World Fusion

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The world fusion genre at JMA is not just a collection of world beat artists, but is instead a collection of artists who bring world beat influences to the ever expanding world of jazz fusion. Since fusion artists from the US, Western Europe and Latin America are usually covered in our other fusion genres, the world fusion genre typically carries fusion artists with African, Asian, Middle Eastern and East European influences.

Once again though, the world fusion artists at JMA also display the improvisational aspects and virtuoso soloing associated with jazz and fusion.

world fusion top albums

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

PAT METHENY Offramp (PMG) Album Cover Offramp (PMG)
PAT METHENY
4.64 | 16 ratings
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PAT METHENY The Road To You (Recorded Live In Europe) (PMG) Album Cover The Road To You (Recorded Live In Europe) (PMG)
PAT METHENY
4.80 | 6 ratings
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STANLEY CLARKE The Rite of Strings (feat. Al Di Meola & Jean-Luc Ponty) Album Cover The Rite of Strings (feat. Al Di Meola & Jean-Luc Ponty)
STANLEY CLARKE
4.73 | 6 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Astrakan Café Album Cover Astrakan Café
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.75 | 5 ratings
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LUIZ BONFÁ Jacarandá Album Cover Jacarandá
LUIZ BONFÁ
4.83 | 4 ratings
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HERMETO PASCOAL Slaves Mass Album Cover Slaves Mass
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.63 | 8 ratings
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RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA Kinsmen Album Cover Kinsmen
RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA
5.00 | 2 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Le pas du chat noir Album Cover Le pas du chat noir
ANOUAR BRAHEM
5.00 | 2 ratings
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TRILOK GURTU The Glimpse Album Cover The Glimpse
TRILOK GURTU
4.62 | 4 ratings
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HERMETO PASCOAL Só não toca quem não quer Album Cover Só não toca quem não quer
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.62 | 4 ratings
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GUNESH Вижу Землю (I See The Earth) Album Cover Вижу Землю (I See The Earth)
GUNESH
4.91 | 2 ratings
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OREGON Winter Light Album Cover Winter Light
OREGON
4.44 | 8 ratings
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From Darkness
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AVISHAI COHEN (BASS)
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Live at Orion
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SIMAK DIALOG
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Mockroot
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TIGRAN HAMASYAN
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Bird Calls
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RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA
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world fusion Music Reviews

CODONA Codona 3

Album · 1983 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
Third and final chapter for the experimental ethnic jazz fusion band CODONA featuring CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-ná Vasconcelos. Through their three album run on the German jazz label ECM this band explores the many far reaches of the globe with a whole arsenal of musical instruments mixing and commingling like the ancients never thought possible. While the first album was a bit more straight forward offering a glimpse into the possibilities of mixing American jazz, African traditionals and classical Indian music into a sonic cauldron, the second album upped the ante with the experimentation cranking the avant-garde up a few notches and demanding a more dedicated listen to figure out the delicate assembly of parts involved. With CODONA 3 that experimentation is maintained only this time it flows a bit better than that of 2 making it a slightly less demanding listen but still one that will satisfy the adventurous music lover.

The longest track is the opener “Goshakabouchi” which is based on a Japanese traditional piece but takes us much further around the globe than Godzilla ever dared to roam. It begins with sparse Indian bells but eventually is joined by Cherry’s signature trumpet sound in an extremely slow tempo and sparsely laid out sonic effect. As the tempo picks up we get new sounds from the caxixi (a high pitched drum), a hammered dulcimer and talking drum.

We then move on to an African traditional reminding me of the music of West Africa with the Mandinka tribe coming to mind with “Hey Da Ba Doom” which is heavily percussive and hypnotic because of its repetitive nature. The sanza and doussn’gouni dominate this soundscape.

“Travel By Night” is an odd mid-tempo number with sitar as the dominant instrument with a subordinate trumpet and berimbau peaking in to embellish the rhythmic developments

“Lullaby” is a multi-layered sitar track but sounds more like in an African musical context. It has a strange way of expressing chords through the sitar and one of the most non-Indian pieces i have ever heard using this instrument

“Traya Boia” is a strange multi vocalizing track with multiple chants scattered about eventually accompanied by smooth trumpet notes and high pitched background wails.

