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JAZZ ROCK/FUSION

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Jazz Rock/Fusion definition


  1. Jazz Fusion is jazz that is strongly influenced by other styles of music. Jazz fusion is an ambiguous term that provides the first level sub-set down from Jazz. Jazz rock is a sub-sub set from jazz via jazz fusion. The ambiguity comes from an American tendency through the 90's and until now, to freely interchange jazz rock and jazz fusion, when in fact the latter term covers most hybrids of jazz fused with other forms of music. The roots of jazz rock can be traced back to RnB influenced soul-jazz artists such as Les McCann, Grant Green and Jimmy Smith, and young British jazzers such as Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame, who were forced to use electronic instruments because the local club's acoustic instruments were reserved for the older established jazz musicians. Probably the first jazz artists that released recordings that mixed modern rock (circa 60s) with jazz were Larry Coryell, Jeremy Steig, Charles Lloyd, The Soft Machine, and The (Jazz) Crusaders. Meanwhile rock artists such as Cream, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were getting a lot of publicity and fame with their lengthy improvisations based on blues, rock, psychedelia and some jazz. These rock artists had an impact on Miles Davis who generated a lot of media attention to this new jazz-rock genre with his Bitches Brew album. From there the genre grew and exploded into numerous different directions. One of these directions was brass rock as exemplified by bands like Dreams, Chicago, BS&T and If. These bands combined elements of jazz, rock and classical music with arrangements for brass and woodwinds.

  2. Many other styles of music have been combined with jazz to create fusion including traditional music from around the world, R'n'B, rock, electronic music and pop music and jazz from Africa, Latin America, India and other places. One of the earliest examples of the use of the term fusion comes from the Indo-jazz fusion of Joe Harriott and John Mayer. Some of the more popular early practitioners of fusion included Weather Report and Herbie Hancock's Sextant. A few years later Shakti appears on the scene and expands the boundaries of fusion further, foreshadowing the World Fusion movement of the 90's.

  3. In part Nu.jazz grew out of the British acid jazz scene of the late 80s and early 90s, whilst modern leaders of nu.fusion cite Miles Davis and Jon Hassell as the godfathers of the genre. As the genre began to develop it took on other influences such as world beat/jazz fusion, psychedelic trip-hop, post-rock and mixtures of ambience with modern jazz. The jazz with electronia experiments that Jon Hassell was conducting in the late 80's, with the likes of Eno, were to be a major influence especially on the dance side of nu.jazz, sometimes known as nu.fusion. Three main elements make nu.jazz different from the more traditional jazz (rock) fusion. First of all there is less of an emphasis on instrumental virtuosity in nu.jazz (especially nu.fusion). Second, more use of electronics (especially skilled turntablism) and studio trickery that emphasizes sound textures. Third, nu.jazz tends to use more modern rhythms such as drum'n'bass, hip-hop, post-rock, and various mixtures of world beat rhythms. Progressive nu.jazz artists such as Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvaer and the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.), combine complicated compositions with modern rhythms to create new unheard of soundscapes - while the former two are leaders of nu.fusion, and with more emphasis on jazz playing, EST have been the leaders in straighter nu.jazz. Nu.jazz is loosely connected to other newer jazz fusion genres, particularly the more progressive live, jazz jam bands such as Medeski Martin & Wood or Garaj Mahal. It may seem that the only difference between the two genres is the country the artist is from or what scene they came up through.li>

Only the most progressive of nu jazz, jazz-rock and fusion artists are listed on Progarchives, although accceptability or not here may vary from person to person. All artists have elements of progressive rock in their music (e.g. Jean Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford or David Sancious) or they represent the most forward-looking and progressive element in their genre (e.g. Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Weather Report). It should be noted that those many Canterbury jazz rock fusion bands, e.g. Soft Machine, Soft Works, Soft Heap, Soft Machine Legacy, Gilgamesh etc. are to be found under the CANTERBURY heading in Prog Archives.

