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 | 60 min. caching

LUIZ BONFÁ Jacarandá (aka Todo o Nada) Album Cover Jacarandá (aka Todo o Nada)
LUIZ BONFÁ
4.79 | 5 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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HERMETO PASCOAL Slaves Mass Album Cover Slaves Mass
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.63 | 8 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Le pas du chat noir Album Cover Le pas du chat noir
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.75 | 4 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Astrakan Café Album Cover Astrakan Café
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.59 | 7 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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JOHN ZORN John Zorn / Masada Chamber Ensembles ‎: Bar Kokhba Album Cover John Zorn / Masada Chamber Ensembles ‎: Bar Kokhba
JOHN ZORN
4.44 | 8 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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OREGON Winter Light Album Cover Winter Light
OREGON
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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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

ALICE COLTRANE Turiya Alice Coltrane & Devadip Carlos Santana : Illuminations

Album · 1974 · World Fusion
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Miler72
I'm certain Carlos Santana wanted to meet up and perhaps collaborate with John Coltrane, but it was obviously too late as he passed away in 1967, and Santana had just formed and their debut album won't see the light of day for another two years. It's clear Mr. Santana was a big fan. At least many years later, after being a disciple of Sri Chimnoy, and already releasing a coupe of fusion albums with Santana (Caravanserai, Welcome) and with John McLaughlin (Love, Devotion, Surrender), he got to collaborate with John Coltrane's widow Alice Coltrane. I knew right away this wasn't going to be a Santana album. Much of side one consists of orchestral passages with Mr. Santana's unmistakable guitar playing and some really nice harp playing from Ms. Coltrane. This is truly stuff that you can't imagine being on Caravanserai, Welcome or Borboletta. It's great stuff indeed. "Angel of Sunlight" is the closer to Love, Devotion, Surrender in spirit, has that same intense jamming, although with more of an Indian influence. Tablas are used but also drumming from Jack DeJohnette, and congas from Armando Peraza, Afro-Cuban percussionist, who, unsurprisingly, played with Santana. I also dig the cover, it reminds me of artwork you'd see on various versions of the Bhagavad Gita, which I guess was intentional, given Mr. Santana's association with Sri Chimnoy (Alice Coltrane wasn't a disciple of Sri Chimnoy, though). Rather unique stuff that's well worth having!

TOHPATI Mata Hati

Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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js
Indonesian guitar virtuoso Tohpati has several group names he works with, and many of those groups lean towards a Western jazz fusion sound, but its in his group known as Tohpati Ethnomission that Tohpati gets deeper into his Indonesian roots, and mixes those roots with the Western sounds of jazz fusion and hard rock. You might think that Gamelan, jazz, pastoral folk melodies and heavy metal guitar would make for an unlikely mix, but on “Mata Hati”, Tohpati and his Ethnomission crew pull it off and come up with some music that sounds like nobody else. Although fellow Indonesian fusion musicians such as Dewa Budjana and Dwiki Dharmawan have been working with large ensembles and multiple guest musicians, Tohpati keeps things simple on here with his core group of Indro Hardjodikoro on bass, Diki Suwarjiki on suling bamboo flute, Endang Ramdan on kendang percussion and Demas Narawangsa on drums. The Czech Symphony Orchestra guests on the opening track, but that is all.

The orchestrated “Jangar” opens the album sounding a lot like a dramatic South Asian movie soundtrack, despite the Indonesian melodies, the sound of this number may remind some of the well-known Indian ‘Bollywood’ soundtracks. Follow up “Tanah Emas” introduces Tohpati’s unlikely mix of ‘Gamelan’ type rhythmic figures and heavy guitar, but as mentioned earlier, this stuff really rocks in its own odd way. Other memorable tracks include the beautifully melodic “Mata Hati” and closing track “Amarah”, which features slashing metal guitars topped by a slow moving bamboo flute melody. Possibly the best track on the album though is “Reog”, which features a super funky hard rock guitar riff that Prince would have been proud to call his own.

There is lots of great fusion coming out of Indonesia these days, but with his use of insistent classical Indonesian rhythms, Tohpati has separated himself from the crowd on “Mata Hati”. Another Tohpati fusion group, Simak Dialog, deals with some similar material in their music, but Dialog’s more hippiefied rustic sound is quite different from Tohpati Ethnomission’s heavier sound. Did I forget to mention that Tohpati tears up the fretboards on this album on heavy distorted guitar, as well as more bluesy-jazzy Herndrix sounds and acoustic guitar as well.

STEVE SMITH Steve Smith, George Brooks & Prasanna : Raga Bop Trio

Album · 2010 · World Fusion
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js
Ragabop Trio is Steve Smith on drums, Prasanna on guitar and George Brooks on saxophone, three experts in the fine art of Indian jazz-rock fusion. This first effort, also called 'Ragabop Trio', reveals a lot of talent as well as a few possible problems. The big plus is Prasanna’s considerable skills on the electric guitar. I’m not sure how he produces intricate South Indian Carnatic micro-tonal note bends on an electric guitar, but he does and his ornaments are deadly accurate and authentic, but most importantly, they sound great.

