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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PAT METHENY Offramp (PMG) Album Cover Offramp (PMG)
PAT METHENY
4.46 | 18 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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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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TRILOK GURTU The Glimpse Album Cover The Glimpse
TRILOK GURTU
4.62 | 4 ratings
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RALPH TOWNER Batik Album Cover Batik
RALPH TOWNER
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 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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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

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.

AKIRA TANA Love's Radiance (Ai San San)

Album · 2019 · World Fusion
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js
"Ai San San (Love’s Radiance}” is the third album for Akira Tana’s Otonowa group. Akira formed the band in 2012 to try and raise money for the coastal victims of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Since 2014, the band has toured the most damaged areas as they do what they can to help out. The four main members of the group are all Japanese American jazz musicians, and for this recording, Akira added three more musicians playing more traditional Japanese instruments. The goal of this CD is to take traditional and popular Japanese melodies and transform them through the use of many different jazz idioms. When it comes to cultural potpourris, “Ai San San”, may take the cake. Along with a variety of Japanese and Western instruments mixing it up on here, you also get a variety of musical styles such as post bop, tango, calypso, Latin jazz, pop and free jazz. Due to the immense variety on here, each song represents a totally separate musical universe.

Hardcore jazzers will probably enjoy “Antagata Dokosa”, “Taiyo Hoero” and “Kando” on which the band plays energetic post bop and free jazz reminiscent of Herbie Hancock’s VSOP group. “Mura Matsuri” is a calypso number with a smooth saxophone solo that recalls Sonny Rollins during his colossal days. “Habu Minato” is probably the only tango in the world performed on traditional Japanese instruments, unless there is another one I missed out on. The album closes with Horace Silver‘s “Peace”, which takes on a very Asian flavor as it is performed on the shakuhachi. Elsewhere on the CD you get a variety of ballads and contemporary jazz performed with a mix of Japanese and Western instruments. I would imagine “Ai San San” would carry even more enjoyment for those who recognize these familiar Japanese melodies, but for the rest of u,s it is still an interesting multi-cultural ride through many synthesized landscapes.

BILL LASWELL Hear No Evil

Album · 1988 · World Fusion
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js
“Hear No Evil” comes fairly early in Bill Laswell’s career as it is only his second solo album apart from his band, Material. Of course Bill would go on to release about another 50 million albums, but that’s a subject for another review, at this point in his career he was still taking some time with his albums. Back in the day “Hear No Evil” seemed somewhat profound in its somber ambient atmosphere and cultural mixtures, and its still a good album, but as the years have passed, it doesn’t have quite the same impact as it once did. For one thing, albums that feature cultural hodge-podges are much more common now, as well as records that feature ambience with a rhythmic groove.

At his very best, Bill Laswell can produce an almost religious sobering atmosphere filled with vague longing that is a skill at which he alone excels at. “Hear No Evil” is probably one of the first albums in which Bill displayed this talent, and on here he looks to southern US delta blues for the inspiration for his mournful and lonely melodies. Both Bill and guitarist Nicky Skopelitis play a lot of laid back slide work on here, which they then mix with Asiatic influences. Three percussionists, including Zakir Hussain, provide the percussion, but they are somewhat hemmed in by fairly standard Western time signatures. Indian fusion violinist, Shankar provides excellent solos that match with Bill’s background perfectly. Along with the somewhat straight rhythmic grounding, the other main fault with this album is the almost pop structure of the songs, which can push things in a new age direction.

There is one track that doesn’t quite fit, and that’s the clumsy funk of “Assassin”, take it out and you have a better album. The best tracks are the last two, and on the finale, “Kingdom Come”, the percussionists finally get a chance to go off. This album’s appeal can change with your mood, need some music for reflection, put this on, sometimes it almost seems to have the same impact it had back in the late 80s.