Dick Heath
John 'Easy Money'
Martin 'Alucard' Horst
(Edition 3.2. Nov 2009)

Current Team Members as at 12/24/14

Evolver (Scott)
Man With Hat (Phil)
Darkshade (Mike)
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Jazz Rock/Fusion Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Jazz Rock/Fusion | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.36 | 968 ratings
KIND OF BLUE
Davis, Miles
4.33 | 1205 ratings
BIRDS OF FIRE
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.30 | 667 ratings
IN A SILENT WAY
Davis, Miles
4.28 | 630 ratings
ROMANTIC WARRIOR
Return To Forever
4.27 | 911 ratings
THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.27 | 542 ratings
SPECTRUM
Cobham, Billy
4.29 | 250 ratings
WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER
Nucleus
4.25 | 656 ratings
BITCHES BREW
Davis, Miles
4.23 | 667 ratings
CARAVANSERAI
Santana
4.26 | 274 ratings
HIROMI'S SONICBLOOM: TIME CONTROL
Uehara, Hiromi
4.24 | 554 ratings
ABRAXAS
Santana
4.23 | 750 ratings
ELEGANT GYPSY
Di Meola, Al
4.30 | 143 ratings
STADACONÉ
Sloche
4.24 | 311 ratings
ENIGMATIC OCEAN
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.25 | 241 ratings
LES PORCHES
Maneige
4.34 | 90 ratings
THE COLOURS OF CHLOË
Weber, Eberhard
4.26 | 190 ratings
TILT - IMMAGINI PER UN ORECCHIO
Arti e Mestieri
4.30 | 125 ratings
SVěT HLEDAčů
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.23 | 288 ratings
CROSSINGS
Hancock, Herbie
4.27 | 154 ratings
A BENEFIT OF RADIM HLADÍK [AKA: MODRÝ EFEKT & RADIM HLADÍK]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)

Jazz Rock/Fusion overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Jazz Rock/Fusion experts team

NAWYKI PRZYRODY
Robotobibok
BIRTHDAY
Extra Ball
HALLUCINATION ENGINE
Material
DEMI MASA
simakDialog

Latest Jazz Rock/Fusion Music Reviews


 Un? by OEIL DU SOURD, L' album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.10 | 10 ratings

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Un?
L' Oeil Du Sourd Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. My experience with this album reminded me of grade four when my teacher came up to me from behind and hit me on the side of the head with her book. Did not see that one coming! This is a six piece band out of France and this 2009 album is their sole release so far. Besides the usual instruments we get violin, clarinet, sax, flute and mellotron. A Jazz album with a lot of avant goodness. The singer who's name is Mathilde also plays clarinet and flute but man she is classically trained vocally and what a show she puts on.

"Ods" is my favourite and it's a 14 1/2 minute opener. Sounds like a soundtrack to a James Bond movie early on with the sax, vocal melodies and menacing bass lines. It turns louder after a minute. Great sound here! Organ as well in this powerful and engaging section. It turns darker 4 1/2 minutes in but also more intense as the vocal melodies stop. They're back at 6 1/2 minutes as we get guitar and lots of atmosphere. So good! Check out her vocals starting before 9 minutes. Synths lead before 11 1/2 minutes as the vocals stop. Violin 12 minutes and horns late to end it.

"AC" opens with flute and mellotron as vocal melodies join in after a minute. Drums and sax also help out and organ before 3 minutes as she starts singing words. She's getting a little insane here at 4 1/2 minutes then sax takes over with mellotron. Violin's turn around 6 minutes. "Kudjat(Tronc)" is a bouncy, uptempo horn led piece. Jazzy stuff. Flute before a minute then mellotron a minute later to end it. "Deux Trains Valent Mieux Qu'un "Tu L'auras"" has a catchy beat with lots of bass sounds as the violin comes in. It settles back as vocal melodies and sax come in over the bass and drums. Organ and guitar will also join in as she sings. Sax is back leading as the vocals step aside until they return with the organ after 8 1/2 minutes.

