Eclectic Fusion

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Fusion was a term coined in the early 70s to designate a style of music that involved a combination of jazz, rock, funk and Latin styles. In the 80s a new style of fusion emerged that sometimes utilized those elements, but also turned to current musical developments such as punk, thrash metal, rap/hip-hop, neo-surf and diverse ethnic music such as klezmer, polka, Bulgarian wedding music and more. At JMA we call this 80s based fusion music, Eclectic Fusion. The Eclectic Fusion artist tends to be a bit more urban and hard edged than the 70s fusion artist, and is liable to call on a much more diverse array of influences. These artists can also be more prone towards an avant-garde and/or deconstructionist approach to their creations.

Some precedents to the Eclectic Fusion genre can be found in Miles Davis' "Black Magus" and Ornette Coleman's "Dancing in Your Head". Possibly the first full realization of Eclectic Fusion can be found in John Zorn's Naked City band. Other popular practitioners of Eclectic Fusion include Sax Ruins, Electric Masada, Panzerballet, Raoul Bjorkenheim's Krakatau, Led Bib, The Thing and Kazutoki Umezu.

eclectic fusion top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

MASADA At The Mountains Of Madness (Electric Masada) Album Cover At The Mountains Of Madness (Electric Masada)
MASADA
4.88 | 4 ratings
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PAUL MOTIAN Monk in Motian Album Cover Monk in Motian
PAUL MOTIAN
4.83 | 3 ratings
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LIBERTY ELLMAN Radiate Album Cover Radiate
LIBERTY ELLMAN
4.83 | 3 ratings
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SONNY SHARROCK Ask the Ages Album Cover Ask the Ages
SONNY SHARROCK
4.60 | 13 ratings
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DONNY MCCASLIN Beyond Now Album Cover Beyond Now
DONNY MCCASLIN
4.72 | 4 ratings
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OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ Omar Rodriguez Lopez Quintet ‎: The Apocalypse Inside Of An Orange Album Cover Omar Rodriguez Lopez Quintet ‎: The Apocalypse Inside Of An Orange
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
4.75 | 3 ratings
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CURLEW Live In Berlin Album Cover Live In Berlin
CURLEW
4.62 | 4 ratings
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CURLEW Bee Album Cover Bee
CURLEW
4.62 | 4 ratings
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AKA MOON In Real Time Album Cover In Real Time
AKA MOON
4.67 | 3 ratings
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BILL FRISELL Bill Frisell / Kermit Driscoll / Joey Baron ‎: Live Album Cover Bill Frisell / Kermit Driscoll / Joey Baron ‎: Live
BILL FRISELL
4.75 | 2 ratings
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PAUL MOTIAN The Paul Motian Trio at the Village Vanguard Album Cover The Paul Motian Trio at the Village Vanguard
PAUL MOTIAN
4.75 | 2 ratings
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PAUL MOTIAN Paul Motian Trio: Sound of Love Album Cover Paul Motian Trio: Sound of Love
PAUL MOTIAN
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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eclectic fusion Music Reviews

GREG OSBY Public

Live album · 2004 · Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
Greg Osby was one of the key-figure of the then fresh and creative M-Base movement, together with another great sax player Steve Coleman. Those times are more a history now, and Greg's latest live album, "Public", is an evidence. Opposite to Coleman, who enjoys (alternative) star status since developing their invented M-Base sound, Osby as a leader rarely received a good critics reviews. With years, his early music, containing rap and guitars drifted towards more conservative mainstream jazz.

Osby's "Public" is recorded on his quartet tour, supporting his "St Louis Shoes" studio album, one among Greg's most successful releases. The band is almost the same, as on the studio recording and contains, besides Osby himself on saxes, bassist Robert Hurst, trumpeter Nicholas Payton on four tracks and lesser known Japanese pianist Megumi Yonezawa, instead of Harold O'Neal, who participated in the album's recording in the studio.

The program, recorded in New York's Jazz Standard, illustrates quite well Osby's direction of the time. The album contains (hardly recognizable) Summertime, Parker and Gillespie's Shaw Nuff, Lover Man, Bernie's Tune, and three Osby originals. Rooted in hard/post bop, there are lot of soloing, sometimes testing the dissonance borders. Still, the album's main problem is the band sounds like they are right in the middle of the road, and during the whole concert can't decide what the way to choose.

On closer renown pop-singer Joan Osborne joins the quartet. Her "Lover Man" sounds quite interesting, but doesn't fit logically under the night's program.

TOSHINORI KONDO 近藤 等則 Kondo • IMA : Tokyo Rose

Album · 1990 · Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
Trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, who passed away just three years ago, was for a few decades one of Japan's left-field experimental jazz/fusion key figures. While still being a student in Japan, he played with avant-garde jazz master pianist Yosuke Yamashita. In 1978 Kondo moved to New York where played with John Zorn and Fred Frith among others. On his return to Japan, Kondo founded his own band, Kondo IMA in 1984. His band's music combined funk-metal, avant-garde jazz, industrial grooves and DJ turntablism. Being Kondo's most commercially successful project ever, the band disbanded when Kondo left Japan for Amsterdam, where he became a member of Peter Brötzmann's Die Like a Dog group, and played with avant-garde jazz guitarist Derek Bailey among others.

