World Fusion

Jazz music community with review and forums

Some music resources use the word 'World' to basically mean the non-Western world. At JMA we reject such antiquated colonial attitudes. When we use the term 'World', we are referring to the entire world; east, west, north and south. Since we already have two genres for African and Caribbean music, and three for Latin Jazz, our World Fusion genre covers everyone else and is made up of music that comes from the intermingling of jazz with traditional music from Asia, Europe, The Middle East, North America and Australia. Our World Fusion genre also includes music that combines many different cultures from any part of the globe.

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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GUNESH Вижу Землю (I See The Earth) Album Cover Вижу Землю (I See The Earth)
GUNESH
4.92 | 3 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 Pat Metheny Group ‎: Offramp Album Cover Pat Metheny Group ‎: Offramp
PAT METHENY
4.41 | 20 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 Pat Metheny Group ‎: The Road To You (Recorded Live In Europe) Album Cover Pat Metheny Group ‎: The Road To You (Recorded Live In Europe)
PAT METHENY
4.36 | 9 ratings
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AVISHAI COHEN (BASS) Continuo Album Cover Continuo
AVISHAI COHEN (BASS)
4.50 | 4 ratings
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OREGON Winter Light Album Cover Winter Light
OREGON
4.33 | 9 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

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN John McLaughlin, Shankar Mahadevan, Zakir Hussain : Is That So?

Album · 2020 · World Fusion
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snobb
Living legend English guitarist John McLaughlin is a man responsible for probably best ever recorded guitar fusion album. His early interest to Indian music (and culture in general)is well documented on "My Goal's Beyond"(1971) and more significantly on early Shakti albums which were again excellent examples of Indo-fusion.

Don't be fooled by the name though - the newest work, credited to McLaughlin as leader, "Is That So?", is not in the league of both above mentioned masterpieces.To be honest, "Is That So?" in reality is first of all vocal album of prolific Indian singer and films soundtrack composer Shankar Mahadevan. Being a cult figure in India, he's almost unknown in Western world, so crediting his album to McLaughlin as leader is understandable marketing trick for American label AbstractLogix,who released the album just a week ago.

Then,under the cover we have what we have. Shankar Mahadevan sings six lyrical songs,ballads of sort, under minimalist accompaniment of McLaughlin processed guitars and even more minimalist licks of another Indian,former Shakti tabla player Zakir Hussain.

Fortunately, all music doesn't sound as Bollywood soundtrack. It is more rooted to Indian traditional sound, but it is still first of all singer's album. McLaughlin guitars sound processed using computer,is liquid,rhythm-less and hardly differs from what could be produced using inexpensive synths. Tabla's soloing is most livable and most attractive element of all music, but we don't get a lot of it. Harmony-less Indian music without rhythmic component after some time sounds same again and again, at least for Westerner's ear.

Quite a weird release,it will hardly attract McLaughlin guitar work's fans or even Shakti early albums lovers. Maybe Shankar Mahadevan singing followers will find it interesting though.

NICOLAS MEIER Nicolas Meier World Group : Peaceful

Album · 2019 · World Fusion
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js
Nicolas Meier’s new album may be titled “Peaceful”, but don’t expect music that is timid or dull, instead, the music on here is exciting, energetic and very rhythmic. More than likely the term peaceful alludes to the positive vibes and peace encouraging all inclusive international flavor of Meier’s latest opus. For this one Nicolas has assembled his all acoustic World Group Quartet, consisting of himself on fretted and fretless guitars, Kevin Glasgow on bass, Richard Jones on violin and Demi Garcia on percussion. Together they take on musical styles from all over the globe including Gypsy, Samba, Middle Eastern, Spanish, Turkish and more. Meier takes most of the solos, and much like fellow guitarist George Benson, Nicolas makes his fleet scale runs sound easy, as if he is never breaking a sweat as he pulls of runs that would fatigue most. Jones takes a few solos too, but often backs up Nicolas with harmonies and background pedal points.

“Peaceful” opens with, “Besiktas”, a very continental flavored waltz with a bit of gypsy to it before they head into the high energy “Manzanita Samba”. The CD title track is a floating middle-eastern flavored ambient track that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Bill Laswell album. Many of the following tracks continue the middle eastern theme, often with very pronounced percussion driven grooves. “Water Lillies” takes us to Spain complete with the requisite hand clapping rhythmic backing. The album closes with “Soho Square’, a bluesy number with a loping rhythm somewhere in between gospel and western swing. Quite simply, “Peaceful” is as pleasant as the title implies, but never placid.

PIGBAG Dr Heckle And Mr Jive

Album · 1982 · World Fusion
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js
If you have been keeping up with current sounds from England, then possibly you are familiar with today’s youthful streetwise high energy music that features a charged up punky approach to Afrobeat, often with some hip hop, spiritual jazz and other urban flavors thrown into the mix as well. Likewise, if you have followed UK’s popular music for many decades then possibly your initial introduction to today’s sound might have carried some reminders from the past, if so, then its possible you are recalling a short lived early 80s outfit known as Pigbag. Its hard to believe that Pigbag happened almost 40 years ago, but back then they turned a lot of heads with their hyperactive and free wheeling approach to current African dance music. There are some big differences between today’s scene and Pigbag. The scene today is driven by those of African descent who are bound together in political and cultural struggle and their music reflects that. Pigbag, on the other hand, was predominantly (if not entirely) Caucasian and not particularly political. Another difference is that today's players are more sophisticated and technically developed than Pigbag. At this point it should be pointed out that the originator of street level politically charged African dance music is of course Fela Kuti and his Afrobeat bands. Pigbag was merely an approximation of what Fela was all about.