"We Are Knights Who Say Ni!" has these disturbed vocals to start before a keyboard melody takes over as the vocals stop and sax joins in. I like when the sax stops and we get that keyboard melody with bass. Sax is back as contrasts continue. Crazy vocals after 5 minutes along with mellotron and violin. "Here I Am J(H)" is led early by spoken male words, horns and violin. Drums follow and it all speeds up after a minute. A change 3 minutes in as it turns intense with theatrical vocals bringing "Cottonwood Hill" to mind, yes that nuts! A cool instrumental section starts before 6 minutes with guitar, drums and keyboards leading. A calm before 9 minutes with piano and drums as it builds. Another calm before 11 minutes and check out the vocal melodies, mellotron atmosphere and picked guitar late.

"Kudjat(Cime)" ends it as we get this almost 10 minute instrumental and it's a very good one. Bass and drums lead early and it's urgent sounding as horns and more join in. Organ to the fore as well, just love the sound of this one. Man this is such an amazing record with those outlandish vocals and jazzy sound. I'm surprised they haven't followed it up yet as it's coming up 10 years since this was released.

 Dreamweaver by DUKE,GEORGE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Dreamweaver
George Duke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars One thing progheads tend to remember American keyboardist George Duke from, is his participation in Frank Zappa's band. After that he made a successful career blending rock, jazz and r&b, recording well over 30 studio albums. DreamWeaver is the very last one, released just a month before he passed away at the age of 67. Her wife Corine had died of leukemia in 2012. Three years since his latest album, as Duke was recovering from his grief, he confronted difficulties in making new music. Finally the inspiration came when he was on a cruise watching the sun rise. According to him, DreamWeaver was his most sincere album for a long time.

Stylistic diversity is common on Duke's albums, but this one is a very many-sided set of music, covering lively jazz/fusion, funk, soul-influenced pop, r&b ballads -- and synth music. Like the two little 'Transition' vignettes, the short title track in the beginning is a mysterious-sounding synth piece, followed seamlessly by 'Stones of Orion', an excellent, piano-led jazz/fusion track full of happy groove. Kamasi Washington is on tenor sax, Daniel Higgins on flute, and Stanley Clarke's upright bass sounds great. 'Trippin'' is a cool r&b-ish song sung by Duke. I don't like r&b in general, and the drum programming in this otherwise OK song represents the genre's bad sides. 'Ashtray' is pure funk, very catchy at that.

'Missing You' starts with Duke's spoken, piano-backed intro. The main vocalist is Rachelle Ferrell on this light-hearted song that makes me think of a cocktail bar on a cruise. R&b / gospel syrup 'Change the World' features several guest vocalists. 'Jazzmatazz' is a fast-tempo song with r&b and rap elements. The rest of the album operates more pleasantly between fresh-sounding instrumental fusion ('Brown Sneakers' has marvelous synth and electric guitar soli!) and pretty good vocal numbers that fortunately aren't soaked in that r&b attitude. Teena Marie sings 'Ball & Chain' jazz ballad with sensual passion. 15½-minute 'Burnt Sausage Jam' is a wonderful fusion piece; one can hear the joy of playing from the stellar cast. 'Happy Trails' is a nice, lightly r&b flavoured version of a song that Dale Evans wrote in the early fifties.

Surprisingly happy, sweet and life-celebrating DreamWeaver incorporates musical genres (r&b, funk, gospel) that may not hit the target among the fusion listeners, but being 74 minutes long it sure has several highlights too. When it's good, it's very good.

 Chicago at Carnegie Hall by CHICAGO album cover Live, 1971
4.05 | 46 ratings

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Chicago at Carnegie Hall
Chicago Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Glimpse

4 stars Chicago's first live album, Chicago At Carnegie Hall, from 1971 seems to have developed quite the reputation among fans of the group. With many people lambasting it as an overblown, being nearly three hours in duration, and having subpar sound quality. However, after recently picking up this box-set from a local vendor, I would have to disagree with these claims. The sound quality is far from poor, sure it isn't perfect but it is highly listenable even on the original vinyl release and it has also been improved on recent CD reissues.

As for the duration, it can be quite the endurance test for those not truly prepared to sit down for a whole four LP set, it does provide quite an immersive experience as it contains not only the songs the listener is already familiar with but tune-ups and even some crowd interactions as well. Of course, some people might find these sorts of things to be a tad on the excessive side, it does help to give you that full live show experience.

