Fusion

Jazz music community with review and forums

Rock and RnB came from jazz in the 1940s via the jump blues genre. Needless to say, over the years jazz, rock and RnB have enjoyed a close relationship and have cross-influenced each other from the beginning. In the mid to late 60s, rock and RnB under went major changes with rock becoming much louder and more experimental under the influence of artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Cream, while RnB became more syncopated and abstract with the new funk sound created by James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Sly Stone and Larry Graham. Meanwhile, Latin jazz was undergoing similar experimental changes under the guidance of artists such as Hermato Pascoal and Flora Purim.

At this point in the mid to late 60s, any intersection between jazz, rock, funk and Latin became a radically different form of music that eventually came to be called fusion. Pioneers in the world of fusion include Larry Coryell, Jermy Steig, Charles Lloyd, Jack DeJohnette, John McLaughlin, Tony Williams, Soft Machine, Brian Auger, Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea and Dreams (Billy Cobham and the Brecker Brothers)

fusion top albums

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

MILES DAVIS In a Silent Way Album Cover In a Silent Way
MILES DAVIS
4.66 | 104 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Bitches Brew Album Cover Bitches Brew
MILES DAVIS
4.56 | 91 ratings
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MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA The Inner Mounting Flame Album Cover The Inner Mounting Flame
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA
4.55 | 70 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Crossings Album Cover Crossings
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.56 | 57 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time Album Cover Live at the Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time
MILES DAVIS
4.68 | 10 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Dark Magus: Live at Carnegie Hall Album Cover Dark Magus: Live at Carnegie Hall
MILES DAVIS
4.52 | 27 ratings
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MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Birds of Fire Album Cover Birds of Fire
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA
4.46 | 71 ratings
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EDDIE HENDERSON Realization Album Cover Realization
EDDIE HENDERSON
4.58 | 15 ratings
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BLUE EFFECT 33 Album Cover 33
BLUE EFFECT
4.74 | 7 ratings
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BILLY COBHAM Shabazz Album Cover Shabazz
BILLY COBHAM
4.49 | 17 ratings
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LES MCCANN Invitation to Openness Album Cover Invitation to Openness
LES MCCANN
4.57 | 10 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Pangaea Album Cover Pangaea
MILES DAVIS
4.45 | 22 ratings
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fusion Music Reviews

HERBIE HANCOCK In Concert Volume 2 (Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter, Eric Gale)

Live album · 1974 · Fusion
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js
Although the first installment of the CTI In Concert series comes across more like a Freddie Hubbard release, 'Volume Two' belongs to Herbie Hancock. The first side features his working quartet at that time, and on the second side they are augmented by Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine. This was an interesting one time only ensemble Herbie gathered for these live dates that apparently took place after he disbanded his Sextet, and before he assembled his new Headhunters group. The big plus here is Jack DeJohnette on drums. The free-form jazz rock jams of the early 70s were DeJohnette's domain, his fierce driving style that mixed hard rock, groovin swing and avant-garde freedom into every blistering phrase had already driven other masterpieces of that time including Miles' legendary sets at The Fillmore. On side one DeJohnette and Herbie push each other relentlessly as Hancock does an extended work out on the static avant-garde funk groove of 'Hornets'. Always known for his delicate beauty and harmonic innovations, this album shows Hancock in a harsh and energetic mode as he rivals Jon Lord and Sun Ra for sheer sonic power and pushes his distorted Fender Rhodes through dissonant Echoplex settings while building sheets of syncopated dissonant chords and angular scales. Although this album may seem a bit dull to many music fans, to fans of really intense keyboard soloing, this is a must have.

Side two brings on Hubbard and Turrentine on horns as the band launches into a side long agro-bossa hyper groove that borders on free jazz during it's long course. It's really interesting to hear Stanley Turrentine, the king of smooth RnB jazz, go off like Bennie Maupin channeling Coltrane. The always fiery and intense Hubbard takes an extended ride before they break down for some quiet spaciness and then onto one more psychedelic Fender Rhodes onslaught from Hancock. In the tradition of Mahavishnu's 'Between Nothingness and Eternity', King Crimson's 'Earthbound' and Miles' 'Live at the Fillmore', this is a rough and tumble live album that favors raw energy over slick production. I would highly recommend this to fans of live early 70s jazz rock jams, and it also contains some of the most intense Herbie Hancock solos ever recorded.

