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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HERMETO PASCOAL Slaves Mass Album Cover Slaves Mass
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.63 | 8 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
4.60 | 7 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Astrakan Café Album Cover Astrakan Café
ANOUAR BRAHEM
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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JOHN ZORN John Zorn / Masada Chamber Ensembles ‎: Bar Kokhba Album Cover John Zorn / Masada Chamber Ensembles ‎: Bar Kokhba
JOHN ZORN
4.43 | 9 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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RALPH TOWNER Batik Album Cover Batik
RALPH TOWNER
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

DWIKI DHARMAWAN Pasar Klewer

Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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kev rowland
Just a year on from his debut, Dwiki returned with an album that featured not only a totally different group of musicians, but a quite different approach. Instead of a whole series of keyboards, here Dwiki used just a piano. On bass, he brought in Yaron Stavi, who used an upright throughout the album (apart from one song on the second CD), while on drums he used Asaf Sirkis, so the rhythm section has a very different approach, style and sound. He didn’t bring back fellow Indonesians Tohpati and Dewa Budjana on guitars, instead using Mark Wingfield and Nicolas Meier. Add to that some Gamelan instruments plus clarinet and sax, and from the outset this is very different indeed.

It is not surprising therefore, as to just how different this album is from the previous. It is also a double CD, which gives the guys the chance to expand on their ideas (and amazingly was recorded in just two days). With this release Dharmawan wanted to try something different. "Indonesia is the place of 'ultimate diversity,'" the pianist says. "Here, the urban cultures accelerate the 'acculturation' process, which generates changes in cultural patterns and creates new forms of musical expression. ‘Pasar Klewer’ is the answer to my search for 'the difference,' and also a valuable answer to our modern crises and urban uprooting. The album's distinctive sound originates from an ancient Gamelan tonal system called Salendro, known in the Karawitan traditional music of the Sundanese, Javanese and Balinese. Based on the Gamelan tonal system, I also adapted, as my inspiration, other musical elements from all over the Indonesian archipelago, as well as the western diatonic system."

I do have to take his word for it, as all I know is that I haven’t heard anything quite like this before. This is world fusion on an epic scale, bringing jazz together with progressive tendencies, and then wrapping it up on a musical form that is quite different to western ears as he mixes it all up with styles from his home. There is a freedom and space within the music, that makes it feel live a living breathing entity, and very quickly the listener is immersed in a brand-new world. It is full of energy, full of life, and is an amazing musical experience

SIMAK DIALOG Live at Orion

Live album · 2015 · World Fusion
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kev rowland


Recorded live on September 7, 2013, at The Orion, Baltimore, MD, this was to be the final release for simakDialog. Looking back to their previous live album from 2005, Ravid, Tohpati and Endang were still there, with bassist Rudy Zulkarnaen and additional percussionists in Erlan Suwardana and Cucu Kurnia. This release is a double CD, and again none of the songs are less than eleven minutes in length, and the band are determined to stretch their wings. “Throwing Words” is very different in the live environment to when it was released some ten plus years earlier, with Tohpati demanding centre stage and taking firm control. The band had been together for twenty years by this point, and the way that Tohpati and Ravid swap roles and bounce off each other in superb.

Here is a band where everyone is a master of their instrument and knows exactly where each of them needs to be musically, but the coming together of Western and Indonesian styles and sounds allows them to sound both incredibly tight and loose at the same time. Just listen to the combined runs of Tohpati and Ravid at the beginning of “Stepping In” to see what I mean, as while they are hitting each note in perfect unison at great speed, the percussionists are creating a sound storm beneath them. This album is a perfect introduction to a great band, who never really gained the kudos they deserved outside their native country. Discover this, and then go back and listen to their other releases to see why I am such a fan.

