(Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion

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As the original fusion movement that was started in the late 60s began to fade in the late 70s, a new generation of musicians led by Blood Ulmer, Bill Frisell, John Zorn, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Bill Laswell, Steve Coleman and Vernon Reid introduced a new style of jazz and rock fusion that arose from the initial efforts of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time band, Miles Davis' "Get Up With It" and "Dark Magus" albums and the jazzy, funky post-punk 'no wave' scene in New York City. This new fusion was both more aggressive and eclectic than the typical output of the 70s fusion artist. The Post-70s Eclectic Fusion artist not only uses elements of jazz, funk, and rock; but he is also likely to pull from a diverse set of influences including, but not limited to; New Orleans drum lines, klezmer, jump blues, hip-hop, hardcore punk, exotic lounge, drumnbass, and Bulgarian wedding music. The (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion genre at JMA is rooted in the aforementioned artists, but continues to grow and gain popularity worldwide, particularly in Japan and Northern Europe.

Not all of the artists listed in this genre are necessarily harsh and aggressive, but Post 70s Eclectic Fusion tends to have a modern urban sound, often influenced by the cultures of punk and hip-hop, whereas Classic Fusion tends to be rooted in the bohemian atmosphere of hippie, Afrocentric and beatnik culture. In Classic Fusion there tends to be a much stronger Latin and post bop influence in the rhythms, also Classic Fusion artists tend to blend their influences into one style, while Post 70s Eclectic artists may play in distinctly different styles from one song to the next, or even within one song. Its not unusual in this genre for artists to play in a humorously de-constructive style, or in a way that exaggerates the nuances of older styles.

Some of the jazz styles that can be found in this genre include; the M Base movement, free funk, the so-called 'knitting factory scene' and the harsher side of the modern Japanese jazz scene.

(post-70s) eclectic fusion top albums

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BOBBY PREVITE The Coalition of the Willing Album Cover The Coalition of the Willing
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4.95 | 3 ratings
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5.00 | 2 ratings
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MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Radiolarians I Album Cover Radiolarians I
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(post-70s) eclectic fusion Music Reviews

MASAHIKO SATOH Randooga: Select Live Under The Sky '90

Live album · 1990 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
Pianist Masahiko Satoh,one of cornerstone figure of modern Japanese jazz, founded Randooga group in 1990.The project's concept was very simple: each member improvise based on knowledge of folk melodies from different cultures and doesn't try to arrange his musicianship according to common musical harmonies. More than thirty years ago bassist Alan Silva recorded the album ("Luna Surface"),based on similar concept,which sounded almost as cacophony. In Masahiko Satoh version, it sounds much more accessible and tuneful though.

For the first Randooga's release Satoh formed the all-stars big band including leading Japanese and Western jazz artists: sax players Wayne Shorter,Kazutoki Umezu and Kohsuke Mine,trombonist Ray Anderson,drummer Alex Acuna,percussionists Midori Takada and Nana Vasconcellos, guitarist Takayuki Hijikata and Akira Okazawa on bass.Recorded during live gig, this album contains quite eclectic mix of Japanese traditional tunes,jazz-rock,Latin percussion,contemporary classical composition,tuneful saxes soloing,big band's arrangements and pop-songs attractiveness.

Oppositely to above mentioned "Luna Surface" or many other similar Western recordings,music here isn't hot, attacking or just high energetic at all. Never too slow or lifeless to become boring, it still contains lot of Japanese Zen tradition and flows quite relaxing enjoying ever-changing tunes and rhythms. Interesting mix of spontaneous but well-controlled folk-tunes based orchestral improvisations, this formula doesn't work well all the time. Some part of 73-minutes long recording sounds as orchestra playing out of tune or just missing the direction. It always returns back on track,but the feeling of regular losing of direction stays with listener all album long.

Satoh continued his Randooga project for years ahead,releasing some albums and even founded in 1993 Randooga Dojo - a school of free improvisation for children and adults, the only such kind of professional education available in Japan(knowing jazz popularity in Japan it's a big surprise that young Japaneses,dreaming about jazz musician career,need to study in Berklee,US). Satoh Randooga's "Live Under The Sky'90" is a representative example of decades-long Satoh's (as well as some other sound Japanese jazz artists)search of "Japanese way in jazz", the experiments he never abandoned to continue.

