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What was the first prog fusion album?

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AFlowerKingCrimson View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 11 2020 at 17:23
I'm not talking about just regular fusion even though I know it's a subgenre here but more like albums that combined prog and fusion. Although I personally think Happy the Man were rather early in that regard some have blasted me(possibly on here)for suggesting they were prog fusion. However, there is at least one earlier example(and earlier than UK also)and that is:

Fish out of water - Chris Squire

To me this is maybe the first  prog fusion album. I know some might say Lizard or Islands by King Crimson or even maybe the band Colosseum but to me those are prog with jazz influences or just jazz rock in the case of the latter. FOOW fits the bill for me. What do you guys think? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 18:36
Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

I'm not talking about just regular fusion even though I know it's a subgenre here but more like albums that combined prog and fusion. Although I personally think Happy the Man were rather early in that regard some have blasted me(possibly on here)for suggesting they were prog fusion. However, there is at least one earlier example(and earlier than UK also)and that is:

Fish out of water - Chris Squire

To me this is maybe the first  prog fusion album. I know some might say Lizard or Islands by King Crimson or even maybe the band Colosseum but to me those are prog with jazz influences or just jazz rock in the case of the latter. FOOW fits the bill for me. What do you guys think? 

Ummm...no. Try even earlier than that. Soft Machine's Third (1970), for instance. Or even earlier, Zappa's Hot Rats (1969). Throw in Santana III (1971) and Caravanserai (1972).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Manuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 18:47
I don’t think FOW was the first prog fusion album. The work of Return to Forever and The Mahavishnu Orchestra had a lot of fusion elements, way before Chris Squire came out with his solo album.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 18:54
Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:

Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

I'm not talking about just regular fusion even though I know it's a subgenre here but more like albums that combined prog and fusion. Although I personally think Happy the Man were rather early in that regard some have blasted me(possibly on here)for suggesting they were prog fusion. However, there is at least one earlier example(and earlier than UK also)and that is:

Fish out of water - Chris Squire

To me this is maybe the first  prog fusion album. I know some might say Lizard or Islands by King Crimson or even maybe the band Colosseum but to me those are prog with jazz influences or just jazz rock in the case of the latter. FOOW fits the bill for me. What do you guys think? 


Ummm...no. Try even earlier than that. Soft Machine's Third (1970), for instance. Or even earlier, Zappa's Hot Rats (1969). Throw in Santana III (1971) and Caravanserai (1972).


Third was the first album I thought of.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 19:53
Originally posted by Manuel Manuel wrote:

I don’t think FOW was the first prog fusion album. The work of Return to Forever and The Mahavishnu Orchestra had a lot of fusion elements, way before Chris Squire came out with his solo album.

I consider them fusion and not pure prog. Same thing with Santana. Soft Machine were very jazzy but so were Traffic. I don't consider SM or Traffic to be  prog fusion. 

I did come across a rather obscure album on youtube called Burning Red Ivanhoe who put out a self titled album in 1970 that might qualify. Secret Oyster and Kraan are other bands who were earlier than Chris Squire but I'm not sure if they would qualify as prog fusion. SO in particular might though. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Hw69ZRvEA&list=PL8a8cutYP7fowSjSK7eUrxFtHi1mHf-W7


Edited by AFlowerKingCrimson - December 11 2020 at 19:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 20:00
Originally posted by Nogbad_The_Bad Nogbad_The_Bad wrote:

Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:

Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

I'm not talking about just regular fusion even though I know it's a subgenre here but more like albums that combined prog and fusion. Although I personally think Happy the Man were rather early in that regard some have blasted me(possibly on here)for suggesting they were prog fusion. However, there is at least one earlier example(and earlier than UK also)and that is:

Fish out of water - Chris Squire

To me this is maybe the first  prog fusion album. I know some might say Lizard or Islands by King Crimson or even maybe the band Colosseum but to me those are prog with jazz influences or just jazz rock in the case of the latter. FOOW fits the bill for me. What do you guys think? 


Ummm...no. Try even earlier than that. Soft Machine's Third (1970), for instance. Or even earlier, Zappa's Hot Rats (1969). Throw in Santana III (1971) and Caravanserai (1972).
 

Third was the first album I thought of.

Now that I think about it, Soft Machine's third could very well be a contender. I haven't actually heard it though so it's maybe not fair for me to comment one way or the other. However, is it really more prog fusion thank KC's "lizard" and did it come out before or after it?

Edit: Nevermind. I see that SM 3 came out before Lizard.

I am familiar with Hot Rats and early Santana though. I don't hear much prog in them. Hot Rats is more jazz rock than pure fusion(which didn't really develop until MO and RTF a little later anyway imo). There are rock elements and jazz elements but the two aren't really fused on that album the way they would be later. Plus I don't really hear much(if any)pure prog on it. Again this is just my opinion. Unlike some of you I'm not pretending to be an expert on the subject and trying to present something as fact. 