As for the set list on this album, it's about par the course for early 70s Chicago. You'll only find material from the groups first three albums here, with most of them being pulled from the groups first two albums. Most of the songs are faithful to their studio counterparts with some minor variation, but you'll also find a bit of improvisation and soloing here and there.

Overall it's an album that I feel gets a lot more hate than it really deserves, sure it's not quite as good as it could be, but that's not really the point here. Expecting perfection from a live album is always a silly prospect, as if that's what you want then just stick with the studio albums. While for those of you interested in an immersive and exensive live document you'll be certain to get what you're looking for here.

 Paratyphus B by URBANIAK, MICHAL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.17 | 5 ratings

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Paratyphus B
Michal Urbaniak Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. I think I own six studio albums by this very talented Polish band and all of them are excellent but this happens to be my least favourite. So it's tough not giving this 4 stars but it's the most avant and experimental album that this band has done so what for me is my least favourite could well be your favourite depending on your tastes. A six piece at this point with Michal's incredible violin and horn work along with his wife's beautiful vocal melodies standing out.

"Paratyphus B" is led mostly by violin early before other sounds start to come and go throughout. It kicks in with electric piano, drums and spacey sounds late to end it. "Valium" opens with sax and keys before the violin arrives. Dissonant sounds after 2 minutes along with some energetic percussion. It's chaotic after 3 minutes then turns jazzy after 5 minutes. Female vocal melodies join in too. Spacey sounds join in before 7 minutes. Sax to the fore before 10 minutes.

"Irena" is uptempo with vocals, violin, keys and more before calming right down with some jazzy piano and bass. Big finish too. "Winter Piece" is jazzy with female vocal melodies, bass and drums standing out. Violin too and this is a little crazy 1 1/2 minutes in before it kicks back in before 3 minutes.

"Sound Pieces" kicks in quickly but calms right down with violin. This is experimental as sounds come and go but no melody. It turns more intense but no less avant here. Vocal expressions too then we get another calm before 5 minutes with electric piano leading this time. The tempo picks up with bass and drums helping out. Another calm then it picks up around 6 1/2 minutes. Bass and drums lead around 11 minutes and the violin returns a minute later. It then leads 13 minutes in as it settles again. Vocal melodies and more will join in to the end.

Lots to like here but there's better albums by Urbaniak in my opinion.

 Social Studies by BLEY, CARLA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Social Studies
Carla Bley Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Frankly I don't know much about Carla Bley, American free jazz pianist and composer. The artist bio tells that her music often contains experimentalism -- which is not necessarily my cup of tea -- and that she's worked with e.g. Robert Wyatt, Jack Bruce and Nick Mason, whose Fictitious Sports album is in practice Bley's work. Nor have I ever listened to a Bley album before; what an interesting starting point to review one of her numerous albums. On Social Studies Carla Bley (organ, piano; all compositions) is accompanied by a rhythm section and six musicians playing various wind instruments. Nice and clever cover, by the way.

The opener 'Reactionary Tango' (12:52) is the longest track; other five tracks are between 4 and 7 minutes. The dance-like rhythm structure forms the basis, on top of which the trumpet, trombone, saxes and other wind instruments play almost as in a dialogue, with quick, little piano melodies thrown in here and there. This harmlessly playful and mildly humorous composition actually feels a bit too long since the changes along the way aren't very big. Even the soprano sax solo remains rather restricted. But towards the end it begins to feel more interesting as the organ makes me think of the early 70's Soft Machine. To me this music seems closer in spirit to the early British jazz/fusion with some continental flavour than typical American jazz. 'Copyright Royalties' is also temperate and easy-going. Maybe there won't be much experimental twist on this album at all? Nor there seems to be more lively jazz groove.

'Útviklingssang' (is that Norwegian?) is a moody piece in a slow tempo. Alto sax has the biggest role in it. 'Valse Sinistre' is another composition based on a dance rhythm, and it's not exactly sinister. 'Floater' starts cautiously in a "where do we go from here?" -manner but gets slightly livelier. Bass is great here. If you know the Finnish jazz scene of the 70's, this music could be compared to Henrik Otto Donner. The final piece 'Walking Batteriewoman' has the fastest and edgiest melodies. Tenor sax has references to be-bop, I guess.