JEFF "TAIN" WATTS Blue Vol. 1

Album · 2015 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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js
Jeff “Tain” Watts is already known as one of the best jazz drummers in today’s scene, and its already known that he is a capable leader and composer too, but even his fans may be surprised at the new heights Jeff hits with his new album, “Blue Volume 1”. Watts first gained attention as a drummer for Wynton Marsalis, in whose band Jeff featured what drummers call ‘metric modulation’. In laymen’s terms, metric modulation means the drummer is switching to a different time and tempo than the soloist, but in a way that allows the soloist to stay in the original time, while their subsequent shared differing times will still share a common pulse. It may sound confusing on paper, but in a live context, its what makes a lot of today’s best drummers sound interesting. Also, don’t think for a second that Watts sounds academic, his drumming is known for creating quite a thunderous ruckus. After work with both the Marsalis brothers, as well as Kenny Garrett, Watts was ready to enter the new century with his own band and recording projects.

All of Watts’ solo albums to date have been worthwhile efforts. Some of his work leans towards abstract post bop composition, other cuts might be lengthy energetic modal jams, and others might lean towards the M-Base funk sound. You get some of all that on “Blue Vol 1”, but the difference with this album is the sheer force of emotion and grand scope of many of the individual songs. This is a modern jazz album, but its upfront rough street hewn emotional honesty recalls late 60s avant-soul jazz jams by the likes of Archie Shepp, Rahsan Roland Kirk and the Adderly Brothers. Unlike a lot of today’s jazz that can be a little too aloof, “Blue Vol 1” keeps it real.

There are so many great cuts on here. Monk’s “Brilliant Corners” opens things with Watts madly switching from funk to swing to rock, but not in a phony contrived way, this one is slam bang noisy fun from start to finish. “Farley Strange” features guitarist Paul Bollenback, who teams with Watts for a free funk jam that recalls Blood Ulmer with Ronald Shannon Jackson. “May 15 2011” is a beautifully written ballad worthy of one of Stevie Wonder’s best albums, but it too also features a hot jam in the middle section, this time with a Latin flavor. “Driva Man” features the rough hewn voice of Ku-umba Frank Lacy who recalls Leon Thomas and other 60s era street poets. There is more, but too many to list. The only time this album loses its steam is on tracks 7 and 8 where a rather uninspired jam session is allowed to go on too long as it meanders into random noises that come across as noodling filler.

I’m surprised this album is not getting more attention than it is, the power of the first six tracks could make this a contender for album of the year, unfortunately the album does lose some focus for a couple tracks before it closes strongly with the moody and abstract ballad, “Reverie”, but not Ravel’s “Reverie”.

GREG OSBY Further Ado

Album · 1997 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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js
If someone were to stop me on the street and ask me to name one artist who epitomizes modern jazz, there’s a good chance my answer would be saxophonist Greg Osby. Take his “Further Ado” album, although released in 1997, if I were to hear it in a blindfold test, I would have guessed it just came out this year. Although Greg has recorded many hip hop and avant-funk oriented electronic discs, “Further Ado” features a large acoustic ensemble and it is pretty much pure jazz, although its jazz of a very modern and eclectic mix. Greg and his crew on here mix up post bop, fusion, free jazz and Afro-Latin grooves in compositions that are unmistakably downtown NYC. Like so much of today’s jazz, the melodies and tonality on here veer from extended harmonies out into atonality without a noticeable difference between the two. The line between playing with the chords, or moving outside, is blurred.

Osby has an excellent nine piece mini big band assembled on here with top musicians in every chair, but honorable mention can go to drummer Eric Harland, who handles a myriad of rhythmic styles, and pianist Jason Moran, whose lively solos mix Herbie Hancock elegance with Matthew Shipp styled intense mayhem. Many of the tracks on “Further Ado” are good, but this album’s main weakness is a preponderance of tracks with slower tempos. The abstract melodies on here are not particularly memorable, therefore a certain amount of energy is needed to keep things interesting. The slower numbers aren’t really ballads per se, there is not really enough melody for that, but are more like bump-n-grind jam sessions that don’t always gel. Certainly one of the best tracks on here is the more energetic “Heard”, on which trumpeter Tim Hagans mirrors the angry blasts of Miles’ “Live at the Fillmore’. We certainly get enough modern trumpeters who echo Miles’ soft mute sound, its nice to hear someone who remembers his other side.