MOTOHIKO HINO Toko: Motohiko Hino Quartet at Nemu Jazz Inn (日野元彦クァルテットatネム・ジャズイン)

Live album · 1975 · Fusion
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Igor91
Drummer Motohiko Hino's "Toko" is some killer psychedelic jazz rock with some avant-garde leanings. This is a live recording from 1975 and this style of fusion may have been on the way out at the time, but Motohiko must have wanted to put his stamp on the genre before moving on to other things. And boy did he.

Like many Japanese jazz records at the time, the recording quality is excellent, and the band was firing on all cylinders that evening. Joining Hino are Mikio Masuda on keyboards, Katsumi Watanabe on electric guitar, and Isao Suzuki on bass. Masuda's keyboards and synths are often wrapped in psychedelic sound effects, while Watanabe's guitar is frequently fuzzed-out and occasionally loaded with wha-wha pedal madness. Suzuki, meanwhile, employs an acoustic bass, giving the music a solid jazz foundation.

The record is essentially 3 long jams, but the band is totally locked in with each other and energized. While there is plenty of improvising going on, there are no boring, meandering moments. They avoid going too far off the rails and remain locked-in with each other throughout the entire performance. All four band members are going off on their individual instruments, yet never lose sight of where the music is going.

Toko is truly a lost gem of jazz rock / fusion. If you enjoy your fusion raw and psychedelic, this album is a must listen - a masterpiece of the genre.

DAVE FLIPPO Dedications

Album · 2021 · Fusion
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js
Dave Flippo is a veteran of the Chicago jazz scene where he has worked for years as a pianist, arranger, bandleader, vocalist and arranger. “Dedications” is his latest album and derives its name from the fact that Dave wanted to write original tunes dedicated to his band members, with each tune bearing a stylistic request from said band member. The end result is a very eclectic album on which Dave fulfilled his percussionist’s wish for an odd-metered Greek dance tune and his drummer’s request for a free flowing piece in which he could play outside the rhythm and so on. Adding to this eclectic mix, Dave also threw in some cover tunes in a wide variety of styles. It is a very talented quartet (quintet on two tunes) that Dave has assembled here, and they often sound much bigger than just four people. Woodwinds player Dan Hesler adds to their diverse sound by picking just the right instrument to flavor each tune, moving from flute to a variety of saxophones as well. Everyone in the band is a powerful soloist, which helps keep every track cookin from start to finish.

Lots of fun tracks on here. Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” makes for an excellent soul jazz groove number in the style of Eddie Harris or Stanley Turrentine. Stevie Wonder’s “Too High” flies high as a re-harmonized post bop cooker and Radiohead’s “Karma Police” works well as a melancholy jazz waltz. Of the many originals, “Giraffe Trek”, takes off as an African Latin groove topped with several fiery solos and “Syrotic” is the aforementioned high energy Greek dance tune in 14 time. Elsewhere on the album you get plenty of gritty hard bop on tracks like “Spring Joy” and the aptly titled “Freewheelin”. “Metamorphosis” is the lengthy closing number on which drummer Heath Chappell is allowed to play freely while the band moves through a variety of styles and tempos.

YUSEF LATEEF The Doctor Is In ...And Out

Album · 1976 · Fusion
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Coming out in 1976, Yusef Lateef’s “The Doctor is in …and Out” was a late comer to jazz’s short lived psychedelic phase, but like many of the somewhat obscure psych-jazz of that era, its found a second life among collectors of rare groove and jazz exotica. In many ways, Lateef was a natural for this style, his many African flavored long winded spiritual modal jazz jams were already one foot in the psyche world as it was. Throughout his career, Yusef was an artist who was interested in fusing jazz with whatever he felt like trying. “The Doctor…” isn’t a great album, nor a particularly bad one, but it is worthwhile for those who like those somewhat off the beaten path kind of opuses.