Just like the what was the first prog album question I get the feeling here there is no definitive answer(not that I ever really thought there would be though)but instead several possibilities.  


Edited by AFlowerKingCrimson - December 11 2020 at 21:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 21:31
I'm having a hard time differentiating between "prog fusion" and "regular fusion."  What would be the differentiating features?  Instrumentation for example? 

I'd suggest "21st Century Schizoid Man" as an option.  My first guitar mentor, an amazing chap, turned me onto this when I was perhaps 14 and said it was "jazz rock," my first introduction to the idiom.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 22:27
Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:

I'm having a hard time differentiating between "prog fusion" and "regular fusion."  What would be the differentiating features?  Instrumentation for example? 

I'd suggest "21st Century Schizoid Man" as an option.  My first guitar mentor, an amazing chap, turned me onto this when I was perhaps 14 and said it was "jazz rock," my first introduction to the idiom.  

Imo, it's prog with fusion elements as opposed to just jazz elements. Sound chaser from Yes would be a good example but the whole of relayer isn't really prog fusion or fusion imo. Regular fusion(and even "jazz rock")is rock with jazz elements but not prog at all if any. I know some are pointing to RTF but just because they used synth doesn't mean there's a really heavy prog element. I see no evidence any of the big three fusion bands(RTF, WR and MO)were influenced by prog. Maybe RTF a tiny bit but the others were just taking rock with jazz and I don't hear prog. This is all my opinion. 

It's funny you mention 21st century schizoid man as I was thinking about that song earlier. It has that saxophone break in it. A few of the early bands used sax but not necessarily in a very jazzy way. The sax solo on Schizoid man has a very free form jazz sound to it so you might have something there.


Edited by AFlowerKingCrimson - December 11 2020 at 22:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ExittheLemming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 22:41
Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

I'm not talking about just regular fusion even though I know it's a subgenre here but more like albums that combined prog and fusion. Although I personally think Happy the Man were rather early in that regard some have blasted me(possibly on here)for suggesting they were prog fusion. However, there is at least one earlier example(and earlier than UK also)and that is:

Fish out of water - Chris Squire

To me this is maybe the first  prog fusion album. I know some might say Lizard or Islands by King Crimson or even maybe the band Colosseum but to me those are prog with jazz influences or just jazz rock in the case of the latter. FOOW fits the bill for me. What do you guys think? 


Still not entirely sure what constitutes 'Prog Fusion' but if you mean Prog + regular Fusion you might be guilty of double dipping the rock element i.e Prog (which encompasses Rock) + Jazz + Rock. Perhaps I have misunderstood you but wouldn't someone like Colosseum, Return to Forever, Out Of Focus or Supersister fit the bill?


Edited by ExittheLemming - December 11 2020 at 22:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 22:46
Originally posted by AFlowerKingCrimson AFlowerKingCrimson wrote:

Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:

I'm having a hard time differentiating between "prog fusion" and "regular fusion."  What would be the differentiating features?  Instrumentation for example? 

I'd suggest "21st Century Schizoid Man" as an option.  My first guitar mentor, an amazing chap, turned me onto this when I was perhaps 14 and said it was "jazz rock," my first introduction to the idiom.  

Imo, it's prog with fusion elements as opposed to just jazz elements. Sound chaser from Yes would be a good example but the whole of relayer isn't really prog fusion or fusion imo. Regular fusion(and even "jazz rock")is rock with jazz elements but not prog at all if any. I know some are pointing to RTF but just because they used synth doesn't mean there's a really heavy prog element. I see no evidence any of the big three fusion bands(RTF, WR and MO)were influenced by prog. Maybe RTF a tiny bit but the others were just taking rock with jazz and I don't hear prog. This is all my opinion. 

It's funny you mention 21st century schizoid man as I was thinking about that song earlier. It has that saxophone break in it. A few of the early bands used sax but not necessarily in a very jazzy way. The sax solo on Schizoid man has a very free form jazz sound to it so you might have something there.

Thanks, the sax solo was exactly what I meant! 

I had the great pleasure to meet Bob Fripp in a record store during his "Drive to 1981" Frippertronics tour, 18 June, 1979.  Bob gave a wonderful Frippertronics show and then answered questions for the smallish audience (perhaps 30?) who had attended.  

He discussed how chaotic it was to compose 21st Century and played a bit on his black Les Paul!!  He said that he started with the crashing C chord that opens it, and then he said they segued to the middle....with a twinkle in his eye and a big smile, he exclaimed "Now, everyone SOLO!!"  His guitar work in that song is sublime, as is Lake's bass playing.  

It gets my vote as the signature song of progressive fusion/jazz rock, being that it is from 1969 or so. 


Edited by cstack3 - December 11 2020 at 22:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 23:07
I think of much Prog as music in or from a rock context that is unconventially rock in that it breaks away from the rock conventions to expand into other musical avenues, typically fuses various genres (especially jazz and classical) with rock, plays with form, has experimentation etc.

