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

PAT METHENY Offramp (PMG) Album Cover Offramp (PMG)
PAT METHENY
4.64 | 16 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
4.80 | 6 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
4.73 | 6 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Astrakan Café Album Cover Astrakan Café
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.75 | 5 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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RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA Kinsmen Album Cover Kinsmen
RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA
5.00 | 2 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Le pas du chat noir Album Cover Le pas du chat noir
ANOUAR BRAHEM
5.00 | 2 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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GUNESH Вижу Землю (I See The Earth) Album Cover Вижу Землю (I See The Earth)
GUNESH
4.91 | 2 ratings
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OREGON Winter Light Album Cover Winter Light
OREGON
4.44 | 8 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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Live at Orion
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Mockroot
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Bird Calls
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world fusion Music Reviews

DEXTER JOHNSON Dexter Johnson & Le Super Star de Dakar : Live À l’Étoile

Live album · 2014 · World Fusion
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Matt
Dexter Johnson was born in Nigeria in 1932 and at the age of 25 in 1957 after a brief stint in Bamako, Mali, arrived in Dakar, Senegal. He was a percussionist at the beginning but changed to saxophone after studying music for two years in Nigeria. Afro Cuban or Son was his repertoire primarily and his music resonated with these rhythms throughout his musical career as this album, “Live a` l’Etoile” beautifully demonstrates. The band, Le Super Star of Dakar were called prior to this throughout most of the sixties just, Star Band of Dakar with Laba Sosseh on vocals who had not long left prior to this recording. The band had also dropped the trumpet in it’s make up and there is no piano which is replaced with two guitars with the addition of electric bass, timbales, percussion and four vocalists with coro duties shared amongst them when not singing lead bringing a distinct African sound and influence within the Afro Cuban rhythms incorporated in the album’s songs. Yes, it has that beautiful sleaze included or more of a slight slow drag within, which only the West Africans during this time period perfected within their sound due to the bands different line up to a typical Cuban Conjunto.

The record which has been released comes as a double album with 13 songs included with the Mexican film classic “Angelitos Negros” opening with Dexter on saxophone over a slow rhythm during the song using two vocalists that share lead duties with a beautifully slow picked electric lead following. The tempo picks up for “Para Que Bueno” with a great solo and input from Dexter’s alto included with a wonderful catchy montuno for the songs ending with Dexter also darting in and out on his horn between the coros. “Mayeya” that follows is a lovely rural Cuban style number with some stunning electric guitar input. The rest of the album keeps up this high standard right throughout with even an English number thrown in “Something You Got” but it is the sleaze with the slower tempo songs that stand out for that unique sound that came from these West African Bands during this period with “Caminho de Sao Tome” and the beautiful “El Corazon” containing Dexter’s dreamy stunning saxophone being prime examples. There are wonderful up tempo numbers included such as “Borinquen Tropical” and “Malonga” with many others that you may consider personally better as there is not a poor track contained within the album’s entire thirteen songs.

One feels like you have just opened an old time capsule when the needle hits the groove as the sound is not pristine but one that represents the sounds from this period with some of its limitations and I myself would have it no other way as that is how I have grown and love to hear old African music. Sublime is only word that I can find to describe this release as we have not had some fresh old African music come out in quite a while. Great job from Teranga Beat label who have also released quite a few others from this great period in African Music. Very Highly recommended for old music lovers like myself.

The Star band went on to produce in the seventies through its members, Orchestra Baobab, Papa Seck (Africando), Nicholas Menheim ( Africando) and the most famous of them all Youssou N’Dour but these old Afro Cuban rhythms they played would be gradually replaced by Mbalax. Still Dexter Johnson stayed Afro Cuban right till the end in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) , 1981.

RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA Bird Calls

Album · 2015 · World Fusion
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snobb
Italy-born US-based sax player Rudresh Mahanthappa third album in row on German ACT label is in many senses a return to his roots. First of all, all album is dedicated to Charlie Parker (who Rudresh counts as his main influence from early age). Second, after two ACT released strongly Asian music influenced albums, "Bird Calls" is much closer to Rudresh early freer and more jazzy works. Even bassist Francois Moutin, who started collaboration with Mahanthappa as far as on his second album in 2002, is presented here.

Three other members of new quintet are pianist Matt Mitchell, drummer Rudy Royston and third generation jazz musician trumpeter Adam O'Farrill(both his grandfather and father are well-known Afro-Cuban jazz artists).

Nothing on this album comes directly from Parker's legacy - all compositions are Mahanthappa originals. Even by its sound they recall more Ornette Coleman that Charlie Parker. There is no mistake in album's dedication though - Rudresh uses Parker's tunes and ideas deconstructing them and adding as micro-scoping elements (together with his Indian heritage elements) in absolutely new music.

The result is new, fresh and modern sounding. Rudresh saxophone playing techniques are fast and pedantically precise,as his sound is. Those familiar with his earlier (mostly US-recorded) music will find here his characteristic attention to details and internal structure against catchy tunes (two previous ACT albums were more tuneful and soulful in contrast); still one can't call this music tuneless. Just combined of myriads of small elements musical mosaic is similar to kaleidoscope where each moment's view is much more impressive than final impression after all pictures series.

As always with Mahanthappa's music, it is full of muscular energy and even is his sax is on the front there are lot of space for all band's members.Still, he's obvious leader here. Probably main attraction of this release comes from unique fragile balance between jazz tradition,Indian music elements and modern arrangement when all three components are presented in equal proportions.As a result listener can really enjoy synthesis of rich components without domination or confrontation between them.

It's more a question of taste but I really enjoyed this new Rudresh album more than the music from his two previous ACT releases where jazz component too often has been almost lost under the domination of different folklore material. One great new 2015 ACT season opener.

TESLA MANAF Tesla Manaf

Boxset / Compilation · 2014 · World Fusion
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js
The MoonJune label has been very active over the last few years in bringing fusion talent from Indonesia to a wider international audience, and Tesla Manaf is their latest addition to an ever growing roster of artists. Manaf had already released two albums before he joined MoonJune, so to kick things off with his new label, they decided to package those two previous albums into one compilation and title it with Manaf’s full name. Although the two albums both feature a mixture of contemporary jazz and Indonesian music, the two couldn’t be more different.

“A Man’s Relationship with His Fragile Area”, Manaf’s first album, which takes up the first eight tracks of this compilation, features a colorful quartet playing an Indonesian flavored cross between concert hall music and ‘chamber jazz’. Much of this music sounds composed, although there seems to be room for improvisation too. Although concert hall in flavor, a distinct Indonesian flavor comes through in the melodies and sometimes in the percussion accompaniment too. Creative throughout and somewhat avant-garde in places, this music sounds like nobody else, including Manaf’s fellow fusion artists. Manaf’s guitar work is virtuoso, but a lot of credit should also go to clarinetist Hulahula. A standout track is “Early Years” with its quiet meditation.

The remaining tracks on this compilation come from Manaf’s first album, “Its all Yours”, which features Manaf backed by the Balinese ensemble Mahagotra Ganesha. On these tracks Manaf’s plays contemporary light fusion while backed by the chiming bells of the Balinese gamelan. Its an interesting combination and it does not sound a bit odd to those used to Indonesian music, but I wouldn’t expect to hear this on any western jazz music stations anytime soon. The standout track in this set is the moody ballad, “Part 2” The ‘monkey chants’ mixed with post bop swing on “Part 4” is an unexpected combination to say the least. Both sections of this compilation are good, and none of this music sounds like anyone else, but between the two, the tracks from “Fragile Area” have the most for repeated listens.