Side one opens with three rather laid back groove based fusion jams on which Lateef spins solos on flute and oboe. Joining him on keyboards is the great Kenny Barron, who shows up on more of these kind of albums than anyone except maybe Herbie Hancock. Before he became the king of contemporary hard bop, Kenny was all about his arsenal of synthesizers, effects and other electronic keyboards. As usual, Barron turns in a great job with his rhythmic accompaniment and hot solos. Side two picks up steam a bit with two grittier funk jazz numbers, the first recalling Eddie Harris and the second, Herbie’s Headhunters.

For the last three tracks of the album, Yusef takes a very hard left turn with some rather out there outings. “Technological Homosapien” is some sort of talk about technology that is hard to make out sometimes because the words are being over powered by odd sounds on the synthesizer. “Street Musicians” is just that, a recording of some street musicians performing a rather sad and mournful melody. The album closer takes the cake for oddness though, as Lateef solos along side an old sentimental pop song that may be altered electronically somewhat. As mentioned earlier, this album is mostly good for someone into acid jazz putting together a DJ set or mix tape that will have listeners trying to guess ‘where did you find that exotic jam‘.

STEVE GADD Steve Gadd Band : At Blue Note Tokyo

Live album · 2021 · Fusion
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js
If you were a jazz fan in the 70s then you no doubt are very familiar with the drumming of Steve Gadd. Possibly only Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea left a bigger jazz footprint in the 70s than Steve, whose creative drumming showed up on so many jazz, funk, RnB and pop albums throughout the decade, and of course right up to today as well. “At Blue Note Tokyo” is Steve’s latest album and it showcases his band at a relaxed and very groove oriented live show at the famous club in Japan. Joining Steve are his usual band mates of Kevin Hays on keys and vocals, Jimmy Johnson on bass, Walt Fowler on trumpet and longtime associate David Spinozza filling in on guitar.

This being a live gig, the band keeps things mostly cool in a crowd pleasing way, and even includes a couple vocal numbers that are always a good way of building a stronger report with an audience. The CD opens with “Where’s Earth” with a touch of psychedelic mystery. The following two tracks, “Doesn’t She by Now” and “Timpanogos” are two of the best on the album with their catchy melodic content and no sweat infectious groove. The following blues and vocal tracks seem more like crowd pleasers and they work well that way.

The band picks up some steam on the Latin flavored “One Point Five” with Kevin Hays turning in a short but intense montuno driven piano solo and Gadd giving us his only solo on the album. The two following funk numbers keep the energy level up there with “Way Back Home” pushing Hays into another hot piano solo, this time with a New Orleans flavor. “Rat Race” keeps the funk flowing with Spinozza turning up the saturated distortion for his most rocking solo on the album.

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WEATHER REPORT Live in Germany 1971

Movie · 2010 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
Well if the world still has to find some live recording from the very first studio all-star line-up (not likely, though), at least we've got now something very close to and we can even see the quintet at work with this just-as-famous version in the form of a German TV show called the Beat Club. With only Airto Moreira gone, replaced by Brazilian countryman Um Romao, the other four being Vitous, Shorter, Mouzon and Zawinul, Weather Report embarked on this TV show adventure not knowing that Alphonse Mouzon would leave the band in a while.

As you'd expect this broadcast consisted mainly of tracks from the debut album, but some are fairly different as WR always made improvisation their force. So you'll recognize 'Umbrellas generic structure, but drafted fairly differently, not just because of Romao's constant change of percussions instruments - he's one of the visual focus of the group, who otherwise remains fairly static and even blows a flute (and later some whistles) for a short while. One of the big difference between the studio album and this broadcast is that Miroslav has taken up the electric bass (his contrabass is still very present but mainly played with a bow), thus allowing even more energy to invade the quintet's shared space. The group's steaming-hot improvised fusion is simply awesome and flows naturally from your speakers like a river of fresh lave spewing out from your volcanic woofers.

