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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GUNESH Вижу Землю (I See The Earth) Album Cover Вижу Землю (I See The Earth)
GUNESH
4.92 | 3 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Astrakan Café Album Cover Astrakan Café
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.59 | 7 ratings
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PAT METHENY Offramp (PMG) Album Cover Offramp (PMG)
PAT METHENY
4.46 | 18 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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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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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

DWIKI DHARMAWAN Rumah Batu

Album · 2018 · World Fusion
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js
In recent times there have been several artists who have attempted to merge traditional Indonesian music with modern jazz fusion, some have been more successful than others, but possibly the artist who has created the ultimate seamless mix is pianist/composer Dwiki Dharmawan. On his latest album, “Rumah Batu”, Dwiki displays how he builds this unique synthesis. Unlike some others who try to force unlike components against each other, Dharmawan uses the essence of Indonesian music as the foundation for his fusion excursions, hence the two worlds become organically connected in a way that flows naturally. Dwiki takes these jazz and Indonesian elements and creates lengthy tracks with sprawling busy arrangements presented with a big production sound that recalls epic movie soundtracks or equaling epic gatefold album cover classic prog-rock.

The two lengthy opening tracks on “Rumah Batu” contain some of the album’s most exciting fusion jams. Dwiki and his band mate’s approach to fusion is very high energy and over the top as they veer into free jazz territory. Dharmawan’s massive assaults on the piano can recall McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Vijay Iyer, while guitarist Nguyen Le’s distortion drenched fiery leads may remind some of Larry Coryell or Pete Cosey. After these two openers the band settles into a beautiful vocal number sung by Dewi Gita. The vocal style presented here may be different than what western ears are used to, so maybe its time to open up and try some new things. The first part of “Rumah Batu Suite” is a funky jazz rock jam with some improvised vocalizing, while the second part is an all out free jazz free-for-all. The album closes with the folksy “Selamatkan Orangutan”, a pleasant farewell after the intensity of the previous tracks.

SHABAKA AND THE ANCESTORS Wisdom of Elders

Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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snobb
"Wisdom Of Elders" has been recorded by London's new jazz scenes' leading figure reedist Shabaka Hutchings in one day without rehearsals in Johannesburg, South Africa with leading domestic musicians (stated as Ancestors).

As with Hutching's other projects, music here sounds not nostalgic but very modern. Oppositely different from over-exploited Afro-beat, "African" part of the program comes from what some decades ago was known as "Cape jazz" - relaxed soulful melodic songs well known from Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) music. Half-a-century ago this music reached to England with a wave of South African jazz musicians, running from apartheid(Louis Moholo, Johnny Dyani,etc) and was adapted as part of British avant-garde jazz of the time.

Other significant element of album's music comes from Shabaka's Caribbean background. It's really impressive how organically both parts fit producing beautiful mix of blues, calypso, spiritual jazz and elegant Cape jazz rhythms.

Released three years ago "Wisdom Of Elders" is another cornerstone of burgeoning London's young jazz scene.

SARATHY KORWAR Sarathy Korwar & The UPAJ Collective : My East Is Your West

Live album · 2018 · World Fusion
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snobb
US-born, India-grown and London-based percussionist and tabla player Sarathy Korwar debuted as leader two years ago with studio album "Day To Day" recorded in India (participating was one of the new British jazz scene's leaders - tenor Shabaka Hutchings) and released on hip Ninja Tune label. The album contained an eclectic mix of Indian music, dialogues, electronics and London sound and was a partially successful debut, hardly more.

"My East Is Your West", Korwar's second release,is a strong improvement. Massive triple-vinyl live set is all-organic and contains all-new material. Band's line-up is slightly modified with British female tenor Tamar Osborn replacing Shabaka Hutchings, additional alto sax player Jesse Bannister and improved Indian instruments section (incl. Santoor/Tabla player John Ball, Mridangam / Kanjira player B.C. Manjunath and Bansuri player Aravindhan Baheerathan).

As a result, the new band (named Upaj Collective) sounds much more "Indian" and recalls Shakti's Indian fusion sound. This is not strange, third album contains a John McLaughlin composition, "Mind Ecology". And that's only for starters - album's songs are covers of renown spiritual jazz, fusion or World fusion songs, just seriously reworked and presented as Indian music scented longish pieces.

Pharoah Sanders' "The Creator Has A Master Plan" lasts almost ten minutes and besides of main theme's intro and some snippets sounds quite different from original. Cover of Alice Coltrane "Journey In Satchidananda" is closer to how it sounded decades ago, as well as Ravi Shankar's "Mishrank". One can find Abdullah Ibrahim's "Hajj", Don Cherry's "Utopia And Visions", and Joe Henderson's "Earth" on a list among others.