In short, this album’s strong points are its very ‘modernity’, its smart music that avoids anything predictable or cliché. The lines between swing, funk and rock, as well as differences between outside or straight ahead soloing, are all blurred. This album’s weakness is a lack of memorable melodic writing, which is magnified when the band covers one standard, “Tenderly”. Now there’s a melody you can hang your hat on, and it stands out after hearing so many tracks that feature purposeful modern abstraction that can sometimes hit a level of numbness.

STEVE COLEMAN Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance: Synovial Joints

Album · 2015 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
I have heard Steve Coleman and his Five Elements playing live just a few weeks after he recorded this new material for what later became "Synovial Joints", and to be honest I was a really critical when started listening to this, his newest release to time.

It's not like I was seriously disappointed with Coleman's gig, better to say - I was quite seriously surprised. Excellent combo played in overcrowded Drama Theater hall with coldness I can hardly remember in any jazz concert ever. Technically great musicians demonstrated quite interesting musical ideas but tried hard to isolate themselves from any public emotions,or probably - to isolate public from anything different than their calculated (and often quite repetitive) sound.

So, when Coleman's new album has been released I have been thinking more than once if I really want to hear it. Probably, the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award Steve received earlier this year pushed me to give this music a chance. It took weeks for me to accept and appreciate new album's music, but now I can say - yes, it's a good album.

What Steve did first of all recording "Synovial Joints" is he increase of the number of band members. In fact, he used his regular "Five Elements" as basis and recruited lot of new artists(many of them already played with Steve in his other projects), up to 21 in total. As a result, Coleman's biggest band ever plays his usual math / calculated compositions with richer arrangements,but what is more important - whole sound is warmer and even mellower (what sounds more than unusual speaking about Steve Coleman music).

Attentive listener will notice that there are more improvisational components,that in many of Steve previous works, and at the same time he uses unusually much classic orchestration here. Add some Latin tunes and you got the new Steve Coleman's music - warmer,more lively and much more attractive because of that.

Newbies to Coleman's music still most probably will notice how angular new album sounds,those familiar with his previous aesthetics most probably will enjoy how more humane this album sounds still being with no doubt same Steve Coleman's music.

XADU Xavi Reija / Dusan Jevtovic : Random Abstract

Album · 2015 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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js
Xadu is a modern jazz/rock duo made up of drummer Xavi Reija and guitarist Dusan Jevtovic. Although “Random Abstract” is their first album under this new moniker, this is the second album they have recorded together, as Dusan played guitar on Xavi Reija’s “Resolution”, which was released just last year. The only difference between the groups that perform on both albums is that Reija’s album featured Bernat Hernandez on bass, while “Random Abstract” has no bass player, and that lack of a third band member does make a difference.

Dusan is an interesting guitarist, although he started out as a more typical fleet fingered fusion guitarist, his solo album, “Am I Walking Wrong”, found him working more with distorted sounds and heavy sonic noise textures. On “Random Abstract”, he seems to mix these two worlds, still relying on a lot of distorted sounds, but also working in more of his earlier fusion style too. The balance of these two styles has resulted in a more interesting and musical approach for Dusan than on his previous solo album. This mix of noise and jazz-rock chops may remind some of Sonny Sharrock‘s work in the 80s and 90s. Xavi Reija provides his usual virtuoso drumming that combines fusion, free jazz and heavy rock. The two sound great together, but that third voice is missed sometimes.

Most of the tracks on this CD are good, with the best material coming in the middle of the album where back to back tracks, “New Pop” and “Something In Between”, feature the best solos and energetic duo interplay on the album. The weakest tracks happen on the second and third cuts where the duo makes the mistake of using some sort of looping device to provide something like a repeating bass line. As either song wears on, the automatic repeating lines become more of a nuisance than anything else. The duo format may sound a bit thin at times, but adding a dull repeating voice doesn’t help.

There is a lot of potential here, and there are moments on “Random Abstract” where that potential is reached, but its possible there is a better album still to come from these two. Much of this CD comes across as a recorded jam session, which isn’t bad, but more developed material would probably serve these guys well, as well as someone on bass.

(post-70s) eclectic fusion movie reviews

MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Fly In A Bottle

Movie · 2011 · (Post-70s) 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 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion release(s)

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