Clearly the gravitational centre of the band is Zawinul's Rhodes, but it is clear that it is the group's tightness its main force. Morning Lake is much needed breathing space, starting out slowly with Shorter's sax signalling the dawn for Romao's birdsongs. Just past that Dom pulls an Brazilian berimbau . Drummer Alphonse sings funkilly (rather well, too) a rare sung track in the closing medley, but it's will veer into the Dr Honoris Causa - later on the Body Electric album.

A while later, Mouzon would leave the band and be replaced by drummer Erik Gravatt and this line-up would go on to record Body Electric and the Tokyo concert (released in 77, but part of it in the ISTBE album) and in the process become the definitive line-up of the Vitous- era Weather Report But for now, this German TV broadcast is an inestimable witness of the group's almost original line-up, and is just as essential as their debut album, the Tokyo concert or Body Electric.Too bad it's relatively short, though. Run for this baby...

DIXIE DREGS Live At The Montreaux Jazz Festival

Movie · 2005 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
This was the Dixie Dregs lineup that I first come to know live and otherwise. The Montreaux Jazz Festival performance was used for side two of the LP Night of the Living Dregs. I had no idea the concert was filmed. This represents the band at their prime. Keyboardist Mark Parrish, would soon be replaced by T Lavitz, who is a better keyboard player, but this as this performance testifies, he was no slouch either. Oddly enough, the back cover of this DVD shows a band picture with the original keyboardist from Freefall, Steve Davidowski (guess there was only room for one Steve in this band). Steve Morse was at his most inspired around this time, even though he has certainly grown in skill over the years.

The set list is a little disappointing as it lacks some of the prime cuts from What If (Night Meets Light, Odyssey, Travel Tunes, What If), but I'm not complaining. Now I have something more than just memories of the many Dregs shows I saw back then. It is more of a forward looking set which includes Attila The Hun, that didn't show up on an album until three years later. Also of note, but of less interest to progressive rock fans, is the bluegrass style ditty, Kathreen, never released on a regular album, but only showed up on their demo album, The Great Spectacular, from 1975. If you have a copy of that album, you have something rare, indeed.

Thrown in for bonus are two live TV appearances, one on American Can'tstand (Bandstand) and one on Don Kirschner's Rock Concert. On the former, you get to see them both try out a vocalist, in an attempt to appeal to a more mainstream audience, and with Mark O'Connor, who only played with them for one album, but a few great live shows before the band disbanded for a few years.

As great as the band studio albums were, the live shows took things to an even higher level. Now you can see what you missed, unless you didn't.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Abstract Logix Live! / The New Universe Music Festival 2010

Movie · 2011 · Fusion
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js
Abstract Logix’s New Universe Festival of 2010 was probably one of the more significant fusion concerts in recent history, and it is all captured in excellent form on this concert video. Many of the top names in current fusion are here and what a great varied and colorful approach they all bring to this music that will always be associated with its 70s roots. Ranjit Barot fuses fusion with Indian flavors and orchestral music, Human Element bring back the beautiful noise and chaos that has been absent since the early days of jazz-rock, Wayne Krantz takes on the modern NYC flavor with his harsh jarring free funk, Jimmy Herring plays sentimental, sometimes delicate, progressive rock flavored fusion, and of course the great John McLaughlin rounds it all up with high speed post bop mixed with funk and contemporary fusion. Every single performance is top notch and very convincing in letting us know that there is still plenty of life left in this sometimes maligned genre.

The music on here is great, but the video itself is even better. Its amazing how far concert videos have come over the years. This one is clear as a bell and features lots of accurate close-ups of the musicians as they display their virtuoso skills. They say that fusion is a musician’s music, if that is the case, then this video is a great learning tool for the aspiring player. Much of the footage on here goes right to the source and features the musician’s hands as they work their scales and fret boards. Any aspiring fusionist can pick up a lifetime of high speed licks and extended technique by studying this video and even stop-starting it it frame by frame. Long gone are the days of vague camera angles from way far away and pointless shots of musicians grimacing while they play, this video is all about accuracy and showing you exactly how this music goes down. This is a spirited and enthusiastic concert and highly recommended for fans of modern fusion.