“Clicky Clacky” is yet another original design. It begins and ends with a train whistle and the theme is of a hobo during the American Great Depression of the 1930s catching trains and moving on from town to town, however with a sitar and tabla with a blues singing style, it evokes a very surreal sound indeed

“Inner Organs” is the second longest track and is backed up by a Floydian “Saucerful Of Secrets” drone organ sound which gets joined by a tabla, caxixi, sanza (thumb piano), some foreign language spoken lyrics and triangles and takes us on a nice pleasant journey in a nice and mellow way. Cherry contributes his famous trumpet sounds that sound like an elephant. Very cool

CODONA Codona 2

Album · 1981 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
Continuing where they left off on their debut album CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-na Vasconcelos continue their experimental fusion of American jazz, various African styles and Indian influences but this time around they up the experimental ante a notch or two and require the listener to invest a few more listens in order to understand where they are coming from. Upon first listen I didn't like this as much as the debut. Whereas the debut CODONA album kind of had a logic to where they were coming from, this second album throws you for a loop. It's not that it's ridiculously lost in the clouds and creates a whole new musical experience, it's just that the melodies are more intricate and subtle and there are more liberties in the individual instruments creating separate and distinct roles which don't immediately sound pleasant and even ring a little dissonant at times. The band, in effect, are demanding that you evolve as they do in order to understand their progression.

There are all kinds of differences here. For one the band likes to expound on certain ideas. They present a theme and then kind of throw in an extended weirdness, or perhaps you would call it musical variation. On “Malinye” for example, a 12:39 progressive walk through fusion-land, there is an introductory cohesiveness to the song but it changes into a wild vocal frenzy that then turns into an African instrumental affair that incorporates many an ethnic flair to the mix. This is one of the major accomplishments of CODONA, which is the progressive fusion of hitherto unmixed styles of world music. Despite all my praise trying to elevate this album to such heights, I still like it a tad less than the debut, however it is very much recommended for fusion freaks who like a bit more bite and unexpected tumult to their music. This album can be quite exciting and surprising at moments but for an overall appreciation must be heard a few times. A particular sound that remains unique in the musical world as far as I know. I also really like how DO-n Cherry makes his trumpet sound like an elephant at times.

SIMAK DIALOG Live at Orion

Live album · 2015 · World Fusion
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js
The once easily maligned and watered down genre known as jazz fusion has been making quite a comeback in the new century, due in large part to an infusion of fresh new talent from around the globe who bring the music of their culture to the mix. You could hardly call Simak Dialog new, as they have been recording for almost twenty years, but since their addition to the MoonJune roster of artists, they have been reaching a far wider international audience that may see them as a relatively new band on the scene. There are so many great fusion bands coming from Indonesia these days, some carry a stronger influence of their culture than others, but few show such a strong element of classic Indonesian Gamelan as Simak Dialog. “Live at Orion” is the latest live offering from Dialog, and it shows them playing many songs from their recently released “6th Story” , as well some cuts from older albums, and a couple tracks that have not shown up on any of their previous releases.

Long time fans of Dialog will know what to expect here, a mix of Gamelan rhythms and structures fused with a late 60s style of raw jazz rock that often veers into psychedelic and avant-garde sound layers. The backbone of the Dialog sound is the tuned drums and metallophones of the Indonesian Gamelan, to this they add Riza Arshad on Fender Rhodes, Tohpati on electric guitar and Rudy Zulkarnen on bass. All the instruments blend perfectly; the Fender Rhodes is basically an amplified metallophone in itself, and Tohpati is apt to run his guitar through a ring modulator which gives it a clangorous percussive metallic effect, much like the Gamelan instruments and the Rhodes. This combination of instruments can sound like a modern mini gamelan orchestra, a tuned percussion ensemble playing John Cage’s prepared piano pieces, or Stockhausen’s experiments with ring modulated sounds. In between these more avant-garde ambitions, Dialog is apt to hit a steady groove and let Tohpati play a fret burning guitar solo.

