World Fusion

Jazz music community with reviews, MP3 (free download/stream) 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 | 5 min. caching

ANOUAR BRAHEM Le pas du chat noir Album Cover Le pas du chat noir
ANOUAR BRAHEM
5.00 | 3 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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PAT METHENY The Road To You (Recorded Live In Europe) (PMG) Album Cover The Road To You (Recorded Live In Europe) (PMG)
PAT METHENY
4.59 | 7 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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TRILOK GURTU The Glimpse Album Cover The Glimpse
TRILOK GURTU
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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JOHN ZORN Bar Kokhba Album Cover Bar Kokhba
JOHN ZORN
4.48 | 6 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

GILAD ATZMON Gilad Atzmon And The Orient House Ensemble: The Whistle Blower

Album · 2015 · World Fusion
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js
The word ‘Orient’ is a word that is often misused in Western culture, although many have tried to equate the word with southeast Asia, in actuality, the term was originally intended for what we now call the Middle East. It is with this original definition in mind that saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and his Orient House Ensemble present their Middle-Eastern flavored fusion on their new album, “The Whistle Blower”. Atzmon and his crew have been around since 2000, and this is their 8th album. As for Gilad’s ‘Oriental’ band, Frank Harrison returns on keyboards, and Yaron Stavi returns on bass, while newcomer Chris Higginbottom is in the drum chair.

“The Whistle Blower” opens strong with the high energy drumnbass/Middle Eastern fusion drive of “Gaza Mon Amour”, Atzmon turns in a furiously intense solo on this one. It’s a great cut, but its also a bit of a tease as the band never plays another track with this kind of upbeat energy for the rest of the album, not that rest of the album is bad, just different. After this opener, Gilad treats us to two ballads, with “The Romantic Church” having the stronger melody. Next is some Coltrane styled ‘spiritual jazz’ in the name of “Let Us Pray”. Atzmon and his band are capable with these sort of post bop modal excursions, but still, Gilad’s solos seem to fit better with that earlier ‘oriental’ fusion approach. The next three cuts reveal two more ballads and another semi-free post bop number. This CD closes with the title track, which is a totally unexpected cheezy ‘exotica’ number that is actually a lot of fun, if a bit out of place.

Many great jazz artists have released albums that were made up entirely of ballads, in fact, it seems like that’s a rite of passage for those who seek immortality. Possibly Gilad should consider releasing such an all ballad album, because on an album like “Whistle Blower”, which features so many slower tempos, the few upbeat tracks seem almost out of place. On the other hand, if Atzmon wants to put out a truly eclectic and colorful album, more tracks like the opener and closer would help diversify things. Still, this is a good album and recommended for fans of Atzmon, virtuoso soprano sax playing and contemporary jazz in general.

GUNESH Rishad Shafi Presents Gunesh

Boxset / Compilation · 1999 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
RISHAD SHAFI PRESENTS GUNESH is a compilation album released in 1999 and contains the first two albums of the GUNESH ENSEMBLE: “Гунеш (Gunesh)” and “Вижу Землю ( I See Earth)” Previously these two albums were only available on one initial vinyl pressing and have remained rare and most likely quite pricey if you can even find one. As a lover of this type of eclectic world fusion of ethnic traditional sounds and jazz-rock, i am eternally grateful that someone took the initiative to make this music available at a reasonable price.

The one drawback to this compilation is that not only does it contain zero bonus or extra tracks, it also omits two tracks from the debut album: “Акжа Кепдери (4:03)“ and “Ялан (2:44). It also for some mysterious reason changed the titles of several tracks:

Original GUNESH album / RISHAD SHAFI PRESENTS…

Жиги-Жиги (Девушка) (3:42) / Младший Брат · The Younger Brother

2. Туни Деряп (5:28) / Плач Шасанем · The Lamentation Of Shahsanem

3. Акжа Кепдери (4:03) / omitted

4. Восточный Сувенир (4:58) / same title (Oriental Souvenir)

