African Fusion

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The African Fusion genre at JMA is for music that combines traditional and current African and Caribbean music with jazz, fusion and RnB. Some of the musical styles found here include Afrobeat, Makossa, Juju, Rumba, Highlife, Calypso, South African Township and more.

Elsewhere on the site JMA also includes a separate Dub/Ska/Reggae genre, three different Latin Jazz genres, and a World Fusion genre for cultural hybrid music.

Ultimately, almost any style of substantive jazz music could be considered a form of African fusion.

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BALLA ET SES BALLADINS "Objectif Perfection" (aka Reminiscin' In Tempo With Balla Et Ses Balladins)
5.00 | 2 ratings
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ORCHESTRA DE LA PAILLOTE Volume 1 Album Cover Volume 1
5.00 | 2 ratings
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OSIBISA Woyaya Album Cover Woyaya
4.46 | 6 ratings
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FELA KUTI Sorrow Tears and Blood Album Cover Sorrow Tears and Blood
4.43 | 4 ratings
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KING SUNNY ADE Juju Music Album Cover Juju Music
4.50 | 2 ratings
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FELA KUTI Zombie Album Cover Zombie
4.20 | 5 ratings
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MAISHA There Is A Place Album Cover There Is A Place
4.25 | 2 ratings
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FELA KUTI Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa 70 : Gentleman Album Cover Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa 70 : Gentleman
4.17 | 3 ratings
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PHAROAH SANDERS Rejoice Album Cover Rejoice
4.12 | 4 ratings
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CANNONBALL ADDERLEY The Cannonball Adderley Quintet ‎: Accent On Africa Album Cover The Cannonball Adderley Quintet ‎: Accent On Africa
4.05 | 3 ratings
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OSIBISA Osibisa Album Cover Osibisa
4.00 | 6 ratings
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MAISHA Welcome To A New Welcome Album Cover Welcome To A New Welcome
4.00 | 3 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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african fusion Music Reviews

CHELSEA CARMICHAEL The River Doesn’t Like Strangers

Album · 2021 · African Fusion
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Chelsea Carmichael is a Manchester-born and London-based tenor saxophonist who plays with such leaders of the modern London jazz scene as SEED Ensemble, Theon Cross and Joe-Armon Jones (and - as a part of Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra if you're less familiar with nowadays London's jazz scene). Still, the biggest influence on her debut's music comes from the album's producer and the London scene's leading cult personality, Shabaka Hutchings.

Soulful and dubby Jamaican spiritual jazz, often associated with different Hutchings' projects, is easily recognizable here. It wouldn't be a mistake to say that "The River Doesn’t Like Strangers" sounds like it has been recorded by a female version Shabaka Hutchings. Whereas Shabaka likes marching rhythms and attacking tempos, Chelsea plays slower, softer and and with more nuances.

"The River Doesn’t Like Strangers" is not battle hymns of Caribbean immigrants of Shepherds Bush and Peckham, it's more spiritual songs with strong reggae roots. On support, Chelsea has Sons Of Kemmet drummer Edward Wakili-Hick, Polar Bear bassist Tom Herbert and The Invisible guitarist Austria-born David Okumu. This strong band plays moody and catchy danceable music, really great at their best moments.

True, as with many of Shabaka's own albums, the music sometimes loses its direction or simply remains repeating rhythmic loops. Not a big fault for something that sounds like a ritualist soundtrack though. Strong debut on its own right, "The River..." makes one feel really curious what Chelsea will offer next.

ANTHONY JOSEPH The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives

Album · 2021 · African Fusion
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Caribbean-born, London-based poet, university professor and singer/musician Anthony Joseph is often tagged in adverts as "leader of the black underground" in London, but leaving the marketing tricks aside I would call him Caribbean immigrant's poetic soul.

His song lyrics split right by half between bitter-sweet melancholic rememberings dedicated to his native Trinidad and Tobago, and more dark, but still very artistic and beautiful in their own way, themes from Caribbean immigrants life in England.

Differently from cult figure Shabaka Hutchings, the true leader of younger wave of enormously popular new London street-wise Afrojazz, Joseph is too wise, too philosophical and not enough confrontational for being the leader of any underground.

It took three long years for me waiting for his new release after I've been so highly impressed by Joseph's previous one, "People Of The Sun"(2018) both recorded and live. All Joseph's albums work for me by the same way - after very first listening I feel ... slightly disappointed. Music sounds too simple, too predictable. Then after repeated listening it slowly grows on me in a progression. And quite soon it occupies my player for months, as it happened with "People Of The Sun", (it became my most often listened album during the last two years).

Oppositely to the above mentioned work, which happened to be massive double-vinyl longer than an hour long release, "The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running For Their Lives" is of classic single vinyl size, and I love this format more and more. At early days of digital technologies, 80+ minutes of regular CD album looked as huge advantage against thirty-something minutes of vinyl. But quite soon we all realized that increased space worked against the artists themselves. Trying to fill technically available free space of commercial recordings, labels and artists started adding a lot of not-so-mandatory material in their albums. As a result, really well edited containing no fillers album is a real rarity for a few decades, even speaking about the best artists' music.