The music on here is excellent, far more creative and original than many of their fusion peers, but unfortunately all of this great music is somewhat marred by a rather lackluster sound. Simak Dialog’s music is raw and earthy, so I wouldn’t expect, or even want a real polished sound, but there is something lacking here, a certain high end and sharp definition. It almost sounds like the concert was picked up on one or two room mics, rather than individual instrument microphones or line-ins. Its not a huge problem, as every instrument is nice and clear, but music this good deserves a better sound.

CODONA Codona

Album · 1979 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
Other than Shakti I have found most other artists listed as Indo / raga jazz fusion don't sound very Indian or raga, rather having the title based on more of a drone that is influenced by such exotica. CODONA is an obvious exception with Indo / raga just bursting into the scene from the getgo with sitars, tablas, dulcimers, timpanis and other exotic elements such as droning chanting vocals in the background adding a Tibetan getaway feel to the whole thing.

CODONA was a trio of talented musicians and cleverly the name of the group is the combination of the first two letters of each of the member's first names: CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry, NA-na Vasconcelos. How's that for democracy? The band released three albums from 1978-82 with this eponymous release being the first. This kind of music probably sounds somewhat familiar since world fusion has blossomed and repeated itself a million-fold since this was released, but this 70s collaboration is dripping with a sublime soul and innovative phrasings that leave me feeling transported to the time and place that this was constructed when the world wasn't quite such a global village and the results of which seem exotic even by today's standards.

Collin Walcott was a disciple of Ravi Shankar and generously handles all of the Indian instruments previously mentioned while the presence of Don Cherry more often associated as a free jazz solo artist as well as with his works with Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Sun Ra and a gazillion others offers his trumpet and free jazz talents to the mix. He not only blows his horn but also throws in a few flute performances and his lesser known talents on doussn'gouni, an African percussion instrument. Naná Vasconcelos is a Brazilian Latin jazz percussionist and berimbau (looks like a Chinese erhu) player. He handles all percussion, the cuica, talking drum as well as his signature berimbau.

The music on this album is sensual and light, contemplative and only subtlety complex as the instruments weave around each other but never deviate from the main musical frame. All is designed to support the other on this meditative trip around the globe. This is light and fluffy music that makes you feel like you are on the verge of an astral trip or in another realm of consciousness altogether. Whereas Shakti was all about the highest tempos possible, CODONA has no problem letting the music breathe in and out just like a student of vipassana would allowing the soul to contemplate every beautiful construct and enigmatic insight the universe has to offer.

BALLA ET SES BALLADINS "Objectif Perfection" (aka Reminiscin' In Tempo With Balla Et Ses Balladins)

Album · 1980 · World Fusion
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Matt
Politics, Colonialism, Dictatorship, Marxism and Independence are all interlinked with the music that was coming out of Guinea from 1959 till 1984 due to the rule of Sekou Toure who rejected France’s offer concerning the new Constitution and became the countries first independent President. Authenticite’ is the term that was used for Guinean music during this period of Sekou Toure’s rule as the government being Marxist paid and supplied the band’s salary and equipment to play authentic West African music and not Colonial influenced. The Government under Toure’s direction also established in the mid sixties one of Africa’s most famous record labels Sylipohone ( 75 albums were released). Bembeya Jazz became the most famous of the bands to record for Syliphone in Guinea but there were numerous others with many interlinking artists at times due to band restructures and Government direction. Balla et Ses Balladins sprang out of a twenty five piece band that was cut up into their two regions in 1964 with Balla et Ses Balladins being based in Jardin de Guinea and the other band Keletigui and his Tambourinis over in La Pailotte.

