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 | 5 min. caching

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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LUIZ BONFÁ Jacarandá Album Cover Jacarandá
LUIZ BONFÁ
4.83 | 4 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Astrakan Café Album Cover Astrakan Café
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.70 | 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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RALPH TOWNER City of Eyes Album Cover City of Eyes
RALPH TOWNER
5.00 | 2 ratings
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RALPH TOWNER Solo Concert Album Cover Solo Concert
RALPH TOWNER
5.00 | 2 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
4.53 | 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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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

DON CHERRY Organic Music Society

Live album · 1972 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
Every once in a while i pick up an album simply because the album cover artwork is just so beautiful that i just have to buy it so i can hear what kind of music lurks inside accompanying such visual beauty. Such was the case with DON CHERRY’s 1972 foray into his spiritual jazz meets ethnic world fusion album ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY which has one of the most colorful and stimulating wrap around album covers i’ve ever seen especially in a musical genre that tends to be conservative more often than not displaying the artists in some uninspiring pose with unobtrusive colors and settings. I actually picked up the modern CD version which is a faithful representation of the original vinyl LP only reduced in size complete with all the inner artwork and as a bonus a big fat little booklet that explains everything about this album including all kinds of juicy details of how the journey of ideas unfolded for such CHERRY’s growing interest in global fusion and how it all came together complete with archival photos as icing on the cake. Sold!

What i was expecting was the usual avant-garde free form jazz that CHERRY dished out in the 60s but what i heard instead was not only surprising but made me realize that ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY was actually his first effort in fusing world ethnic forms of music with his unique style of jazz playing and this could unofficially be thought of as the very first Codona album as 2/3 of the band is here and this was CHERRY’s first formal collaboration with berimbau player and percussionist Nana Vasconcelos. As the CD begins it doesn’t take long to realize that this isn’t a jazz album at all but a more eclectic album that does its best to incorporate as many sounds from across the globe as possible with only the occasional trumpet presenting itself on only a handful of tracks representing the world of jazz.

The album begins with “North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn” which is basically a long drawn spiritual chant with some sort of drone accompanying a repetitive litany of wordless vocalizations and a parade of percussion that alternates between some kind of bells jingling and other shaky things. The opening track does more than establish ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY as a non-jazz dominated album but also sets the tone for a contemplative and meditative experience where the listener is hypnotized by the swell of repetitive passages that only vary slightly from one measure to another. Whereas the opening track commences with nary a jazz instrument nor syncopation to be found, others such as the second track “Elixir” while not jazz per se do contain a jazz trumpet solo where CHERRY leaves his unequivocal sound after a haunting ethereal opening and in the midst of an energetic African rhythmic section where he has license to pierce the din with his high pitched squeals like an elephant trampling through the jungles of the Congo.

ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY was originally released as a double vinyl LP and just barely fits onto one modern day CD at a bloated running time of 79:35. I have to admit that this is a brilliant album that encompasses a wide swath of global timbres, styles and rhythms but at the same time it’s hard to take in on a single listen as it tends to wear out its welcome towards the end where i start itching to hear something else more energetic. A great start indeed for CHERRY’s expedition into the sonic possibilities of eclectic world jazz fusion but ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY seems like it could have been subjected to a little more editing and / or sprucing up in the experimental department but then again i’ve already been spoiled by the superior future Codona albums that would take the approach of this album and refine it into a more sophisticated tapestry of influences. This album does deliver in its ORGANIC approach nevertheless and truly feels like it was birthed in the experimental energies of the 1972 timeline. While not being my top pick for a world jazz fusion album, this album definitely has a nice meditative global feel to it that warrants a listen although best digested in partial samplings at any given time instead of a single sprawling experience since the tracks are all interesting examples of global world fusion but at the same time don’t always hang together so well. Still though, more than enough here to recommend.

