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 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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PAT METHENY Offramp (PMG) Album Cover Offramp (PMG)
PAT METHENY
4.68 | 15 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
4.86 | 3 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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HERMETO PASCOAL Só não toca quem não quer Album Cover Só não toca quem não quer
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.83 | 3 ratings
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HERMETO PASCOAL Slaves Mass Album Cover Slaves Mass
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.62 | 7 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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TRILOK GURTU The Glimpse Album Cover The Glimpse
TRILOK GURTU
4.62 | 4 ratings
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MIGUEL ZENÓN Esta Plena Album Cover Esta Plena
MIGUEL ZENÓN
4.75 | 2 ratings
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MODE PLAGAL Mode Plagal Album Cover Mode Plagal
MODE PLAGAL
4.75 | 2 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

BOB BELDEN Various Artists: Miles From India

Album · 2008 · World Fusion
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js
Miles from India” was a fairly ambitious project that sought to re-visit some of Miles Davis’ music, but with more of an accent on the Indian influences that Miles sometimes hinted at. Miles’ relationship with Indian music was often not much more than fashionable 70s exotic tone colors derived from using the tambura and tablas, but on a few cuts from his “Big Fun” and “Get Up With It” albums, there appeared a deeper understanding and appreciation of non-western musical approaches. “Miles from India” contains some decent Indian flavored fusion jams, but unfortunately Bob Beldon and his crew missed an opportunity to expand on some of Miles’ more interesting musical concepts.

“Spanish Key” is a great opener with a lengthy Indian flavored fusion workout that features great solos from an all-star cast of well known Indian and Western musicians, this cut shows off all this album’s strengths. “All Blues” follows, and although they shift the time to a 5/4 feel, its still in swing time and there really isn’t an equivalent to swing time in Indian rhythm. This means the ‘Indian’ flavor is provided via a sitar melody and solo which almost sounds like cheesy Martin Denny styled ‘exotica’. I can appreciate the attempts at creativity here, but possibly swing era jazz and Indian music can only mix on a superficial level. “Ife” returns things to the Indian fusion style, the legendary Pete Cosey turns in a guitar solo, but the once soaring Cosey now supplies only subterranean snarls from an overly processed guitar, possibly that is on purpose.

Hearing the tune from “In a Silent way” played like a classic raga is a real treat, but the following “Its About that Time” seems to forget the delicacy of the original and just lapses into another well played, but not particularly remarkable fusion jam. “Jean Pierre” closes CD 1 with its familiar 80s hip-hop groove, it’s a great song, but except for a virtuoso Indian styled flute solo from Rakesh Chaurasia, this version is not particularly different from the original.

CD 2 opens with “So What” having its swing feel replaced with an Indo-fusion groove that really doesn’t go great with original riff. Once again, trying to mix the older Miles material with the Indian music seems like a clumsy experiment at best. For the rest of CD 2 you get a couple more decent fusion jams, plus an unexpected Indian vocal rendition of “Blue in Green”, also a short and inconsequential track from John McLaughlin and a very disappointing rendition of the classic “Great Expectations”. The original “Expectations” was a masterpiece of time and space distortion on which Miles presented a struggling groove that ground to a halt over and over only to restart, finally blossoming slowly into an Indian flavored electric piano nirvana. This remake seems to ignore all that, blindly rushing through the changes in a hurry to reach a meaningless conclusion. The only plus to this track is hearing Adam Holzman play the original electric piano tracks on acoustic piano, nice work on that re-enactment.

The good points to “Miles from India” are the several Indian influenced fusion tracks, with the bad points being the clumsy attempts to merge with songs from “Kind of Blue”, as well as the missed opportunities to expand on some of Miles’ more interesting experiments. A lot of people have picked up on the fact that Miles played futuristic psychedelic rock during the 70s, and its nice he finally got noticed for that, but there was so much more. Much of what Miles was experimenting with in the 70s was related to his interest in Stockhausen’s attempts to freeze time, and both Miles and Karlheinz were looking to classical music from Asia for inspiration. Its very disappointing that this Indian flavored look at Miles’ past did not seem to recognize this most salient feature of Miles’ music.

TOHPATI Tohpati Ethnomission: Save The Planet

Album · 2010 · World Fusion
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progshine
Tohpati Ethnomission's a group from Indonesia, yeah, Indonesia. And probably the first thing we have in mind when we think about this country is some kind of exhotic music, well, it's not that the exhotic don't make any part of the group's music, but it's not the main focus here, the 'thing' here is gather both together, exhotic and 'secular' music, like jazz/fusion, progressive rock and rock n roll. The mind behind the group is Tohpati (guitars), that is also part of simakDIALOG. In Save The Planet, first album of Tohpati Ethnomission he's with Indro Hardjodikoro (bass), Endang Ramdan (percussion), Demas Narawangsa (drums and percussion) that had only 16 years old on the time they recorded, Diki Suwarjiki (suling, a kind of flute) and Lestari (voice on track 2).

What we have in Save The Planet is quite good, in fact, more than good. Highlits like 'Selamatkan Bumi' and his 9 minutes long, 'Drama' (that reminds some King Crimson's Robert Fripp moments), 'Ethno Funk', 'Inspirasi Baru' (and the great bass solo), 'Perang Tanding' (moments that resembles some Frank Zappa) and 'Amarah' (and the various guitars), shows us that the band have A LOT of potential.

But unfortunatelly the group sometimes bet on calm and slow compositions, which I don't like, I don't think it fits their style.