This compilation is derived from 5 albums which the band released with “Objectif Perfection” being in its entirety (stereo) and one song each from four other releases ( mono ) with track ten comprising the sound of the record finishing as the needle hits the end with the addition of an interview with Balla and Pivi in French for track 11 “reminiscin’ with balla and pivi”. The band itself usually comprised 10 to 11 members with a good bit of brass included, trumpet, trombone, tenor alto, soprano saxes with bass ( electric), electric guitar, congas and drums. Balla played trumpet, Kante Manfila vocals ( not to be confused with two other musicians under the same name with the most famous Manfila coming from Ambassadeurs and the other Orchestre Keletigui ) , Pivi Moriba played trombone and alto sax, all permanent members over the bands life with two others included but the rest of the line up is changed from “Objectif Perfection” and the other four tracks within this compilation.

‘Bambo” is first with just vocals and percussion opening for a short period and then the orchestra kicks in with a beautiful rhythm and theme comprising a quick trombone, alto sax, guitar solo between chorus with that beautiful choral vocals that is a trademark of Guinean music. Benny Soumah is singing lead for “Soufougne” over the beat with an African style skip guitar accompanying him over one monstrous bass grumble that pervades the whole album just adding to the mix and bringing a stunning base for this Orchestra to work around.The albums highlight is the following “Paulette” with that bass riding and grumbling right behind the Orchestra’s horns and vocalists as there are two present being Kante Manfila and Emile Benny. More of that glorious skip guitar is featured with a great tenor sax and guitar solo included. The percussion section (drum kit and congas) keep providing one constant African rhythm right behind every track contained within the album. ‘ Assa” is a love song with more great input from the Orchestra followed by “Keme Bourema” with its low key guitar opening and that grumbling bass and percussion right behind. This is an historical song concerning the fearless Keme Bourema and this really is were griots come to the fore with their vocal African formality providing a distinct stamp to this beautiful number which just picks up throughout and lands back beautifully each time with the song’s structure. There are two versions of “Sara” which follow with two other tracks that follow from the other albums within this compilation with all comprising that beautiful trademark Guinean music.

Highly recommended for people who want to hear real West African music. Another point that needs to be mentioned is the album has a slight low fi sound but that was due more to a lack of money and not studio or artistic fault as they had what they had and anyway to be honest this fault actually adds even more to the appeal of the music giving it actual Authenticity from this fabulous period in Guinea, “for music that is”

world fusion movie reviews

MANDRILL Mandrill Live at Montreux 2002

Movie · 2006 · World Fusion
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js
As much as I enjoy the CD of this high energy concert, Mandrill is an act that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. They don't put on a phony 'show', display rehearsed steps or use props or costume changes. Instead they stand and deliver an ultra tight mix of African fusion, Latin jazz, psychedelic rock and American funk tied together with 70s styled progressive arrangements. It's fascinating to watch the many multi-instrumentalists in this group switch the make-up of their band from a big rock horn section to a massive percussion ensemble to five part vocal harmonies and whatever else a song may call for. Although the rhythm section stays put throughout, the other members of Mandrill play a dizzying variety of horns, percussion and strings, and they can all sing with the best harmonizing bands in the business. Not only do you get the 2002 concert in Montreux on this DVD, but you also get interviews, some behind the scenes action and a bonus concert shot in Philadelphia. It's the concert in Philly that I found to be the most interesting bonus feature. Mandrill has played a wide variety of music in their lengthy career, although their albums often feature lengthy fusion 'suites', they have also been known to score the occasional 'hit' on the RnB and funk charts too. Judging from the two concerts presented on this DVD, Mandrill definitely adjusts their show for their audience. While playing for the older international jazz crowd in Montreux, Mandrill is on their best most progressive world jazz behavior. Once back in the states though, in front of a younger club crowd in Philly, you get a version of Mandrill that not only funks much harder , but also rocks much harder as well. This is the P-funk version of Mandrill, and it is fun seeing these older musical veterans get the crowd on their feet with crazy syncopated horn lines and screaming guitar solos.

I don't normally watch concerts on TV, but because of Mandrill's never boring arrangements, virtuoso musicality and constantly shifting instrumental make-up , I found this DVD to be muchos fun from start to finish.

Artists with World Fusion release(s)

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