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

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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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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ANOUAR BRAHEM Astrakan Café Album Cover Astrakan Café
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.59 | 7 ratings
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TRILOK GURTU The Glimpse Album Cover The Glimpse
TRILOK GURTU
4.62 | 4 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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JOHN ZORN John Zorn / Masada Chamber Ensembles ‎: Bar Kokhba Album Cover John Zorn / Masada Chamber Ensembles ‎: Bar Kokhba
JOHN ZORN
4.44 | 8 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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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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js
Although Dwiki Dharmawan has been a well known performer in Indonesia for over 30 years, he only recently received more international recognition in 2015 when he released “So Far So Close” on the MoonJune label, a label which gave him much more access to a western audience. That album was broad and ambitious in itself, but on Dharmawan’s new CD, “Pasar Klewer, Dwiki takes the idea of ambition to a whole new level with a sprawling cinematic soundscape that could be called the “Sgt Pepper” of Indonesian fusion. There is literally a ton of intricate music on these two CDs, and the number of styles that are fused on here take us on a trip around the world, and several times at that.

Sprawling tracks like the opening title track, and track three, “Tjampuhan”, are like Indonesian fusion symphonies that mix gamelin, free jazz, electric fusion, prog rock and movie soundtracks in multi-movement suites that build to energetic climaxes, only to subside and build again. Dwiki is an intense pianist with a very developed technique and a massive sound that can recall McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Vijay Iyer and Matthew Shipp. Master Indonesian musicians provide gamelin and traditional Indonesian instrumentation and vocals, while Mark Wingfield burns on electric guitar and Nicolas Meier on acoustic. Gilad Atzmon’s clarinet lends an oriental/East European slant to the international mix and Boris Salvoldelli brings his odd art rock vocals to a couple cuts, including a cover of Robert Wyatt’s “Forest”. Although there are plenty of high energy tracks on both CDs, on CD 2 Dharmawan includes a couple of ballads, including a Hank Marvin styled guitar instrumental of the afore-mentioned Robert Wyatt cover.

TUATARA Breaking The Ethers

Album · 1997 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
Taking its name after the New Zealand reptile that resembles lizards but is actually a distinct lineage that goes back to the dinosaur era, the band TUATARA was formed in Seattle by the members of different musical groups that wanted to create an outlet for a more varied sound than the bands they were in. The band started in 1996 by Peter Buck (guitar) of R.E.M, Barrett Martin (drums, percussion) of Screaming Trees, Justin Harwood (bass) of Luna and The Chills and Skerik (sax) of Critters Buggin. The band was actually started to create some soundtrack music but turned into live shows and this debut album BREAKING THE ETHERS. The sounds you will encounter here range from slow and somber to the upbeat utilizing various world folk styles with a jazzy sax touch to the mix with occasional clarinets. The percussion is often strong with congas, vibraphones and marimbas being prominent features but many other exotic instruments ranging from didjeridus, tablas, Tibetan horns, djembes, udus, steel drums and more can be heard.

While this debut is ambitious in its scope, i can't say that it measures up in the songwriting department. Many of the tracks are quite pleasant to listen to but very few actually light my fire and make me want to hear them again. Most are slow and contemplative and would be great relaxation music to enjoy in a nice hot spa at a resort but much of the content here doesn't have enough grit to really get my juices flowing. It truly sounds like a band that is starting out on a journey to create something different from their relative stable careers in the more pop oriented world and haven't learned how to fully exploit the various timbres and flavors of the instruments on display. Nothing on here is as experimental or advanced as other world fusion bands like Codona put out in the late 70s / early 80s. Still this is decent listen and nothing on here is bad or unoffensive in the least bit, just not dripping with originality or contains enough progressive nuts and bolts to spice it up. The only track i really love is "The Getaway" as it is energetic, funky and filled with lots of gusto. While pleasant, the variety on this one is lacking and for a near hour of music it tends to send one to sleepy time by the end of its duration.

BÉLA FLECK UFO Tofu

Album · 1992 · World Fusion
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VerticalUprising
A very artistic and similarly quite unique band from Tennessee called Bela Fleck and the Flecktones came around in 1990, also releasing their eponymous album in the same year. Their history stems from the band's front-man, Bela Fleck himself. Fleck was well known as a young banjoist who started his musical career in 1976. Fleck won several Grammys in the years after 1995, but his early music is still well known. But where the forked road emerges is the differences between his solo material and his full band act in the 90's. While Fleck usually centered himself around typical and archaic Americana, The Flecktones delved more into the humble use of electronics, psychedelics, and jazz. What turned out was a honestly more colorful and expansive sound produced by a full team of musicians.

Two years after the band had formed, they had come to record their third palindromic album, UFO Tofu, in the summer of 1992. In way of formula very little has changed. However, even in the third time around, producing the same music is not a con in my mind. The music is still extremely creative and bursting with energy. The base may sound very similar, but with such a varied selection of musical instruments and compositions a repeated theme or two is not unwelcome. A differentiation is always welcome, but UFO Tofu's zany banjo from Fleck, as well as Roy Wooten's Drumitar being used with the proficiency of a seasoned guitar player. UFO Tofu is always a good cheap pick up if you find it in a lonely thrift store in the middle of the west country.

EMBRYO Embryo's Reise

Album · 1979 · World Fusion
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Modrigue
The ultimate fusion journey to Asia

"Reise" is the German word for "Travel", and that's exactly what the album has to offer here: a genuine musical journey... to the East. After the band's average jazz/rock/world releases during the second half of the 70's (last good album being 1973's "We Keep On"), EMBRYO's leader Christian Burchard decided to save his baby and brought with him the other members for a long trip, from Middle-East to India. During their journey, they met various local musicians, played jam sessions and recorded tracks in their company.

Instead of the band's initial jazz/rock/ethnic approach, the music is clearly oriented towards middle-eastern, oriental and Indian styles this time. Most compositions combine these genres with progressive rock (like the great "Kurdistan" and "Farid"), or even punk ("Eis Ist, Wie's Ist"), while others are fully oriental (like the Indian "Chan Delawar Khan" and "Rog de Quadamuna Achna"). As you may expect, the palette of instruments used is very large. The result is astonishing and mesmerizing. This fusion of musical genres was quite original at the time. Furthermore, there are no weak on the record. Such a little treasure will make you travel from desert sands to ancient Asian temples, through mystical lands.

This 1979 opus was the first double album of the band. However, the most common released version nowadays is the single CD edition, which does not include the songs "Paki Funk", "Maharaj" and "Lassie, Lassie", but this does not matter much.

"Embryo's Reise" is one of the finest examples of "world music", presenting a genuine and unique crossing of Occidental and Eastern genres. Even 40 years after, such mastery in mixing these musical ingredients from opposite origins remains still rare. Highly recommended if you enjoy middle-eastern and Indian music! Simply one of the best albums from EMBRYO!

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.

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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