I do consider Soft Machine's Third to be Prog and Jazz-fusion (earlier Soft Machine music could count too, I would say). Magma's first two albums also count for me (1970 and 1971). Born J:Son Lindh's Från storstad till grodspad from 1971 I would count (love that album), Floating Music by Stomu Yamash'ta from 1972, Rhésus O from 1971. I don't know what the first is, but I wouldn't think it would need to be influenced by Prog to be Prog (could be an originator of Prog before it was codified as some genre designation or Prog when thought of as a progressive approach to rock -- or underground rock, experimental rock...). The Mothers of invention's Absolutely Free from 1967 might count, but then one might just call it experimental rock meets jazz-rock. I consider Zappa's Hot Rats from 1969 to be jazz-rock and Progressive Rock (or progressive rock), and the earlier Uncle Meat as a sort of jazz avant-Prog. And I'd like to mention early Samla Mammas Manna, and I would include Colosseum. I could include Miles Davis In a Silent Way too, although I could understand why some would not.

To some Prog really refers just to the more "symphonic" (something of a misnomer one might say) Prog groups, but it can be such a nebulous label and the umbrella can be seen as huge. I'm something of a big tenter (actually I'm not that keen on the term Prog, but that's another matter).

Edited by Logan - December 12 2020 at 00:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2020 at 23:15
Now this is an interesting thread, and I say that as arguably the biggest Chris Squire fan boi.

I'm having a hard time seeing what you're trying to articulate with the word "prog fusion", OP; it feels redundant in terms of terminology.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 12 2020 at 00:39
The amount of jazz elements in many of the prog releases listed here are quite overstated. Jazz influence? Sure (not referring to clear fusion groups like RTF, MO, Secret Oyster, etc.) 

Take Hot Rats. Is there a lot of soloing? Yes. Is there saxophone and double bass? Yes. This does not suddenly equal jazz. I know post-Kind of Blue, most jazz combos were going modal, but even then, Willie the Pimp and Gumbo Variations feature drawn out jams over one chord (ostinato), and it's more pentatonics than bop stylistics. There are jazz influences all over the album, but I hesitate to call all or most of it jazz rock.

What I think gets glossed over with Hot Rats (and I know this is off topic) are the modernist elements. The two (in my opinion) most interesting tracks off that record, Little Umbrellas and It Must Be a Camel, have Zappa's contemporary classical leanings written all over. And many of the great jazzers of the time listened to that kind of stuff too (Jarrett, Corea, etc.). 

Fish Out of Water certainly featured at least that one flute player who was versed in jazz, but I don't think there are quite enough elements of jazz to call it a prog fusion album. Though I agree there are certainly fusion elements.

Jazzy is different than jazz, I suppose.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 12 2020 at 00:58
^ Just on a related note, I really like third stream jazz (and modal jazz) which blends jazz and classical music (still has those jazz improv qualities).. A favourite of mine is Miles Davis Sketches of Spain and some Mingus and Moondog. A lot of what I might consider to be on the jazz-rock side might well be considered more jazzy than jazz.

I see jazz-rock as rock music that has had jazz as a strong influence in the way its constructed, or structure, how it is conceived and performed, and has some basis in improvisational jams (or is reliant on extended improvisational jams). Much Frank Zappa fits that as do other early ones such as Soft Machine from my perspective.

So basically, I think of jazz-rock as rock that is informed by jazz more than as jazz that is informed by rock. Jazz fusion could be jazz fused with any style. I mentioned Miles Davis, but he falls more into the jazz infused by rock category (or electric jazz for various albums).

Edited by Logan - December 12 2020 at 01:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 12 2020 at 02:57
I agree.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 12 2020 at 03:02
I don't know if you can empirically identify the FIRST use of fusion prog, which to me is a redundancy in terms TBH.

Someone mentioned Sketches of Spain which I'd agree with. Technically Miles Smiles is some serious jazz/swing trending towards what would eventually manifest as Bitches Brew, and the pinnacle of his career which were those electric live sessions/albums in the mid 70's IMHO.

Originally posted by Logan Logan wrote:

So basically, I think of jazz-rock as rock that is informed by jazz more than as jazz that is informed by rock. Jazz fusion could be jazz fused with any style. I mentioned Miles Davis, but he falls more into the jazz infused by rock category (or electric jazz for various albums).

Funnily enough, it's often argued that Miles flipped the script, and did exactly that: he made A Tribute to Jack Johnson which appears to be precisely jazz infused with rock lol. John McLaughlin is tearing up those Chuck Berry riffs.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 12 2020 at 07:17
What about East of Eden's Mercator Projected (1969)?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AFlowerKingCrimson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 12 2020 at 11:48
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

What about East of Eden's Mercator Projected (1969)?

I thought about that one because I know about it but I'm not really familiar enough to comment.


Edited by AFlowerKingCrimson - December 12 2020 at 11:52
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