How did I like this album? First, it was less experimental or difficult than I was prepared to hear, which is positive. But on the other hand it was also a bit duller than I expected. I like the overall feel: temperate, intelligent, witty, gentlemanly and mildly playful and unpredictable. The brass-oriented arrangement is surely not up to my jazz taste, and I naturally can't say how recommendable it is as a Carla Bley album. The All Music Guide rates it among her best ones at 4½ stars, but I was impressed only worth three stars.

 Kind Of Blue by DAVIS, MILES album cover Studio Album, 1959
4.36 | 968 ratings

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Kind Of Blue
Miles Davis Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This album is out of my usual music comfort zone as I wasn't brought up on jazz and still very intimidated with the huge back catalog of many of these artists and how they frequently change their style and approach as frequently as their lineup changes. With Miles I started with his fusion efforts, Bitches Brew, Live at the Fillmore, Get Up with It (I still need to get more from that phase in his career). I also have Filles de Kilimanjaro, but the vinyl disc is so beat it's unplayable but I did like the music. Now to 1959 with Kind of Blue. I obviously wasn't expecting fusion here, far from it. But after a few listens it really grew on me and understand fully the huge praise it gets. Here he gets help from Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and others. This album apparently helped define modal jazz which I totally confess ignorance on (that's what happens not growing up on jazz). What I do notice was this album emphasized riffs, be it on piano or horns and go on with improvisations with the riffs repeating themselves from time to time. "All Blues", for example featuring bluesy riffs or "Flamenco Sketches" (which I assumed inspired his next album Sketches of Spain) which includes, unsurprisingly Spanish flamenco scales. Much of the album uses this similar approach of riffs or scales with improvisations. I am surprised how lengthy this album is for 1959, around 45 minutes, which many 1970s prog rock albums were that length.

To be honest at a younger age I probably would have little patience for this, but I'm glad now to own this piece of musical history and I have to say it's actually amazing. I do need to warn you it's a pretty calm and relaxed album, Bitches Brew this is not, but on the other hand this album is a demonstration how far jazz evolved by 1959 at a time rock and roll was only a few years old and prog was still another ten years away. Recommending this album is only preaching to the choir, but obviously every jazz fan has this already and those getting into jazz needs it.

 Music: Breathing Of Statues by VIOLA CRAYOLA, THE album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.00 | 6 ratings

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Music: Breathing Of Statues
The Viola Crayola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Although the progressive rock world is only a mere half century old as of 2018 (compared to jazz or classical which is ancient!), it's absolutely amazing how many different artists have come and gone throughout its mere five decade time run. For every King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Yes, there are literally hundreds of bands that were equally as creative, infinitely more experimental and yet for whatever reason, crashed and burned practically before they ever got through the door. Yet another one shot wonder from the early 70s is this oddity THE VIOLA CRAYOLA which put out exactly one album titled MUSIC: BREATHING OF STATUES in 1974.

THE VIOLA CRAYOLA may sound like a really strange band name but makes more sense once learned that it was founded by the VIOLA brothers led by guitarist Anthony with his bro and drummer Ron. This band was a guitar led jazz-fusion trio that emerged somewhere out of Texas, USA, pumped out this one stellar heavy psych / prog / jazz-rock album and then had its career cut short when Tony was killed in a freak car accident barely after the album was hot off the press. The trio was rounded out by Bill Jolly on bass and this one and only released came out on the Fautna label 1974 and despite its relative obscure nation has found its way onto a CD re-release on Radioactive Records.

MUSIC: BREATHING OF STATUES is one of the more unique album names of the era but due to a shortened career this band was snuffed out before anyone could hear it which is woefully a shame because this is some powerful and wonderfully wild guitar driven power prog that finds wickedly wild wah-wah and psychedelic fuzzed out guitar taken from the Hendrix playbook, turned up a few notches and marries it to the jazz-fusion technical prowess of John McLaughlin obviously influenced by his early Mahavishnu Orchestra period with finger breaking guitar riffs and even sicker sizzling solos. Other guitar influences cited range from Frank Zappa, Fred Frith, Henry Kaiser and Larry Coryell.

