch fusion/jazz musicians laying down some of the best inter-stellar rock this side of Ozric Tentacles. The psych rock element figures strongly on “Vegir”. but you also get some Middle-Eastern influenced rhythms, as well as some down tempo type grooves and more. “Playing Chess with Barney Rubble” features a post bop drive with a pronounced backbeat along the lines of Jack DeJohnette. All of these different rhythms are topped with free flowing jazzy solos and/or wall to wall electronic ambience and hallucinogenic drift.

The best parts of this album happen when the solos are going down. Speaking of Pete Cosey, guitar maestro Michel Delville spins out some of the snarliest fret work since the passing of Master Pete. Dominique’s echoed Fender Rhodes rides are also a treat. The times when they rely on just sound and groove without the solos can sound good for a while, but left to this too long, you start missing the energy of the solos. The tempos range from medium to deliberately slow, often recalling the atmosphere of an electronica chill mix. Many of the songs have multi-part arrangements giving the album some of that ‘epic’ prog rock vastness. If psych rock meets fusion is your sort of thing, this album should do the trick. There is a mature cohesion in presentation and production on “Vegir” that puts it a cut above others who may try the same type sound.

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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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