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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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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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

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).

BROOKLYN RAGA MASSIVE Terry Riley in C

Live album · 2017 · World Fusion
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js
Terry Riley’s “In C” was a groundbreaking work within the confines of Western concert hall music. Its use of small melodic fragments that the members of the orchestra could choose to play at will helped introduce improvisation to the Western concert hall world, while its pulsing rhythms and homogenous tonal sound spearheaded a movement that became known as ‘minimalism’, something that was quite different from the 12-tone serialism and atonality that preceded “In C“. Since the late 60s, when “In C’ made its first appearance, it has been re-interpreted in many guises, including versions for ensembles who created African and Chinese versions of this malleable composition, which leads us to this latest version by Brooklyn Raga Massive . Brooklyn Raga Massive is an open-minded collective of performers who are well versed in the art of Indian classical music, but they are also willing to experiment with other musicians and styles of music too. This new version of “In C” is quite different from the original in may ways, and whether or not that is good or bad will probably vary from person to person.

The original “In C” had no one keeping time, there was an implied pulse, but the lack of strict time gave the piece a hallucinogenic ebb and flow that was one of it’s main appealing features. Featuring a different approach, this new version by the Raga Massive has a steady pulse supplied by the tabla, which gives the piece a groove more in common with modern ambient electronica. This trance element works well when the piece first opens, but after a while you may find yourself missing the more vague and slippery nature of the original. Terry Riley himself listened to this Raga version in rehearsal and was pleased with what he was hearing, but maybe he too was concerned about possible tedium in this new version because he suggested that the ensemble should add solos to the mix. This turned out to be a brilliant idea as the solos on sitar, violin, flute, vocals and other instruments add much more interest and excitement to the piece.

So once again “In C’ is given another face lift, as will probably happen again and again for many decades to come. Try out the original and this new version and see if you prefer the more dreamlike, yet insistent original, or this more Indian fusion meets techno-trance with driving solos modern version.

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

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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)

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