"Tokyo Rose" is a IMA's seventh album. Being a collective of flexible line-up, IMA, on here, are a long way from Bill Laswell-produced dub-influenced early music with back-up vocalists and moving towards aggressive industrial metal-funk with Kondo, who switched to electric trumpet, two electric bassists and guest DJ and electric violinist among others.

The core band contains capable electric guitarist (originally the bassist of Japanese punk band from late 70s, Friction) Яeck, who plays excellent long bluesy solos over jumping repetitive hyperactive drummer's beat. Besides of playing trumpet, Kondo sings a lot (something between a rap and brutal Japanese avant-rock vocal (or Akira Sakata vocalize) tradition).

In general, the album's music sounds like a Japanese version of the Red Hot Chilly Peppers and Ministry crossover, with partially removed heaviness and melodies, and a bigger accent on groove and lots of avant-garde jazz improvs and electric noises everywhere. The big surprise is being punk/industrial infected(two most monotonous and repetitive genres around), the music itself is extremely variable, there are not a two same moments presented all album long. Experienced jazz drummer Hideo Yamaki (who played with John Zorn, Bill Laswell and Robert Palmer among others) is very much responsible for that.

Multilayered and very refreshing album, not for everyone's taste though.

KOFI FLEXXX Flowers In The Dark

Album · 2023 · Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
Kofi Flexxx is not a person, it's a new project of British artist Shabaka Hutchings, renown by his previous successful bands, The Comet Is Coming, Shabaka & the Ancestors and Sons Of Kemet. Here on Flexxx... Shabaka acts as a producer, collecting a strong team of co-patriots, pianist Alexander Hawkins (of the Convergence Quartet and Decoy) and three young females - drummer Jas Kayser, bassist Daisy George, plus flutist Ross Harris (of today's on-the top jazz hip-hop band Speakers Corner Quartet). The line-up is supported by six guests - singers/rappers.

All of Shabaka's previous music was eclectic, but this new work goes even further, almost each song is stylistically different. Repetitive African rhythms and minimalist tunes flying over them are two things uniting the album's music (and providing that specific for all of Shabaka's usual sound aesthetics).

The opener, "Apothecary", has a dark, almost industrial atmosphere and contains Nuyorican rapper Billy Woods (in fact, this would fit perfectly on one of Woods own albums). Side B of the three-sided vinyl album contains very similar songs as well - another Nuyorican rapper, Elucid's dark psychedelic liquid "Show Me ". Londoner Confucius MC is presented on the title track - a bit lighter mix of Afrocentric rhythms and progressive hip-hop. The fourth album's composition with lyrics "By Now (Accused of Magic)" is already usual for Shabaka's collaborations with Trinidadian/Londoner poet and artist Anthony Joseph, some similar Caribbean-influenced collaborative songs can be found on both Hutchings and Joseph previous solo albums. "Aim", the album's longest composition, contains South African vocalist Siyabonga Mthembu (already known from his participation in another Shabaka project - Shabaka And The Ancestors).

The album's first instrumental piece - "It Was All a Dream" - is a bitter-sweet Caribbean percussive tune with plenty of piano and flute jazzy improves. B-side closer, lengthy, "Babylon Dun Topple", is a true free jazz composition, dissonant, with lots of all instruments improvising, framed with considerable African percussion.

C-side percussive opener, "Increase Awareness", sounds softer and brighter, with repetitive Indian ragas touch. Set's closer, "Fire", is a traditional spiritual jazz piece.

Shabaka Hutchings has issued a statement elaborating on his decision to stop playing saxophone from the end of this year. He's planning to concentrate on producing and other instruments. Kofi Flexxx is an obvious step from Shabaka's past towards his upcoming plans - a bit too eclectic and heterogeneous, but with some interesting ideas which possibly will be developed by him in a nearest future.

MARKUS REUTER Reuter, Motzer, Grohowski : Bleed

Album · 2022 · Eclectic Fusion
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js
“Bleed” is the second album from the trio of Reuter, Motzer and Grohowski. Their first album, “Shapeshifter”, was a very intense and discordant affair recorded live, and it consisted of first take free improvisations. For this second album, the band opted for a studio setting, and although they continued with the free improvisational approach, they also took some time in the studio to edit and shape the music, while also adding some keyboards here and there to flesh things out. The end result is a more musical sounding album, but still with much of the intensity of their live outing. Once again, Markus Reuter and Tim Motzer handle the guitars and electronic gizmos, while Kenny Grohowski handles the drums. All three members add touches of Fender Rhodes, Hammond and Mellotron to the final product. This is very powerful music, and although they also have moments of calm and sensitivity, there is always this lurking feeling that all hell can break loose at any moment. Some music that these guys could be compared to could include Terje Rypdal, Sonny Sharrock, King Crimson, and Miles’ “Dark Magus” album. Every member of this trio has strong chops and the guitar pyrotechnics in particular are impressive.