SRI HANURAGA To The Universe

Album · 2015 · World Fusion
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js
There’s so much incredible jazz and fusion talent coming out of Indonesia these days, now you can add one more to the list in pianist Sri Hanuraga, who comes out in force on his new album, “To the Universe”, only his second album to date. This time out, Hanuraga is joined by the European rhythm section of Mattia Magatelli on bass, and Kristijan Krajncan on drums. Flautist Rodrigo Parejo Mateos also appears on a couple cuts as well. Like so much jazz these days, this album is very eclectic as Sri combines post bop, modern fusion and Indonesian roots music to achieve his own personal hybrids. Still, there are familiar elements to Sri’s playing, he favors a strong sharp sound in the right hand, which recalls similar pianists such as Chick Corea and Vijay Iyer, but he can also be very lyrical, along the lines of Kieth Jarret and Brad Mehldau. In his own words, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock are other pianists Sri admires.

“To the Universe” opens with jagged dissonance and the modern post bop sounds of “Teka-teki”. This track establishes the sound of much of the album, but the following three tracks might throw you a curve. The three part “Ever Changing” suite features two tracks of flute folk melodies that almost sound new age, followed by the harsh electronic jazz rock sounds of the third part. These three tracks are good in themselves, but they almost sound like they belong to a different album compared to the other seven tracks. For the remaining six tracks, Sri gets back on the Indo/post bop/fusion acoustic sounds that opened the album. Some album highlights include the moody ‘Mehldauish’ ballad “To the Universe”, and the syncopated gamelin influenced contrapuntal rhythms on “Suave Ora Jamu”.

Overall this is a good CD and should appeal to fans of modern acoustic piano jazz, but the three odd cuts might throw you off on first listen, they just don’t seem to fit the overall direction of the album.

VASIL HADŽIMANOV BAND Alive

Live album · 2016 · World Fusion
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js
Jazz fusion is alive and well in 2016, and still making a steady comeback thanks to artists like Vasil Hadzimanov and his new lively live album; “Alive”, which features Vasil’s usual electric quintet expanded with the inclusion of saxophonist David Binney. The spirit of early Weather Report can be heard on here, both the Miroslav and Alphonso versions, which is always a good thing as Vasil channels Zawinul while Binney invokes Wayne Shorter, but there is a lot more influences at work on here than just the past. Like a lot of modern fusion artists, Hadzimanov has modernized his sound with shades of electronica and drumnbass rhythms, plus influences from around the world, particularly the Balkans and North Africa. Also, like a lot of modern fusion, the boring slickness of the 80s is far behind us on “Alive”, instead, this music is raw, imaginative and energetic with a very loose approach.

“Alive” opens with two lengthy cuts that bear some resemblance to the aforementioned Weather Report, and while Vasil and David’s call and response might remind some of classic Zawinul and Shorter, over time, Binney tends to eschew the minimalist Shorter style, and instead digs deep into his saxophone with sheets of notes that recall modal masters like Kenny Garret and John Coltrane. After these two openers, things diversify a bit with the percussion led “Oldazim” and the North African rock of “Dolazim”. Later in the album, the quiet and meditative “Razbolje Se Simsir List” uses classical type motifs and “Uaiya” presents Binney’s most extensive solo. Overall there are no bum tracks on the entire album, its smokin hot from start to finish.

CHICO HAMILTON The Dealer

Album · 1966 · World Fusion
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liontime
This album is one that is loved by those who know it and yet it remains virtually unknown to the contemporary jazz community at large. It has somehow been buried deep in the large stack of great, classic jazz records. But I want to try to file this one a little higher up in that pile.

It was released in 1966, an astonishingly great year for music in many genres. It has its moments of surreal experimentation ('Thoughts,' mainly), but generally stays groovy and direct. Hamilton works beautifully with Richard Davis to produce a thumpin', psychedelic rhythm section that is unlike any other. Larry Coryell makes his recording debut on this album and he does some astonishing work on the tracks that he's on. The solos throughout the album are both parts challenging and fun.

This album is one of those albums that's so fun to listen to that it almost feels like a guilty pleasure. But there's plenty of challenging, masterful work in here to satisfy any technical or cerebral listener.

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.

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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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