So, we have here just six songs, each between four and ten minutes long. Characteristic soulful Caribbean jazz with simple but memorable melodies, knotted rhythms and not so simple arrangements. Less Latin, than previous work. Same working band with Jason Yarde on sax, percussionist Roger Raspail and Thibaut Remy on guitar among others. Shabaka Hutchings on sax as guest (Shabaka just released his own new album with his band "Sons Of Kemet" - similar Caribbean jazz with surprising amount of vocals, which is still more musical and less poetic work, compared to Joseph's newest release).

Same themes about Caribbean and immigrants' life in London. "Calling England Home" is an absolute peak, everything about Joseph's creation is concentrated there. Same bitter-sweet and melancholic atmosphere, balancing well between love, frustration and hope. Not really a new step - its just like watching another movie from a director you like and with actors you love.


Album · 2019 · African Fusion
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Big expectations are not always a great thing. Young London-based septet with unusual(at least for English scene) name Nérija are playing around London for a half of decade and already has one release in a market - self released EP coming from 2016. All-female band with interesting guitarist of Ghanaian roots Shirley Tetteh and rising British scene star reedist Nubya Garcia on board among others sounded at their best as new growing scene leaders.

Just released "Blume" is band's first full size album so no strange lot of ears waited for the day it be released. After repeated listening I still have a mixed feeling about their debut.

With minimal line-up changes (they got a new bassist and first male member Rio Kai instead of Inga Eichler) their music sounds a bit different. Massive brass coming from four-piece reeds section on the front gives solid orchestral feel, they still play same successful mix of Caribbean/African rhythms and big band orchestrations with some nice trumpet and sax solos.

The main problem is probably they went too safe on their debut. Sound is pretty rounded and soft, really comfortable and quite ... teeth-less. London's young jazz scene doesn't offer lot of inventions, best artists there re-vitalize some best jazz and related music from the past but do it with youngish enthusiasm and often in non-compromise way. Jazz fans from allover the world follow new music coming from there mostly because of that. Nérija with their debut album made a safe step often sounding more like Cape jazz from 60s than today's Londoners.

Their signature guitar sound over reeds is less groovy and mixed more on the back, that's a pity. Nubya Garcia's tenor sax is under-exploited, on her own works as well as on her other collaborations Nubya's sax very often pumping the blood in musical texture, here her sound is presented only in minimalist way.

Still really a pleasant music, just probably oriented a bit more towards ageing fans of 70s jazz orchestras than to young generation of today's jazz fans.

MAISHA Welcome To A New Welcome

Live album · 2016 · African Fusion
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Looking from the few years distance on what were a roots of amazing London young jazz scene of today, Maisha's debut requires bigger attention. SE London sextet led by drummer Jake Long plays live on this short release and they do it really well.

Everyone familiar with spiritual jazz legacy from 60s and 70s will easily hear in their music Pharoah Sanders soulful tunes, Alice Coltrane meditative beauty and John Coltrane ecstatic sax soloing. Just three songs but the listener gets enough to jump in that spiritual jazz magic known from the decades ago once again.

It happened for me to listen Pharoah Sanders playing his old songs just a few years ago (yes, he is really popular again, at least in Europe), and it was a great possibility to touch a legend. Still, he sounds now more like a history even if there are already a generation of two who never heard his name before. Maisha play his music (or music which was his and some others almost half a century ago)in a way that makes this music sounding actual again. For young listeners just founding their jazz the band brings that spirit and a beauty of jazz often as a very new experience.

Quite relaxed compositions are all beautiful, with strong jazz roots(post-bop)influence but at the same time scented with African rhythms and enough catchy for being accepted by non-jazz listeners. Sax player Nubya Garcia delivers solos Pharoah himself would be proud of(soon after she will leave starting extremely successful solo career) and participation of electric guitarist Shirley Tetteh injects true blood to this beautiful musical body.

Maisha will release their full-size debut album in 2018 on Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings with wider distribution and stronger support but everyone interested in best new London's jazz could be interested in listening to their first release - this small album is worth to be heard.


Album · 2016 · African Fusion
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"Wisdom Of Elders" has been recorded by London's new jazz scenes' leading figure reedist Shabaka Hutchings in one day without rehearsals in Johannesburg, South Africa with leading domestic musicians (stated as Ancestors).

As with Hutching's other projects, music here sounds not nostalgic but very modern. Oppositely different from over-exploited Afro-beat, "African" part of the program comes from what some decades ago was known as "Cape jazz" - relaxed soulful melodic songs well known from Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) music. Half-a-century ago this music reached to England with a wave of South African jazz musicians, running from apartheid(Louis Moholo, Johnny Dyani,etc) and was adapted as part of British avant-garde jazz of the time.

Other significant element of album's music comes from Shabaka's Caribbean background. It's really impressive how organically both parts fit producing beautiful mix of blues, calypso, spiritual jazz and elegant Cape jazz rhythms.

Released three years ago "Wisdom Of Elders" is another cornerstone of burgeoning London's young jazz scene.

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