But all in all Save The Planet worth the hearing! Specially when it comes to jazz rock/fusion lovers. The album have some irregularities but shows clearly the bright future Tohpati and his mates can have if they keep playing and writing like that. It's a waiting game, but in my opinion it'll worth.

IBRAHIM MAALOUF Wind

Album · 2012 · World Fusion
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Sean Trane
Fifth album from the Lebanese trumpet player, and maybe his better-known – and certainly his most luxuriously packaged oeuvre, displaying photos of Joux’s multi-layered assemblage in steps, over a 36 page booklet along with a separate and a separate digibook-style disc holder, all housed in a cardboard box, almost the thickness of two jewel case CDs.

This project was commissioned from the French film library (Cinémathèque), who wanted to reissue ancient silent films from the Albatross catalogue and put them to music. This fell rather well with Maalouf, since he’d always loved the Miles/Malle association in Ascensceur Pour l’Echaffaud, and Ibrahim took the project at heart. Indeed, you’ll find in the quieter moments of this soundtrack some Miles influences, but it won’t escape you that Maalouf’s Arabic origins are often audible as well. He chose the Proie Du Vent movie from René Clair (prey of the wind), and wrote down his successive feelings while appropriating himself the images to sonically colourise. His various feelings gave their names to the 12 compositions that made up the single session recording in NYC. Three of the four musicians Maalouf chose are well-known on the NYC scene, and he added Flemish composer/arranger Frank Woeste on piano and further arrangements.

Roughly half the tracks are not too far away from what you’d find on the Miles/Malle film, soft and slow melancholic pieces, starting with the opening Doubts, Waithing, etc… Rather standard and relatively soporific. The other half of the compositions are definitely more intense and dramatic, offering a Mediterranean ambiance in between Spain and deep Arabia. Needless to say that’s where most of the interest of the album stands; Woeste’s piano often adding depth like Tyner might have done. Tracks like Suspicion, Question & Answers, and the Gypsy-esque Escitement, amongst others.

In some ways, it’s a bit sad that this luxurious boxset doesn’t feature the film that inspired the music on the CD, especially given the amount of space it takes for a single disc affair

SAMUEL YIRGA Guzo

Album · 2012 · World Fusion
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dreadpirateroberts
Samuel Yirga is a young Ethiopian pianist (perhaps known to fans of ‘Dub Colossus’), whose playing seems most influenced by Jarrett, but whose compositions very much reflect a ‘world’ feel. There’s a mix of Latin, Jazz, Classical and traditional Ethiopian pieces here, but with a fairly slick production, which seems a feature of label Real World.

‘Guzo’ sometimes bring Mulatu Astatke to mind (‘Tiwista’) and can be a very rhythmic album, with tracks like ‘My Head’, ‘Abet Abet’ or the fantastic cover of ‘I Am the Black Gold of the Sun’ bringing a lot of percussion into play. Samuel also has three beautiful solo pieces on the album – my favourite being the haunting ‘Ye Bati Koyita.’

His debut also features some great guest vocal performances, the ‘Blues of Wollo’ featuring the moody wails of Genet Masresha being a real standout. The album has been pretty rewarding over repeated listens and I’m looking forward to hearing whatever’s next for Samuel Yirga.

SHAKTI / REMEMBER SHAKTI A Handful of Beauty

Album · 1977 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
This is really the first album I ever heard of any type of jazz fusion and I loved this music from the very first listen. After the dissolution of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin became obsessed with playing Indian classical music after already having studied and learning how to play the classical Indian stringed instrument called the veena. This ultimately led him to the project SHAKTI where he found three extremely talented Indian musicians to accompany him. Zakir Hussain handled percussion and tabla duties. Lakshminarayana Shankar totally abused the violin and on this release Vikku Vinayakram handled additional percussion duties as well. John had a custom-made steel-string acoustic guitar made especially for the sounds he wished to achieve in this type of fusion band. The guitar featured two tiers of strings over the sound hole like those of a sitar or a veena which created a sound that corresponded better to the Indian instruments.

The band released a live debut album and then released two studio albums in 1977 with A HANDFUL OF BEAUTY being the very first. This album begins with the a firestorm konnakol (the art of performing percussion syllables vocally in South India) that begins “La Danse Du Bonheur" which immediately reminds of the energetic ferocity of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the perfect opener for a band whose name is Sanskrit for “energy.” The intensity that the musicians of the band deliver is absolutely incredible to say the least. The beauty of this band is that not only is this an East meets West affair but it is also a Northern India meets Southern India one as well. These musicians seamlessly marry Western jazz with the Hindustani classical styles of Northern India and the Carnatic classical styles of Southern India.

The album drifts from energetic passages beginning with the opening track to more mellow and pastoral moments as heard on “Lady K” and “Isis.” The interplay between instruments is always perfect and the harmonies, melodies and rhythms take you on a wild ride through various time signatures and more haunting drawn out percussionless sections. At times some of the passages do outstay their welcome but overall the tracks are well paced.

At the time this was widely acclaimed for exposing western jazz lovers to the ragas and musical textures that traditional Indian music had to offer and guarantees energetic and well-played performances. If you have never been exposed to much Indian music before this then you may be put off for this can be intense but also sensually beautiful at the same time. If you have had the chance to fall in love with classical Indian artists such as Ravi Shankar and love the idea of a world fusion sound with incredibly fast and virtuosic performances than this will truly satisfy all those itches. I for one am still lovin' this one after many years of listening to it and am still completely awed by both the beauty of the emotional depth and the technical prowess of each talented individual involved.

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)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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