5. Кечпелек (7:08) / Горькая Судьба · Bitter Fate

6. Ялан (2:44) / omitted

7. Коне Гузер (4:15) / Свидание С Милой · Date With A Sweetheart

8. Арманым Галды (3:12) / Утолённая Любовь · Requited Love

The pluses are that the packaging is bilingual in English and Russian and tells the story of the GUNESH ENSEMBLE’s history in the Soviet Union era Turkmenistan and of course that this wonderful music is available on CD! This is worth the price of admission for the second album alone but six out of eight tracks off the debut album are quite worth hearing as well. Another band that i would’ve loved to hear a few more albums from.

Album 1 = 4 stars Album 2 = 5 stars Thus 4.5 stars

GUNESH Гунеш

Album · 1980 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
The GUNESH ENSEMBLE (Гунеш) actually formed all the way back in 1970 and went through various lineups. In the beginning the ensemble was featured on the State TV And Radio Company Of The Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic, now more familiar as Turkmenistan. While the band began as a vocal group with supporting instrumentation, it was the drummer Rishad Shafi who had the itch to pursue the jazz-fusion world and attracted other members who wished to do the same.

Throughout the 70s the band entered contests throughout the Soviet Union and won first prize in many of the competitions for their highly developed take on traditional mughams and jazz improvisations. A mugham is a very complex musical art that combines classical poetry and musical improv. It is a modal system, but unlike Western systems it is not only used with scales but rather is a collection of melodies that enrich the improvisation that is enhanced for a specific event. This can mean increased intensity, rising pitches or even fusing poetic interpretation into musical form. This is a very common art form in this part of the world.

After ten long years and countless performances the GUNESH ENSEMBLE finally released their debut album Гунеш (GUNESH) in 1980. Unlike the spectacular second release and mega-masterpiece “Вижу Землю (Looking At Earth)” which dosed everything jazz-world-fusion-rock in heavy steroids, this debut release finds the band on a less ambitious journey although it is by no means a sleeper. Whereas the second album finds any global influence fair game, this one is more focused on traditional Turkmen music with a healthy jazzy horn section mixed with some veritable progressive rock which is heard mainly in the drum section as well as with the guitar. This first release has a lot more tracks focusing on vocals and harmonies which are less frantic without the playful trumpets, trombones, flutes and keyboards that dominate the instrumentals.

While this debut album by the GUNESH ENSEMBLE isn’t nearly as brilliant as the second, it is a beautiful debut that takes you to a lonely corner of the globe where very little is known to the average Westerner and extremely well progressive music like this shouldn’t be missed. This album had only one vinyl release in 1980 and is probably impossible to find but fear not. Rishad Shafi released the first two albums on CD titled “Rishad Shafi Presents Gunesh.”

DEXTER JOHNSON Dexter Johnson & Le Super Star de Dakar : Live À l’Étoile

Live album · 2014 · World Fusion
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Matt
Dexter Johnson was born in Nigeria in 1932 and at the age of 25 in 1957 after a brief stint in Bamako, Mali, arrived in Dakar, Senegal. He was a percussionist at the beginning but changed to saxophone after studying music for two years in Nigeria. Afro Cuban or Son was his repertoire primarily and his music resonated with these rhythms throughout his musical career as this album, “Live a` l’Etoile” beautifully demonstrates. The band, Le Super Star of Dakar were called prior to this throughout most of the sixties just, Star Band of Dakar with Laba Sosseh on vocals who had not long left prior to this recording. The band had also dropped the trumpet in it’s make up and there is no piano which is replaced with two guitars with the addition of electric bass, timbales, percussion and four vocalists with coro duties shared amongst them when not singing lead bringing a distinct African sound and influence within the Afro Cuban rhythms incorporated in the album’s songs. Yes, it has that beautiful sleaze included or more of a slight slow drag within, which only the West Africans during this time period perfected within their sound due to the bands different line up to a typical Cuban Conjunto.