DWIKI DHARMAWAN Rumah Batu

Album · 2018 · World Fusion
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js
In recent times there have been several artists who have attempted to merge traditional Indonesian music with modern jazz fusion, some have been more successful than others, but possibly the artist who has created the ultimate seamless mix is pianist/composer Dwiki Dharmawan. On his latest album, “Rumah Batu”, Dwiki displays how he builds this unique synthesis. Unlike some others who try to force unlike components against each other, Dharmawan uses the essence of Indonesian music as the foundation for his fusion excursions, hence the two worlds become organically connected in a way that flows naturally. Dwiki takes these jazz and Indonesian elements and creates lengthy tracks with sprawling busy arrangements presented with a big production sound that recalls epic movie soundtracks or equaling epic gatefold album cover classic prog-rock.

The two lengthy opening tracks on “Rumah Batu” contain some of the album’s most exciting fusion jams. Dwiki and his band mate’s approach to fusion is very high energy and over the top as they veer into free jazz territory. Dharmawan’s massive assaults on the piano can recall McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Vijay Iyer, while guitarist Nguyen Le’s distortion drenched fiery leads may remind some of Larry Coryell or Pete Cosey. After these two openers the band settles into a beautiful vocal number sung by Dewi Gita. The vocal style presented here may be different than what western ears are used to, so maybe its time to open up and try some new things. The first part of “Rumah Batu Suite” is a funky jazz rock jam with some improvised vocalizing, while the second part is an all out free jazz free-for-all. The album closes with the folksy “Selamatkan Orangutan”, a pleasant farewell after the intensity of the previous tracks.

SARATHY KORWAR Sarathy Korwar & The UPAJ Collective : My East Is Your West

Live album · 2018 · World Fusion
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snobb
US-born, India-grown and London-based percussionist and tabla player Sarathy Korwar debuted as leader two years ago with studio album "Day To Day" recorded in India (participating was one of the new British jazz scene's leaders - tenor Shabaka Hutchings) and released on hip Ninja Tune label. The album contained an eclectic mix of Indian music, dialogues, electronics and London sound and was a partially successful debut, hardly more.

"My East Is Your West", Korwar's second release,is a strong improvement. Massive triple-vinyl live set is all-organic and contains all-new material. Band's line-up is slightly modified with British female tenor Tamar Osborn replacing Shabaka Hutchings, additional alto sax player Jesse Bannister and improved Indian instruments section (incl. Santoor/Tabla player John Ball, Mridangam / Kanjira player B.C. Manjunath and Bansuri player Aravindhan Baheerathan).

As a result, the new band (named Upaj Collective) sounds much more "Indian" and recalls Shakti's Indian fusion sound. This is not strange, third album contains a John McLaughlin composition, "Mind Ecology". And that's only for starters - album's songs are covers of renown spiritual jazz, fusion or World fusion songs, just seriously reworked and presented as Indian music scented longish pieces.

Pharoah Sanders' "The Creator Has A Master Plan" lasts almost ten minutes and besides of main theme's intro and some snippets sounds quite different from original. Cover of Alice Coltrane "Journey In Satchidananda" is closer to how it sounded decades ago, as well as Ravi Shankar's "Mishrank". One can find Abdullah Ibrahim's "Hajj", Don Cherry's "Utopia And Visions", and Joe Henderson's "Earth" on a list among others.

With no doubt a significant component of successful result is not only strong material, but HOW the band plays it. Multicultural collective of authentically trained Indian instruments players and Europeans find a unique balance between two cultural traditions. The music is obviously Indian-influenced with characteristic arrangements, techniques and sound, but at the same time it never slips toward esoteric meditative repetitive noodling which undermined some of Shakti's later releases. Instead, the Europeans add more framed structures, rhythmic order (almost groovy in moments), and in general more accessible, slightly "westernized" sound.

A bit conventional for today's fashion, acoustic-only sound makes this album probably a bit less hip but at the same time builds a bridge with spiritual jazz and Indo-fusion of the 60s and 70s producing a music which has bigger value than just a hit of the day. One among stronger world fusion albums of the last couple decades.

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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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