World Fusion

Jazz music community with review and forums

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 | 24 hours caching

HERMETO PASCOAL Só não toca quem não quer Album Cover Só não toca quem não quer
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.88 | 4 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Astrakan Café Album Cover Astrakan Café
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.59 | 7 ratings
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LUIZ BONFÁ Jacarandá (aka Todo o Nada) Album Cover Jacarandá (aka Todo o Nada)
LUIZ BONFÁ
4.64 | 5 ratings
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PAT METHENY Offramp (PMG) Album Cover Offramp (PMG)
PAT METHENY
4.44 | 17 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Thimar (with John Surman / Dave Holland) Album Cover Thimar (with John Surman / Dave Holland)
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.53 | 6 ratings
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RALPH TOWNER Batik Album Cover Batik
RALPH TOWNER
4.62 | 4 ratings
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TRILOK GURTU The Glimpse Album Cover The Glimpse
TRILOK GURTU
4.62 | 4 ratings
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RALPH TOWNER Anthem Album Cover Anthem
RALPH TOWNER
4.67 | 3 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
4.38 | 8 ratings
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AVISHAI COHEN (BASS) Continuo Album Cover Continuo
AVISHAI COHEN (BASS)
4.50 | 4 ratings
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OREGON Winter Light Album Cover Winter Light
OREGON
4.33 | 9 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Le Voyage De Sahar Album Cover Le Voyage De Sahar
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.54 | 3 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

ALAIN MALLET Mutt Slang

Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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js
The most difficult CDs to review are the ones that don’t fit into a convenient style or genre. I’m listening to all the influences and cultures that go into Alain Mallet’s “Mutt Slang”, and I am thinking how can I possibly define and explain this music to someone else. Alain Mallet is a veteran pianist who has been working with artists like Paul Simon, Phil Woods and others for over 25 years. Just a few short years ago, he finally decided to record his first album as a leader. Alain lists a diverse group of influences at work here, including Miles Davis, Peter Gabriel, Rachmaninov, Stevie Wonder, Salif Keita and others, and all that diversity shows through in his music. For example, opening track, “Till I Dance (In Your Arms Again)” opens with a Middle Eastern flavor, before there is a shift and the bands kicks into a Latin American rhythm in 5/4 time. Its this sort of mixing influences from all over the world that best describes the music on “Mutt Slang”, as different sections of tracks may take us to Africa, Israel, Latin America or some imaginative places that don’t quite exist outside the musical realm.

Alain works with a steady rhythm section on “Mutt Slang” that includes Jamey Haddad on percussion, Peter Slavov on bass and Abraham Rounds on drums. A very talented bunch as they are all expected to handle the wide variety of rhythms presented here. A large cast of rotating guests supply solos on a variety of instruments, as well as vocal leads too. There are plenty of good soloists on here, but the best rides belong to Alain, whose ability to build a dynamic piano solo may remind some of Herbie Hancock, but with a pronounced Afro-Cuban influence too. Another particularly remarkable solo comes from vocalist Song Yi Jeon, as she takes a Flora Purim type flight on “Spring”. Daniel Rotem also turns in some nice solos on tenor sax on a couple tunes. “Mutt Slang” is a multi-cultural smorgasbord, but none of this culture mixing sounds gratuitous or cheap, instead, Mallet has built a musical vision that carries the integrity and logic of all the cultures that gave this music birth.

DWIKI DHARMAWAN Rumah Batu

Album · 2018 · World Fusion
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kev rowland
There is no doubt that one of the most consistently exciting record labels over the last 20+ years is Moonjune Records. Part of this is because this one-man organisation is run by someone who truly loves music, and when he isn’t putting musicians together and having them record, or putting out the next release, he is actually on the road with one band or another. How he actually finds the time to do what he does is beyond me, and I always thought I was good at time management. But, against a backdrop of incredible releases, I am now listening to what is possibly the best and most important album he has ever put out.

There has been incredibly high praise, and deservedly so, for Mark Wingfield’s ‘The Stone House’, and this album was recorded in the same studio and has the same title (just in the Indonesian Bahasa language), and also includes both drummer Asaf Sirkis and bassist Yaron Stavi who were/are key members of Mark’s band. To fill out the quintet there are Nguyên Lê (electric guitar, soundscapes) and Charles Benavent (bass guitar). Yes, you read that right, there are two bassists in the band. This core group were then recorded live in the studio, bouncing ideas off each other as they run through a series of Dharmawan originals, plus some traditional numbers he rearranged, plus one group composition. All of those involved are amazing musicians, although I do think it might be interesting to hear Dwiki solo with no-one else involved, as some of his piano runs, fills and flourishes almost defy belief.

If there was no-one else involved, and the recordings coming out of La Casa Murada Studio were all there was, then I would still be stating that this is an essential album for anyone into great music, but after the three days (yes, just three days) of recording were over, more traditional Indonesian musicians and singers were added to the mix. What this has done is taken an incredibly complex yet melodic and joyous album to a whole new level. There were times when my mind was trying to understand if I was listening to traditional music with a Western influence, or the other way around, and what on earth was making that particular sound I could hear, and did it matter? In the end, the only way to really understand the music is to forget about trying to understand it, forget attempting to categorise what is going on, and just fall in love with what is an incredibly complex interaction between cultures that is just incredible.