The band was started by Chris Hamlin and Roger Freeman, but when Chris Lee and James Johnston joined, the ability to move beyond just jamming with friends to more professional level aspirations became possible. In the early 80s they were the right thing at the right time. The English youth had burned out on punk rock and a more biracial music scene was building around the 2-tone ska movement. It was during this initial heady success that Pigbag released their first long player, “Dr Heckle and Mr Jive”. Within these grooves you can hear their recipe for success as they play hyper African dance beats topped with electronic sounds and screeching horns. Pigbag was not a particularly technical band, their rhythms were solid and the horn charts were tight, but no one in the band could really build a solo, no big deal, this was dance music, not jazz. To this day this is still a fun album, not great for deep listening, but perfect for a party, and given what is happening today, it still sounds somewhat contemporary.

ANTHONY JOSEPH People of the Sun

Album · 2018 · World Fusion
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snobb
I really like having the opportunity to hear your beloved album at a live concert, it doesn't happen as often as I would like unfortunately. In case with Anthony Joseph "People Of The Sun" I was lucky enough to experience that.

Released on the tiny French label Heavenly Sweetness, "People Of The Sun" demonstrates fashionable new London jazz with its Caribbean influences. Trinidad-born band's front man Anthony Joseph (who is a professor of creative literature at London University) prefers to call himself a poet, and is obviously rooted in the free jazz and spoken word traditions of the late 60s and Gil Scott-Heron legacy. Joseph is more Caribbean Leonard Cohen than Amiri Baraka.

Album music is full of calypso, salsa, reggae, steel pans sound and Latin accent. Anthony combines his homeland rhythms with funk and spiritual jazz adding slightly melancholic lyrics without avoiding sharper themes such as slavery or problems of more current life in the Caribbean. All of this is offered with philosophical elegance and doesn't quite sound similar to an "angry men" street manifesto at all.

With fifteen musicians participating, the musical part is well-arranged with a percussive relaxed sound, accessible and very dance-able. Short instrumental solos are presented here and there as spices in a brew, it adds to the music's very livable and even hip feel, being in reality not all that simple, the album is very accessible and vibrant.

Returning back to their show, there was a smaller band of slightly different line-up playing live. They sounded much heavier, less refined and recalled more funk-rock garage band than relaxed Caribbean orchestra as heard on album. The compositions played were mostly all more extended with burning long soloing (partially Jason Yarde sax, wah wah guitar or percussion) and very charismatic dynamic Joseph on the front. It perfectly demonstrated band's live energy - opposite side of generally quite relaxed studio material.

One great example of today's London jazz scene great both for your legs, your heart and your head.

SARATHY KORWAR More Arriving

Album · 2019 · World Fusion
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snobb
US-born, India-grown and UK-based percussionist Sarathy Korwar last year released one of the best album containing African American spiritual jazz and Indian music mix for years if not decades, "My East Is Your West". His new release,"More Arriving", indicates the change of recording company (from Gearbox to Leaf) and radical change in the musical genre itself.

There are no sitars and bansuri flutes anymore in Korwar's new music, and the Indian (or South Asian) component is predominantly represented by hip-hop recitatives (besides of percussion,of cause). Album's title doesn't relate with any song, but demonstrates author's reaction on "brexit" (with very illustrative cover art as well). Being a Westerner and a member ob Britain's largest ethnic minority at the same time, Korwar with his album is trying to produce naturally non-existing music. In States, African Americans have the blues and jazz, which for years became the sound that is a visit card of American music around the world. There is a trad Indian music, and Indian fusion in UK, and burgeoning spiritual jazz scene strongly influenced with Afro-beat and Caribbean rhythms, and the hip-hop scene as well. Korwar uses original hip-hop from South Asian megalopolises mixing it with London's spiritual jazz of today elements and adding some modern British polishing over it.

As a result we have funny music, and explosive music, and danceable music and a sad music-all in one. Korwar's regular collaborator British reedist Tamar Osborn on bari builds very signature sound of today's London spiritual jazz, when different vocalists are responsible for different atmospheres of each song. Sometimes it sounds as Bollywood soundtrack transferring to battle hymn (as on opener "Mumbay" with rapper MC Mawali singing on Hindi/Marathi). Or like meditative prayers full of passion as on songs where British-Pakistani singer Zia Ahmed sings.

Some songs are sung in English, and others - on South Asian languages, the listener can understand some lyrics, and most probably just be hypnotized by others. As on Korwar previous album, there is obvious East and West here in this music, but the difference is there is much more nerves and tension here. As Korwar says himself, here on "More Arriving" (what illustrates his vision about more and more immigrants coming to UK without the relation with "brexit" final result)he tried to construct "brown voices" music, a new standard of South Asian diaspora representation in musical culture.

Different from what Korwar did before and obviously not for everyone's taste, this album wouldn't pass unnoticed that's for sure.

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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