CODONA Codona 3

Album · 1983 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
Third and final chapter for the experimental ethnic jazz fusion band CODONA featuring CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-ná Vasconcelos. Through their three album run on the German jazz label ECM this band explores the many far reaches of the globe with a whole arsenal of musical instruments mixing and commingling like the ancients never thought possible. While the first album was a bit more straight forward offering a glimpse into the possibilities of mixing American jazz, African traditionals and classical Indian music into a sonic cauldron, the second album upped the ante with the experimentation cranking the avant-garde up a few notches and demanding a more dedicated listen to figure out the delicate assembly of parts involved. With CODONA 3 that experimentation is maintained only this time it flows a bit better than that of 2 making it a slightly less demanding listen but still one that will satisfy the adventurous music lover.

The longest track is the opener “Goshakabouchi” which is based on a Japanese traditional piece but takes us much further around the globe than Godzilla ever dared to roam. It begins with sparse Indian bells but eventually is joined by Cherry’s signature trumpet sound in an extremely slow tempo and sparsely laid out sonic effect. As the tempo picks up we get new sounds from the caxixi (a high pitched drum), a hammered dulcimer and talking drum.

We then move on to an African traditional reminding me of the music of West Africa with the Mandinka tribe coming to mind with “Hey Da Ba Doom” which is heavily percussive and hypnotic because of its repetitive nature. The sanza and doussn’gouni dominate this soundscape.

“Travel By Night” is an odd mid-tempo number with sitar as the dominant instrument with a subordinate trumpet and berimbau peaking in to embellish the rhythmic developments

“Lullaby” is a multi-layered sitar track but sounds more like in an African musical context. It has a strange way of expressing chords through the sitar and one of the most non-Indian pieces i have ever heard using this instrument

“Traya Boia” is a strange multi vocalizing track with multiple chants scattered about eventually accompanied by smooth trumpet notes and high pitched background wails.

“Clicky Clacky” is yet another original design. It begins and ends with a train whistle and the theme is of a hobo during the American Great Depression of the 1930s catching trains and moving on from town to town, however with a sitar and tabla with a blues singing style, it evokes a very surreal sound indeed

“Inner Organs” is the second longest track and is backed up by a Floydian “Saucerful Of Secrets” drone organ sound which gets joined by a tabla, caxixi, sanza (thumb piano), some foreign language spoken lyrics and triangles and takes us on a nice pleasant journey in a nice and mellow way. Cherry contributes his famous trumpet sounds that sound like an elephant. Very cool

CODONA Codona 2

Album · 1981 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
Continuing where they left off on their debut album CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-na Vasconcelos continue their experimental fusion of American jazz, various African styles, Brazilian and Indian influences but this time around they up the experimental ante a notch or two and require the listener to invest a few more listens in order to understand where they are coming from. Upon first listen I didn't like this as much as the debut. Whereas the debut CODONA album kind of had a logic to where they were coming from, this second album throws you for a loop. It's not that it's ridiculously lost in the clouds and creates a whole new musical experience, it's just that the melodies are more intricate and subtle and there are more liberties in the individual instruments creating separate and distinct roles which don't immediately sound pleasant and even ring a little dissonant at times. The band, in effect, are demanding that you evolve as they do in order to understand their progression.

There are all kinds of differences here. For one the band likes to expound on certain ideas. They present a theme and then kind of throw in an extended weirdness, or perhaps you would call it musical variation. On “Malinye” for example, a 12:39 progressive walk through fusion-land, there is an introductory cohesiveness to the song but it changes into a wild vocal frenzy that then turns into an African instrumental affair that incorporates many an ethnic flair to the mix. This is one of the major accomplishments of CODONA, which is the progressive fusion of hitherto unmixed styles of world music. Despite all my praise trying to elevate this album to such heights, I still like it a tad less than the debut, however it is very much recommended for fusion freaks who like a bit more bite and unexpected tumult to their music. This album can be quite exciting and surprising at moments but for an overall appreciation must be heard a few times. A particular sound that remains unique in the musical world as far as I know. I also really like how DO-n Cherry makes his trumpet sound like an elephant at times.

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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