Although this music is freely improvised, they do a good job of avoiding boring sameness and expected clichés. The opening title track features a heavy drone while Markus spins off a very ‘Frippertronics’ type solo. On “Caustum” they open with delicate finger picking guitar before Markus eventually adds a metallic solo. “Oracle Chamber” sports the closest thing to a familiar repeating rock riff and “Impenetrable” has the band in total free jazz mode. On “Monolith”, the band sounds like a dead ringer for mid 70s King Crimson, particularly the middle section of Crimson’s famous “Starless” song. Album closer, Externalities …” has the band floating away in an unsettling urban ambiance. If free form industrial fusion laden with screaming guitar solos is your sort of thing, it does not get much better than this.

M-BASE COLLECTIVE Flashback On M-Base

Boxset / Compilation · 1993 · Eclectic Fusion
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snobb
Different from M-Base Collective's "Anatomy of a Groove", their only studio album, "Flashback On M-Base" released a year after (in Japan as well) is a compilation of M-Base Collective member's already released material, taken from their own albums. As with a lot of M-Base music, same or similar artists participate on almost any song of their movement's colleagues.

Both albums, being framed musically within M-Base concept, are quite different though. "Anatomy of a Groove" is groovy inspired monolith release, "Flashback On M-Base" is a bulky collection of some strong and some not so good numbers, covering stylistically widest possible variety of the sub-genre. As a result, "Flashback On M-Base's" separate songs do not always fit together, the programming looks a bit strange in moments and the whole album sounds very much as a collection of different songs.

The opener, "Micro-Move", comes from Strata Institute project, or in fact, from M-Base's two main ideologists, altoists Steve Coleman and Greg Osby, as their bare-naked groovy two-saxes soloing duel.

Trombonist Robin Eubanks "Never Give Up", is a drummer's framed funk jazz with some vocals and Greg Osby on alto among others. Steve Coleman's "To Perpetuate The Funk" is one of the strongest songs on the album with interesting lesser known Denise Karen Dyson on vocals (varying from operatic to r'n'b). "Silent Attitude" is a mid-tempo spacey keyboards driven duet with Greg Osby and keyboardist Geri Allen.

Singer Cassandra Wilson's "Rock This Calling" is a funky ballad of sorts with Steve Coleman on alto among others. Greg Osby's, "Gyrhythmitoid", contains a groovy bass line from Lonnie Plaxico and mechanistic drumming from Paul Samuels. Osby's alto soloing adds some life to the music though. Steve Coleman's, "I'm Going Home", with Cassandra Wilson (and Coleman himself) on vocals sounds as a free-funk-rock piece with Kelwyn Bell's electric guitars soloing and Geri Allen's heavy synths.

Third Greg Osby composition, "Mischief Makers", recalls early synth-based "robotic" hip-hop. Cassandra Wilson's "Never", with Steve Coleman on alto is dreamy and passionate, and like all the music on this album - funky. Second Robin Eubanks song, "Midtown", is a funky fusion number with lots of nice soloing trombone. Album closer - Steve Coleman Group's "Another Level" (the group itself is a duo of Coleman on alto and Marty "Smitty" Smith on drums) is a minimalist rhythmic song with lots of Coleman sax soloing over Smith's relaxed mechanistic drumming.

In all, this album is quite an interesting sampler of early M-Base music, collected in one place, but because of the eclectic nature and not always successful programming, it just doesn't sound like a whole.

eclectic fusion movie reviews

MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Fly In A Bottle

Movie · 2011 · Eclectic Fusion
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js
“Fly in a Bottle” is a documentary that follows Medeski, Martin and Wood while they are on tour developing the music that will become “Radiolarians”, as well as some of the recording sessions for that same album. The music on here is excellent, MM&W have a come a long way over the years. They were always a talented band from the start, but their confidence has grown. The funky tunes are funkier than ever, and the psychedelic jazz-rock tunes are more powerful, imaginative and original. Almost any music fan might enjoy watching their concerts and even some of their recording sessions, but a lot of the rest of this DVD is for hardcore fans only.

Along with the footage of MM&W playing music, you also get a lot of footage of them on tour visiting ecological tourist spots and talking, hanging out etc, which is where I think a lot of non-fans will probably start losing interest. They seem like nice sincere guys, but they aren’t particularly entertaining or charismatic, which is often the case with nice sincere guys. There are also some artsy short videos that follow the main feature, some more entertaining than others. Fans of MM&W may want to pick this up, it’s a well-made video and the music is excellent, but non-fans may find this lacking in substance in places.

Artists with Eclectic Fusion release(s)

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