For a debut album MUSIC: BREATHING OF STATUES is a strong one. It effortlessly jaunts from one fuzz-fueled jammy jazz-fusion treat to another. The album is almost exclusively instrumental with the one exception of the Zappa-esque novelty closer 'What Is The Meaning Of Love?' which is an over-the-top goofy piece reminiscent of Zappa's works such as 'Greggery Peccory' (which came out after this release) or 'Billy Was A Mountain' (which came out before) only it incorporate the jazz-fusion musical accompaniments. In fact, it reminds me a bit of The Tubes of all bands especially their earliest stuff. Overall THE VIOLA CRAYOLA delivers a stellar guitar driven jazz-fusion album that seamlessly fused jazz and rock and incorporated the techniques of the masters. This isn't quite as brilliant as John Abercombie's similar Friends project but it does get very close. Excellent.

 Friday Night In San Francisco by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Live, 1981
4.20 | 103 ratings

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Friday Night In San Francisco
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 215

Al Di Meola is an American guitarist which is better known because, in 1974, he joined the Chick Corea's band, Return To Forever and played with the band until its dissolution, in 1976. John McLaughlin is a British guitarist which is better known because, in 1971, he formed The Mahavishnu Orchestra, a band very well respected throughout the world due to their good and complex fusion of jazz, rock and Indian music. Paco de Lucia is a Spanish flamenco guitarist and classical guitarist which is better known and recognized, probably because he was the best flamenco guitarist ever.

"Friday Night In San Francisco" is a live album of the fantastic trio of guitarists, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia and it was recorded at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, in 5 December 1980 and was released in 1981.

We can say that it was a historic occasion. The appearance of John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, and Paco DeLucia at San Francisco's Warfield Theatre in one Friday night in 1981 was a musical event that could be compared to the Benny Goodman Band's performance at Carnegie Hall in 1938. The Guitar Trio did for the acoustic guitar what Goodman had done for jazz. As we lnow, the acoustic guitar had gone commercially in those years, already. In 1979 and 1980, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia had actually toured Europe with Larry Coryell. John McLaughlin tried to release a recording of this group but Columbia would have none of it, claiming Coryell wasn't a big enough name. Coryell had some personal problems at the time that did not help either. When the time came to tour America, Al DiMeola stepped in. His presence suddenly made the trio commercial. Anyway, "Friday Night In San Francisco" was the final result of it.

"Friday Night In San Francisco" has five tracks. Four of them were recorded live and one was recorded in studio. The first track consists of two songs, "Mediterranean Sundance" written by Al Di Meola and that appeared for the first time on his fantastic second studio album "Elegant Gypsy" and "Rio Ancho" written by Paco de Lucia. Both songs are performed as one by Paco de Lucia on the left channel and Al Di Meola on the right channel. This is an extraordinary song superiorly performed live by these two great guitar artists. It's hard to describe how great this track is. It consists on a fabulous guitar acoustic duel by this duet with about 11 minutes without lowering the musical rhythm and the speed of play. This is really an amazing piece of music and just because of that we should buy this album. It's my favourite track on the album and it's also the best way to open this amazing album. The second track "Short Tales Of The Black Forest" written by Chick Corea is performed on the left channel by John McLaughlin and on the right channel by Al Di Meola. This is a more subtle and quiet song also very well performed with good and great changes because suddenly is quiet and suddenly is faster. It has also a fantastic moment when the Pink Panther's theme makes an appearance and suddenly they change to a blues. This is absolutely a delightful song. The third track "Frevo Rasgado" written by Egberto Gismonti is performed on the left channel by John McLaughlin and on the right channel by Paco de Lucia. This is another fantastic track with perfect harmony and precious dialogues between the acoustic guitars of both artists. However, despite the fantastic live performance, this is probably my less favourite track on the album. The fourth track "Fantasia Suite" written by Al Di Meola, is the only live track with the guitar trio and is performed on the left channel by Paco de Lucia, on the middle channel by John McLaughlin and on the right channel by Al Di Meola. It's another fantastic and memorable live performance on this album, practically at the same level of the first track. This is a very beautiful song fantastically live performed by the trio with great musical rhythm and high speed of the music. It's simply a fantastic and truly amazing piece of music. This is my second favourite track on the album. The fifth and last track "Guardian Angel" written by John McLaughlin, is performed on the left channel by Paco de Lucia, on the middle channel by John McLaughlin and on the right channel by Al Di Meola. It's the only studio track on the album. This is the smallest track on the album but it's also a track with the same quality of the others played live. Here we can hear the different nuances between the three acoustic guitars even if they only combine the same kind of rhythm of music.