Not everything is all Indian jazz-rock on here, on a few tunes they also turn to African fusion to provide some rhythmic foundation. The variety of styles they perform can be interesting, but sometimes it seems like this CD lacks focus or some kind of anchor point. Overall though, I think the biggest problem here is the lack of a bass player. I can see that by excluding the bass they have created a more Indian style ensemble with Smith acting as a tabla player on the trap set with the other two providing the raga like solos, which is fine on some of the more Indian styled cuts, but on the more rockin or funky numbers the lack of bass really sticks out and makes the music sound empty.

Some of the best cuts include: ‘Tug of War’, a fast paced fusion workout with lots of great guitar leads, ‘Garuda’, a beautiful mellow African melody and ‘Katayini’, a cool groove number with excellent alternating raga melodies. That last one could show up on some exotica collections someday. The least successful cut is ‘The Geometry of Rap’, in which Steve Smith presents Indian rhythm counting syllables (konnakol) as a sort of rap. It comes across as something that is clever the first time you do it, but not something to put on your CD. Besides, as a rap song, its not very good. I think I have heard someone else trying to use konnakol as rap, probably one of those things that will make the rounds for a while and then disappear for good, sort of like parachute pants.

I think fans of Indian fusion will find a lot of things to enjoy here. A couple songs are excellent and Prasanna’s guitar playing is a revelation, but I think a little more musical unity and at least an occasional bass player could do this band some good.

DEWA BUDJANA Zentuary

Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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js
Maybe there’s something in the water down there in Indonesia, but an already active fusion scene seems to keep getting better and better. Recently Dwiki Dharmawan raised the bar with his massive double CD, “Pasar Klewer”, which combined all manner of jazz, fusion and south Asian music and instruments. Not to be out done, Dewa Budjana has responded with his own epic double CD (3 LP!) offering, “Zentuary”, that mixes together fusion, Indonesian music, post bop and classic progressive rock into a strong unified musical vision. Dewa brings some definite heavy hitters on board to help with his massive creation, including Tony Levin on bass, and Gary Husband and Jack DeJonette sharing drums and keyboards. Tim Garland and Danny Markovitch play sax on a few cuts, and Guthrie Govan plays guitar on one track. A variety of other guests provide Indonesian vocals and flute.

Although Budjana combines many musical influences on “Zentuary”, the eventual outcome becomes his own personal creation, a style of music that belongs solely to Budjana. One of the first things one may notice is a lack of western style four beat groove that is often associated with jazz rock, instead, much of the material on here is in a flowing 3 beat groove, or some other odd metered rhythm, which both Husband and DeJohnette play with a hint of post bop swing. This isn’t ‘heavy rock’ fusion, but it does get intense, especially when Budjana is firing away on his noisy distorted guitar. Then, at other times, Dewa will play in a more melodic acoustic style that recalls Nicolas Meier.

Every track on “Zentuary” is strong, with both Cds opening with intense lengthy multi-sectioned tracks, then closing out with tracks that are more melodic and concise. Some musical highlights include Guthrie Govan’s Pink Floyd style guitar solo on the beautifully melodic “Suniakala”, and Jack DeJohnette’s intense piano solo, that channels Monk, Cecil Taylor and Matthew Shipp, on “Uncle Jack”. It sure would be nice to hear some more piano from this already amazing drummer.

NICOLAS MEIER Infinity

Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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js
Nicolas Meier had been the best guitar player nobody heard of for some time before some high profile gigs with Jeff Beck changed all that. An inventive guitar duo group with Pete Oxley also helped raise his profile, and now his joining with top notch labels like MGP and MoonJiune should help put Meier in the limelight where he belongs. A virtuoso on a multitude of fretted and non-fretted string instruments, Nicolas is equally at home playing jazz, fusion, metalish-rock or music from around the entire world. On his recent CD, “Infinity”, Meier displays his love for mid-Eastern fusion mixed with contemporary jazz and classic progressive rock.

“Infinity” opens with the heavy riffing of “The Eye of Horus”, which sounds like a Turkish influenced blend of Cream and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Some may be surprised that following track, “Still Beautiful”, offers a softer side to Meier’s music, but “Infinity” is not your typical guitar slinging hyper active fusion album, as Meier also draws upon a highly developed sense of melody and texture too. Many of the tracks on here feature Meier’s Middle-Eastern fusion, but there are others, such as the aforementioned “Still Beautiful”, as well as “Tales”. “Rose on Water” and “Serene” that are more similar to a cross between European contemporary jazz and progressive rock ballads. Of this bunch. “Rose on Water” stands out. Of the fusion tracks, the high energy of “Legend” and “Flying Spirits” capture Meier’s more aggressive playing. The sound of violin figures heavily throughout this album as three guest violinists make sure the instrument is featured on almost every track. The album closes with “JB Top”, supposedly a tribute to Billy Gibbons, but this track doesn’t sound like ZZ Top, but more like generic rock that sounds out of place compared to the rest of the tracks.

“Infinity” has cross appeal to a variety of audiences, including fans of Turkish music, jazz fusion, contemporary jazz and progressive rock. Every track has its own unique orchestrated electro-acoustic sound. with enough interesting arrangements to keep the listener engaged.

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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