All praise to Mark Wingfield for mixing and mastering this, to Leonardo for having the vision of bringing together musicians like this, but mostly to Dwiki Dharmawan and all those involved for what is a truly great album. This is simply essential, nothing less. 10/10

ABDULLAH IBRAHIM (DOLLAR BRAND) The Journey

Album · 1977 · World Fusion
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js
Recorded and released in 1977, “The Journey” is a different sort of album for Abdullah Ibrahim, who was still going by the name of Dollar Brand at this time. Ibrahim is usually known for his hypnotic African grooves, and you get a good bit of that on “The Journey”, but you also get a lengthy, less typical for him, free jazz excursion featuring some stars from NYC’s pioneering free jazz movement. Ibrahim had just moved to NYC from South Africa before he recorded this, and apparently he was immediately embraced by the avant-garde vanguard, including such renowned musicians such as Don Cherry and Hamiet Bluiett.

Side one opens with an energetic South African calypso that is relatively short and to the point. Abdullah leaves the piano alone for this one and instead gives us a fiery soprano saxophone solo. The lengthy “Jabulani” takes up the rest of this side and features the large ensemble in free jazz mode as they pass the solos around so that eventually everyone gets a free ride. This is that original form of free jazz that sounds like bebop gone berserk, so much more rhythmic and lively than often what passes for free jazz today. Side two is made up of the 20 minute plus “Hajj”, which is an absolute groove monster based around North African rhythms and melodies. Talib Rhynie’s ‘snake charmer’ oboe melodies are a real plus on this one, as is Bluiett’s clarinet solo as most of the musicians all get a turn to play with the oriental mode that comprises the main theme. Abdullah plays piano on this one as he provides a repeating rhythmic figure that is the backbone of the piece.

“The Journey”, with its free jazz excursion, is a somewhat different album for Ibrahim, but really all of this eclectic music comes together and makes total sense, thanks to the talent of the assembled crew here that is equally at home with in the groove playing, as well as going completely outside.

PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND So It Is

Album · 2017 · World Fusion
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js
Remember the days when jazz was the music for wild hell raising parties and secret drug dens? No, …me neither, because just like you I was not around from the 1920s to the 1940s. Instead, just like you, I came up in that post Miles/Coltrane era when jazz moved out of the dens of sin and into the universities where it now competes with classical music for student dollars. This is not a bad thing because a lot of great jazz has come out since the 50s. While jazz was transforming, Little Richard and Chuck Berry borrowed parts of jazz, gave it a more pronounced backbeat, and created a whole new music for hell-raising and wild parties, rock-n-roll and RnB. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s new album; “So It Is”, doesn’t sound anything like 20s-40s jazz, but it does return jazz to a partying foot-stomping vibe, only with a more current sound.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band was started back in 1961, and for many years they did exactly what their name implies, they played original New Orleans jazz the way it is supposed to be played, and provided many a good time for tourists on their visit to New Orleans. Starting in the late 90s, under the guidance of a whole new generation that had joined the band, the band began to open up their horizons and started to take on a myriad of jazz styles, as well as music from outside the jazz world. On this latest offering, they find a rhythmic common ground between New Orleans jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz and Calypso, and produce smoking hot beats that make it hard to sit still. On top of these pressure cooker grooves, they layer classic minor key noire melodies, the type preferred by Ellington and others of the swing era, and also often found in early Jamaican ska and Afro-Cuban mambos. The end result is exactly what people are talking about when they refer to ‘hot jazz’, because this is one of the hottest for 2017. This is not background music, try to play this in the car and keep the volume down, you won’t be able to. All seven tracks are great, but if all of them reached the peaks of “Santiago”, “La Malanga” and “Mad”, this would be a five star album. On another plus, all of these tunes are original. One can only hope The Hall Band can deliver more like this the next time out.

SONS OF KEMET Your Queen Is A Reptile

Album · 2018 · World Fusion
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snobb
They say there's no jazz for young people? Wrong, just look at the burgeoning London jazz scene! British-Caribbean reedsman Shabaka Hutchings rules there with his space jazz project, Comet Is Coming, plus Afrobeat Ancestors and the spiritual jazz of Sons Of Kemet.

New "Sons'..." album (already third) is just released and it burns. If Shabaka's "Comet..." is hardly jazz in traditional sense with lot of danceable electronics, "Sons..." music is rooted in jazz tradition for sure. Its an unorthodox band containing sax player, tuba player and two drummers playing music which comes right from the Paris clubs of the late 60s (Art Ensemble of Chicago's early European years) and London's Notting Hill of the late 70s (read - 2-Tone ska). Add modern rap on some songs (in a nod to the Afrocentric poets of the late 60s) - there it is.

Even more - "Your Queen Is a Reptile" is a politically sharp criticism on the British Monarchy, growing nationalism and anti-immigration moods. By its atmosphere this music is closer to BLM and anti-fa punk than more conservative jazz. Shabaka builds his own Monarchy by coronation of more or less known black women (incl. activist Angela Davis, Harriet Tubman, Ashanti queen mother Yaa Asantewaa and yes - his own great-grand mother Ada Eastman among others). Possibly surprising, the album's music is not particularly angry at all, more relaxed and even danceable in moments.

Right from the very first seconds of the opener, "My Queen is Ada Eastman", the listener is caught by the drummers' African rhythms and sax/tuba tight collaboration (ok, vocalist Joshua Idehen's rap is a matter of taste, but many will dig it). Then you get Caribbean tunes, dub and more African rhythms - all spiced with quite free jazz sax and tuba solos. Different from decades of modern jazz evolution, where complexity is usually a mandatory attribute of the genre, "Sons..." keep their music in the pocket.

The single (and one of the strongest album's songs) "My Queen Is Harriet Tubman", has been released prior to the album's release and received strong media exposure, start on this one in case of doubt. It's interesting that the album itself is released on legendary in past "true" jazz label "Impulse!", home for John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders among many other jazz greats of their generation.

Here is a jazz for our modern days, returning back to the streets, and away from concert halls, arrogant city intellectual clubs and marginals fests, becoming people's music as it was in the late 60s (and as it was with the punk/ska explosion in London in the late 70s).

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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