With no doubt a significant component of successful result is not only strong material, but HOW the band plays it. Multicultural collective of authentically trained Indian instruments players and Europeans find a unique balance between two cultural traditions. The music is obviously Indian-influenced with characteristic arrangements, techniques and sound, but at the same time it never slips toward esoteric meditative repetitive noodling which undermined some of Shakti's later releases. Instead, the Europeans add more framed structures, rhythmic order (almost groovy in moments), and in general more accessible, slightly "westernized" sound.

A bit conventional for today's fashion, acoustic-only sound makes this album probably a bit less hip but at the same time builds a bridge with spiritual jazz and Indo-fusion of the 60s and 70s producing a music which has bigger value than just a hit of the day. One among stronger world fusion albums of the last couple decades.

JULIAN GERSTIN The Old City

Album · 2018 · World Fusion
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kev rowland
This is the follow-up to ‘The One Who Makes You Happy’, which I reviewed some time ago, and contains the same core line-up of clarinetist Anna Patton, Don Anderson on trumpet and flugelhorn, pianist Eugene Uman, bassist Wes Brown and drummer Ben James, her joined by trombonist John Wheeler, flautist Carl Clements and tenor saxophonist Jon Weeks added to the group. In addition, “Leander’s Waltz” and “The Deaf Singer” have two guest artists apiece. There aren’t many percussionists or drummers who have led bands, no matter what musical style, yet here we have Julian Gerstin, who plays the tanbou bèlè drum of Martinique, along with congas, tupan and percussion, and writes all the music.

In the digipak he explains the different styles employed within the album, from rondo, mazouk, blues, Columnbian cumbia and others. This is music which feels Caribbean in many ways due to the use of percussion, which allows a joyful feel to sit within. The brass and woodwind are controlled, sometimes screaming but at others in perfect harmony, while the additional instrumentation being employed adds additional finesse. To my ears this is an incredibly solid effort, and although not quite as vibrant as his last outing is still well worth hearing.

SAM MANGWANA Lubamba

Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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Matt
Sam Mangwana has lived, played and sang Rumba right through the golden period of African music accompanying and packing stadiums with Franco Luambo’s TPOK Jazz throughout the seventies to the early eighties and prior with Tabu Ley Rochereau in the late sixties in his African National Fiesta with another stint to follow in the late seventies with him. Considered one of the elder statesman of African music pertaining more to the Central area with his take on Congolaise music with touches of Angolan and Zimbabwean at times thrown in from his parents birth place one could say he pretty much had done it all within this genre with the popularity to go with it. Although Sam was in Franco’s TPOK Jazz and Tabu Ley’s band Afrisa he was still doing solo material and releasing his own albums as well with his second one giving him the big hit “Maria Tebbo” in 1982 albeit his biggest one with Franco was still to come in the same year being “Cooperation” ( Odongo). Still within all these bands and solo material Sam Mangwana has been far from one dimensional with Rumba being his staple and later heading towards a not so hard Soukous Sound as well as taking on Caribbean rhythms, Acoustic albums but in his later material he has returned to his Rumba roots which is what the majority of “Lubamba” contains with a beautiful laid back palm tree sound added with a slight Caribbean influence included.

It’s the album ‘s title track “Lubamba” with the horns opening within this Rumba having Sam’s smooth vocals to follow with mentions to his native Africa throughout with a delightful guitar solo placed within the song. The following “Felicite” the tempo picks up slightly with more of that beautiful Rumba guitar taking the song to a chorus with a beautiful guitar input. “Juventude Actual” based on today’s youth and sung in Portuguese has another African statesman present being the great Cameroon saxophonist Manu Dibango included within the song’s predominant guitar Latin influence with Manu just providing sax throughout the chorus and the addition of a beautiful solo included but no vocals with just Sam doing that job within this number. The tempo and bounce picks up for “Georgeta Marcory” with that Sam swing included and the following song has an electronic keyboard opening for “Luvueso” which quickly is put to the side for more of that Rumba guitar and great African chorus. “J.B. Kavungu”, “Lokossa Yo Nzombo”, Luzingu Ke Novela Ko” are the last three of the eight songs included and all are Rumba based of course within this delightful album keeping up the Tropical theme.

He has come a long way from singing in The Salvation Army choir as a child in Kinshasa up until today and I for one was pleased to see a new release from Sam Mangwana as I have always loved his take on Congolaise music with all its swing. It has been a long break for fresh material from Sam as his last prior album was “Cantos De Esperanca” in 2003 with only reissues that have followed to the release of “Lubamba” in 2016. Still the album is good but really it is for the fans and if you are looking for Soukous you won’t find any here just the old beautiful Rumba influence but really, Sam actually does not have a lot to say that’s new.

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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