Conclusion: I own a vinyl copy of this album since it was released. "Friday Night In San Francisco" is a fantastic album and we may say that for those who don't know this trio of great artists very well, it's one of the best entries in all of these three guitarists' fine discographies. This is really one of the greatest guitar masterpieces in any kind of music. I can say that I agree with most of my colleagues that this isn't truly a progressive rock album. This is more a flamenco and jazz oriented album, than rock and progressive music. However, and although I can understand their point of view, not to rating this album with 5 stars, I don't agree with them. Why? Because this album is so fantastic and essential for everybody, that I can't rating it with less than 5 stars. This is a true masterpiece in any genre and type of music, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Stromboli by STROMBOLI album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.04 | 33 ratings

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Stromboli
Stromboli Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars STROMBOLI is an Italian island off the coast of Sicily but it's also a type of turnover filled with various Italian cheeses (typically mozzarella), however today we will be discussing another STROMBOLI and that is the progressive art rock band from Prague, Czech Republic that was originally founded by Michal Pavl'ček in 1985 as a live jazz-rock trio for the Prague Jazz Festival and consisted of guitarist Michal Pavl'ček, bass guitarist Vladim'r Guma Kulh'nek and drummer Klaudius Kry'p'n. Previously Pavl'ček was blacklisted by the repressive government of Czechoslovakia with his first band Prazsky Vyber (Prague Selection) and its liberal criticism of political affairs. Despite it being so, countless illegal cassette copies circulated the land and Pavl'ček attracted an audience. As far as the name STROMBOLI goes, it was actually inspired by Pavl'ček's witnessing of the volcano on the island of the same name.

STROMBOLI's debut is a double album and an eclectic mix to say the least and basically summarizes the years 1985-86 with seven live performances and nine studio tracks. This album features Michael Koc'b (singing), Iva Bittov' (violin) and both Pavlek's sons Jan and Michal mlad'' (singing). Four pieces were translated by Josef Hir'al for the text of Christiane Morgenstern's poem, followed by two other texts by Zuzana Michnov', Josef Novotn' and Vil'm Čok. It hosts the various styles of jazz-rock fusion, space rock, new wave and even heavy metal.

Often it seems more like a compilation of different artists and given the various lineup changes, it for all intents and purposes actually is with only Pavl'ček serving as the common denominator. The live tracks that constitute the first half of the album showcase Pavl'ček's unique jazz-fusion guitar playing style with the unusual vocals of B'ra Basikov' with poems by Christian Morgenstern set to music, and the remaining quarter is a mixture of rock songs sung by various singers. The rest of the album includes many other various singers. So the lineup varies substantially from track to track and this is more like a collection of tracks thrown together for the sake of a debut.

The jazz-rock elements are really only present on the live recordings which take place in a guitar dominated fashion complemented by female vocals. The studio tracks are more diverse and range from Oingo Boingo styled new wave without the horn section but with the Danny Elfman vocal eccentricities. There are moments of Pink Floyd inspired space rock and even tracks that capture the 80s heavy metal scene with galloping distorted guitar riffs. While this sounds like a mess, somehow it is all tamed by the excellent vocal performances that rein in the disparate roles of the guitar, bass and keyboards. The progressive elements come in the form of time signatures and jazz related elements but not ubiquitously throughout the album which has many new wave styled tracks.