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Live At Montreux 74/84

Movie · 2007 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
The 1984 appearance of the MO was a lineup that didn't have any of the previous MO lineup of musicians except for John. Still there was a pretty impressive roster. Jonas Hellborg, on bass, steals the show. I suspect he's been rather influenced by Jaco at this point. Also, we also have Bill Evans, fairly fresh out of his stint saxing with Miles Davis. There's also a fine drummer, Danny Gottlieb, who'd played with Pat Metheny prior. Don't know much about Mitchell Forman. With John experimenting with the Synclavier Guitar so much, the keyboards are almost redundant in this ensemble. I had a hard time sitting through this at first. It definitely has that '80's taint, if you know what I mean. But I've warmed up to it. It's a bit like an attempt to return to the magic of the original lineup that doesn't quite get there. Still, if you judge it in the context of the time, it's not too bad.

I got this for one reason and one reason only, it was the two video bits from the Apocalypse lineup of Mahavishu Orchestra. Actually calling them bits isn't quite accurate. Wings of Karma and Hymn to Him are actually decently long pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had some actual orchestra musicians with them there at Montreaux. The first inkling I got that there was some live footage from this MO lineup was a poor quality video of Smile of the Beyond on a certain video clip web site many of us know of. It's very disappointing that we only get two clips from the show with video and the rest are audio only. I'm guessing the rest of the original footage has been lost. One can only hope that it will resurface. The performance is a bit more structured than the more compact MO's could be live, but that's to be expected due to the larger number of musician's involved. Still the core band does get to work in some improvisation, McLaughlin in particular.

This release is all in all a pleasant surprise for 2007, but there's more video out there from the older Mahavishu Orchestras, and I hope to see that material surface soon. It gets a four on the round up.

JEFF BECK Performing This Week...Live At Ronnie Scott's

Movie · 2008 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
Holy crap, there's a new Jeff Beck live DVD out there!.

...I thought as I saw this at the record store. This is why it's important to keep those local independent brick and mortar record stores open: you'll never know what you'll find browsing.

As near as I've been able to find out, Jeff Beck (THE Beck, not that other guy) hadn't been touring in a long time, but rather was sticking to special performances. To make up for it, sort of, he did a week's worth of shows at London's Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in late November 2007. I've never been there, but it looks a little large as some jazz clubs go but still reasonably intimate. I'm pretty sure you don't need binoculars to observe any performances there.

Jeff has assembled an interesting set of musicians, the oldest being Jeff himself (b. 1944), Vinnie Colaiuta (1956) on drums, Jason Rebello (1969) on keys, and Tal Wilkenfeld (1986) on bass. Vinnie I know best from association with Zappa, Jason's new to me but I found out has worked with Sting, Tal (new to the music scene) hails from Australia and judging from her performance she is someone to really keep your eye on. Guests appearances by Joss Stone, Imogen Heap, and Eric Clapton, heyyy.

The set list, not really the proper term as it must have been culled from all the shows, is an impressive collection of material spanning Jeff's career so far. Original stuff includes Beck's Bolero {is this not actually a cover?}, Led Boots, Scatterbrain, Angel, Blast From The East, Rollin' And Tumblin'. Also some nice covers thrown in for good measure including Eternity's Breath!, Cause We've Ended As Lovers {never really seemed like a cover to me}, People Get Ready, A Day In The Life, You Need Love). You also get some interviews as bonus material and the DVD booklet is a nice read. 21 tracks altogether, mixed in Dolby 5.1 and DTS surround sounds with a 16:9 video format, I might add.

Wish I was there but this is the next best thing. It's one hell of a way to experience one hell of a guitarist. It's a live assortment, but due the quality and quantity I am rounding this one up.

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