The record which has been released comes as a double album with 13 songs included with the Mexican film classic “Angelitos Negros” opening with Dexter on saxophone over a slow rhythm during the song using two vocalists that share lead duties with a beautifully slow picked electric lead following. The tempo picks up for “Para Que Bueno” with a great solo and input from Dexter’s alto included with a wonderful catchy montuno for the songs ending with Dexter also darting in and out on his horn between the coros. “Mayeya” that follows is a lovely rural Cuban style number with some stunning electric guitar input. The rest of the album keeps up this high standard right throughout with even an English number thrown in “Something You Got” but it is the sleaze with the slower tempo songs that stand out for that unique sound that came from these West African Bands during this period with “Caminho de Sao Tome” and the beautiful “El Corazon” containing Dexter’s dreamy stunning saxophone being prime examples. There are wonderful up tempo numbers included such as “Borinquen Tropical” and “Malonga” with many others that you may consider personally better as there is not a poor track contained within the album’s entire thirteen songs.

One feels like you have just opened an old time capsule when the needle hits the groove as the sound is not pristine but one that represents the sounds from this period with some of its limitations and I myself would have it no other way as that is how I have grown and love to hear old African music. Sublime is only word that I can find to describe this release as we have not had some fresh old African music come out in quite a while. Great job from Teranga Beat label who have also released quite a few others from this great period in African Music. Very Highly recommended for old music lovers like myself.

The Star band went on to produce in the seventies through its members, Orchestra Baobab, Papa Seck (Africando), Nicholas Menheim ( Africando) and the most famous of them all Youssou N’Dour but these old Afro Cuban rhythms they played would be gradually replaced by Mbalax. Still Dexter Johnson stayed Afro Cuban right till the end in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) , 1981.

RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA Bird Calls

Album · 2015 · World Fusion
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snobb
Italy-born US-based sax player Rudresh Mahanthappa third album in row on German ACT label is in many senses a return to his roots. First of all, all album is dedicated to Charlie Parker (who Rudresh counts as his main influence from early age). Second, after two ACT released strongly Asian music influenced albums, "Bird Calls" is much closer to Rudresh early freer and more jazzy works. Even bassist Francois Moutin, who started collaboration with Mahanthappa as far as on his second album in 2002, is presented here.

Three other members of new quintet are pianist Matt Mitchell, drummer Rudy Royston and third generation jazz musician trumpeter Adam O'Farrill(both his grandfather and father are well-known Afro-Cuban jazz artists).

Nothing on this album comes directly from Parker's legacy - all compositions are Mahanthappa originals. Even by its sound they recall more Ornette Coleman that Charlie Parker. There is no mistake in album's dedication though - Rudresh uses Parker's tunes and ideas deconstructing them and adding as micro-scoping elements (together with his Indian heritage elements) in absolutely new music.

The result is new, fresh and modern sounding. Rudresh saxophone playing techniques are fast and pedantically precise,as his sound is. Those familiar with his earlier (mostly US-recorded) music will find here his characteristic attention to details and internal structure against catchy tunes (two previous ACT albums were more tuneful and soulful in contrast); still one can't call this music tuneless. Just combined of myriads of small elements musical mosaic is similar to kaleidoscope where each moment's view is much more impressive than final impression after all pictures series.

As always with Mahanthappa's music, it is full of muscular energy and even is his sax is on the front there are lot of space for all band's members.Still, he's obvious leader here. Probably main attraction of this release comes from unique fragile balance between jazz tradition,Indian music elements and modern arrangement when all three components are presented in equal proportions.As a result listener can really enjoy synthesis of rich components without domination or confrontation between them.

It's more a question of taste but I really enjoyed this new Rudresh album more than the music from his two previous ACT releases where jazz component too often has been almost lost under the domination of different folklore material. One great new 2015 ACT season opener.

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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.

Artists with World Fusion release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
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MILES DAVIS
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The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Post Bop
CHARLES MINGUS
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A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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'Out to Lunch!' Avant-Garde Jazz
ERIC DOLPHY
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Miles Smiles Post Bop
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