STROMBOLI ultimately sounds a bit like some of the female vocal led Cirque du Soleil music with less of the French influences. The lyrics are in the Czech language so it comes off with a Slavic flair on the tracks with female vocals and a bit like a more metalized Oingo Boingo on many others. There are many other subtle styles that give this album a rather unique overall presentation. Despite being a double album, this one is quite a pleasant listen. STROMBOLI would release another album 'Shutdown' in 1989 and fall silent until 2014's 'Flat Lux.' Michal Pavl'ček would carry on with a solo career and collaborate with other artists. This is one of those strange anomalies from behind the Eastern frontiers before the wall came down and a testament to how creatively the Eastern European nations were at adopting Western music.

 Bwana by BWANA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.88 | 7 ratings

BUY
Bwana
Bwana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Progressive rock music was indubitably a European thing that caught on in the Americas after the fact but while the US, Canada and even Argentina caught the bug and ran with it, it seems that most of the nations in the Western hemisphere didn't get the memo about the new game on the world's musical stage. Well some did and in the most unexpected places. While Nicaragua wasn't exactly ground zero for the 70s prog scene, there were a couple artists who forged their own way. Alfonso Noel Lovo released his one and only prog rock album in 1973 but there was yet another artist the year before. BWANA (Swahili for "lord" or "sir") followed in the footsteps of Santana and delivered Nicaragua's answer to Carlos and company only with more of a psychedelic spin.

Not much has been known about this band and it was even assumed that they hailed from Colombia but over the decades it has been discovered that they actually came from Nicaragua. The band released only one self-titled album in 1972 which consisted of six energetic Latin funk loving members. The instrumentation is quite like Santana with the usual guitar, bass, organ and Latin percussion (tumbas, bongos, congas, timbales etc) and a completely groovy set of seven tracks that prove they actually existed. The band was short lived and disbanded after the great earthquake that hit Nicaragua that hit in December 1972 and took this band's career down with lots of infrastructure.

BWANA was a get-down feel good psychedelic-fuink-jazz-rock band that produced one excellent album that really could be mistaken for some long lost sessions of Santana themselves. It should be remembered that the style of music that Santana cranked out became popular merely because of Woodstock and that the Latin funk rock scene was quite popular all throughout the 60s. While Santana did take it into more progressive pastures, many bands in Latin America found inspiration albeit no ways of recording them. BWANA was one of the exceptions and despite the silly album cover that looks like a scene from Sesame Street for a lesson in diversity, the music on this one is infectious and oh yeah, a second album cover was issued for the CD reissue in 2001 which sported an "Abraxas" styled Santana cover as if they needed any more comparisons.

It is true that BWANA deliver a style of jazzy funk rock that Santana had made their own and much of this album does indeed like it is the alternative reality of the "Abraxis" era. It's got the same funk driven grooves, the same organ rich 60s touch and Latin percussion galore! What does set BWANA apart from their more famous counterparts is that BWANA takes the music into more psychedelic arenas, in fact, THIS is the kind of music i always though Carlos and friends SHOULD have engaged in on their first two albums. There is still plenty of freeform percussive jamming especially on the thirteen minute closer "Lolita" which provides a lengthy workout, but the psychedelia is much richer here. "Chapumbambe" for example suddenly changes from a Latin rock track into a fully fueled psychedelic freakout that sounds more like Amon Duul II or Pink Floyd's "Saucerful Of Secrets."

That was just an anomaly though. The majority of BWANA is made up of extremely catchy Latin rock laced with funk and psychedelic rock organ runs. While this may lack originality and really make you think you found an archival Santana release, this music is just beautifully presented and carries on a tradition that preceded Santana therefore derives from the same influences that Carlos utilized for his own guitar fueled Latin rock. The guitar on BWANA is also more psychedelic and less oriented towards the soloing that Santana implemented but in the percussion and rhythm section, they are pretty much in the same boat. This is somewhat of an obscurity since Santana pretty much stole the show and became the sole ambassador of this style of music but BWANA craft an equally delicious slice of Central American jazzy funk rock. A welcome surprise but Latin music rarely disappoints i have discovered.

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WHERE'S THE NINE Canada
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