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 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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PAT METHENY Offramp (PMG) Album Cover Offramp (PMG)
PAT METHENY
4.68 | 15 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
4.86 | 3 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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HERMETO PASCOAL Só não toca quem não quer Album Cover Só não toca quem não quer
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.83 | 3 ratings
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HERMETO PASCOAL Slaves Mass Album Cover Slaves Mass
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.62 | 7 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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TRILOK GURTU The Glimpse Album Cover The Glimpse
TRILOK GURTU
4.62 | 4 ratings
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MODE PLAGAL Mode Plagal Album Cover Mode Plagal
MODE PLAGAL
4.75 | 2 ratings
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MIGUEL ZENÓN Esta Plena Album Cover Esta Plena
MIGUEL ZENÓN
4.75 | 2 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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world fusion Music Reviews

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”

BOB BELDEN Various Artists: Miles From India

Album · 2008 · World Fusion
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js
Miles from India” was a fairly ambitious project that sought to re-visit some of Miles Davis’ music, but with more of an accent on the Indian influences that Miles sometimes hinted at. Miles’ relationship with Indian music was often not much more than fashionable 70s exotic tone colors derived from using the tambura and tablas, but on a few cuts from his “Big Fun” and “Get Up With It” albums, there appeared a deeper understanding and appreciation of non-western musical approaches. “Miles from India” contains some decent Indian flavored fusion jams, but unfortunately Bob Beldon and his crew missed an opportunity to expand on some of Miles’ more interesting musical concepts.

“Spanish Key” is a great opener with a lengthy Indian flavored fusion workout that features great solos from an all-star cast of well known Indian and Western musicians, this cut shows off all this album’s strengths. “All Blues” follows, and although they shift the time to a 5/4 feel, its still in swing time and there really isn’t an equivalent to swing time in Indian rhythm. This means the ‘Indian’ flavor is provided via a sitar melody and solo which almost sounds like cheesy Martin Denny styled ‘exotica’. I can appreciate the attempts at creativity here, but possibly swing era jazz and Indian music can only mix on a superficial level. “Ife” returns things to the Indian fusion style, the legendary Pete Cosey turns in a guitar solo, but the once soaring Cosey now supplies only subterranean snarls from an overly processed guitar, possibly that is on purpose.

Hearing the tune from “In a Silent way” played like a classic raga is a real treat, but the following “Its About that Time” seems to forget the delicacy of the original and just lapses into another well played, but not particularly remarkable fusion jam. “Jean Pierre” closes CD 1 with its familiar 80s hip-hop groove, it’s a great song, but except for a virtuoso Indian styled flute solo from Rakesh Chaurasia, this version is not particularly different from the original.

CD 2 opens with “So What” having its swing feel replaced with an Indo-fusion groove that really doesn’t go great with original riff. Once again, trying to mix the older Miles material with the Indian music seems like a clumsy experiment at best. For the rest of CD 2 you get a couple more decent fusion jams, plus an unexpected Indian vocal rendition of “Blue in Green”, also a short and inconsequential track from John McLaughlin and a very disappointing rendition of the classic “Great Expectations”. The original “Expectations” was a masterpiece of time and space distortion on which Miles presented a struggling groove that ground to a halt over and over only to restart, finally blossoming slowly into an Indian flavored electric piano nirvana. This remake seems to ignore all that, blindly rushing through the changes in a hurry to reach a meaningless conclusion. The only plus to this track is hearing Adam Holzman play the original electric piano tracks on acoustic piano, nice work on that re-enactment.

The good points to “Miles from India” are the several Indian influenced fusion tracks, with the bad points being the clumsy attempts to merge with songs from “Kind of Blue”, as well as the missed opportunities to expand on some of Miles’ more interesting experiments. A lot of people have picked up on the fact that Miles played futuristic psychedelic rock during the 70s, and its nice he finally got noticed for that, but there was so much more. Much of what Miles was experimenting with in the 70s was related to his interest in Stockhausen’s attempts to freeze time, and both Miles and Karlheinz were looking to classical music from Asia for inspiration. Its very disappointing that this Indian flavored look at Miles’ past did not seem to recognize this most salient feature of Miles’ music.

TOHPATI Tohpati Ethnomission: Save The Planet

Album · 2010 · World Fusion
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progshine
Tohpati Ethnomission's a group from Indonesia, yeah, Indonesia. And probably the first thing we have in mind when we think about this country is some kind of exhotic music, well, it's not that the exhotic don't make any part of the group's music, but it's not the main focus here, the 'thing' here is gather both together, exhotic and 'secular' music, like jazz/fusion, progressive rock and rock n roll. The mind behind the group is Tohpati (guitars), that is also part of simakDIALOG. In Save The Planet, first album of Tohpati Ethnomission he's with Indro Hardjodikoro (bass), Endang Ramdan (percussion), Demas Narawangsa (drums and percussion) that had only 16 years old on the time they recorded, Diki Suwarjiki (suling, a kind of flute) and Lestari (voice on track 2).

What we have in Save The Planet is quite good, in fact, more than good. Highlits like 'Selamatkan Bumi' and his 9 minutes long, 'Drama' (that reminds some King Crimson's Robert Fripp moments), 'Ethno Funk', 'Inspirasi Baru' (and the great bass solo), 'Perang Tanding' (moments that resembles some Frank Zappa) and 'Amarah' (and the various guitars), shows us that the band have A LOT of potential.

But unfortunatelly the group sometimes bet on calm and slow compositions, which I don't like, I don't think it fits their style.

But all in all Save The Planet worth the hearing! Specially when it comes to jazz rock/fusion lovers. The album have some irregularities but shows clearly the bright future Tohpati and his mates can have if they keep playing and writing like that. It's a waiting game, but in my opinion it'll worth.

IBRAHIM MAALOUF Wind

Album · 2012 · World Fusion
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Sean Trane
Fifth album from the Lebanese trumpet player, and maybe his better-known – and certainly his most luxuriously packaged oeuvre, displaying photos of Joux’s multi-layered assemblage in steps, over a 36 page booklet along with a separate and a separate digibook-style disc holder, all housed in a cardboard box, almost the thickness of two jewel case CDs.

This project was commissioned from the French film library (Cinémathèque), who wanted to reissue ancient silent films from the Albatross catalogue and put them to music. This fell rather well with Maalouf, since he’d always loved the Miles/Malle association in Ascensceur Pour l’Echaffaud, and Ibrahim took the project at heart. Indeed, you’ll find in the quieter moments of this soundtrack some Miles influences, but it won’t escape you that Maalouf’s Arabic origins are often audible as well. He chose the Proie Du Vent movie from René Clair (prey of the wind), and wrote down his successive feelings while appropriating himself the images to sonically colourise. His various feelings gave their names to the 12 compositions that made up the single session recording in NYC. Three of the four musicians Maalouf chose are well-known on the NYC scene, and he added Flemish composer/arranger Frank Woeste on piano and further arrangements.

Roughly half the tracks are not too far away from what you’d find on the Miles/Malle film, soft and slow melancholic pieces, starting with the opening Doubts, Waithing, etc… Rather standard and relatively soporific. The other half of the compositions are definitely more intense and dramatic, offering a Mediterranean ambiance in between Spain and deep Arabia. Needless to say that’s where most of the interest of the album stands; Woeste’s piano often adding depth like Tyner might have done. Tracks like Suspicion, Question & Answers, and the Gypsy-esque Escitement, amongst others.

In some ways, it’s a bit sad that this luxurious boxset doesn’t feature the film that inspired the music on the CD, especially given the amount of space it takes for a single disc affair

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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.

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