SIMAK DIALOG Patahan

Live album · 2007 · World Fusion
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kev rowland


‘Patahan’ was their first live album, released in 2005, and there had been quite a change in line-up between this and the last studio album, ‘Trance/Mission’, with just Ravid and Tohpati plus percussionist Endang Ramdan still involved. When one first starts playing this it is hard to realise that this is a “live” album as the audience is so quiet, and there is no introduction or announcement, but straight into “One Has To Be”, which is a piano tour-de-force. This is all about Ravid, a maestro in total control of his instrument, with the rest of the guys happy to provide the gentle percussive background which is all that is needed. When Tohpati finally takes centre stage, it is restrained, almost as if he is having to pull the notes up from great depth, showing great control and sustain, Hackett combining with McLaughlin.

There are just five songs on the album, but with the shortest at eleven and the longest at nearly twenty there is plenty here to enjoy. It isn’t always gentle and reflective, and there are times when the band feels far more menacing, such as on “Kemarau”, where the riffs give way to repeated piano motifs while the percussionists build the scene ready for Tohpati to take it to another level. We’ve gone from the delight of bands such as Santana into something that could almost be from ‘The Exorcist’, albeit with a tribal background. Here is a band made up of consummate musicians, working together to produce something that is very special indeed. Fusion in it its truest sense, this is indispensable.

SIMAK DIALOG Trance/ Mission

Album · 2002 · World Fusion
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kev rowland


Formed in 1993, simakDIALOG were an Indonesian fusion band who released their first album as along ago as 1995, with ‘Trance/Mission’ being their third in 2002. Throughout their career their music centred around the soloing and fluidity of the keyboard player Ravid Arshad and guitarist Tohpati, combined with local Gamelan music to create something that was incredibly accessible to Western ears, yet also stayed very true to their roots. The fluidity and melody of Ravid and Tohpati is incredible, relying far more on intricate runs than the use of chords, with each both being prepared to take the lead, duet with the other, or even take a total break from the music altogether. It isn’t unusual to find one of them totally absent for long periods of time, just to give the other more space to move and breathe. Tohpati always makes me think of John McLaughlin, and strangely so does Ravid although he is playing keyboards, which is probably why they work so well together.

Ravid uses an electric organ to great effect on this album, with my favourite number probably “Throwing Words” where Tohpati lets Ravid get on with it, until he comes back with a slightly distorted guitar which is totally at odds with what has been going on before, really shifting the timbre and style of music. Indro Hardjodikoro has a delicate touch on the bass, providing warmth and filling the gaps between the melody makers and the percussion. There are three guys playing a variety of Indonesian instruments that provide an authenticity and realism to the music, a total fusion not just of jazz and rock, but world music and the west.

TOHPATI Mata Hati

Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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kev rowland


Tohpati Ario Hutomo (a.k.a. Bontot) is probably best known for his twenty-year tenure in the incredible simakDialog, but he launched his project Ethnomission back in 2010 with ‘Save The Planet’, and at long last he has brought the band back for a second venture. He of course provides all the guitars, and is joined by Demas Narawangsa (drums), Indro Hardjodikoro (bass), Endang Ramdan /(kendang – a type of two-headed drum used particularly in Gamelan ensembles) and Diki Suwarjiki (suling – a bamboo ring flute, also used in Gamelan ensembles). If that wasn’t enough, they are all joined on the opening track by the Czech Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michaela Ruzickova, which certainly adds a different feel to the overall piece.

With the instrumentation being used, it would be easy to imagine that this is a hard to listen to (to Western ears) romp through traditional Indonesian music, but that is a long way from reality. Tohpati is a guitarist with an incredibly clear sound, and while he is often at the core of what is taking place, he knows just when it is time to step to one side and let others take over. Indro is a revelation, with some stunning bass lines, and one can imagine Tohpati there with a huge smile on his face as he lets his bandmate take centre stage. There is a lot of Indonesian musical references and styles, of course, but this is fusion at its very truest, fusing not only jazz and melody but also Asia and the West in a way that is seamless, marvellous, and entrancing. There is only one thing to be done with an album as good as this. When you shake yourself back into the real world after the fifty-two minutes have flown by, have a good stretch, settle back, and put it on again.

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)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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