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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)
historian9

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

4.35 | 812 ratings
KIND OF BLUE
Davis, Miles
4.33 | 1060 ratings
BIRDS OF FIRE
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.33 | 563 ratings
IN A SILENT WAY
Davis, Miles
4.51 | 61 ratings
THE COLOURS OF CHLOË
Weber, Eberhard
4.32 | 221 ratings
HIROMI'S SONICBLOOM: TIME CONTROL
Uehara, Hiromi
4.28 | 461 ratings
SPECTRUM
Cobham, Billy
4.30 | 210 ratings
WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER
Nucleus
4.25 | 783 ratings
THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.24 | 654 ratings
ELEGANT GYPSY
Di Meola, Al
4.24 | 574 ratings
CARAVANSERAI
Santana
4.24 | 527 ratings
BITCHES BREW
Davis, Miles
4.24 | 443 ratings
ABRAXAS
Santana
4.24 | 508 ratings
ROMANTIC WARRIOR
Return To Forever
4.32 | 115 ratings
STADACONÉ
Sloche
4.26 | 206 ratings
LES PORCHES
Maneige
4.30 | 128 ratings
A BENEFIT OF RADIM HLADÍK [AKA: MODRÝ EFEKT & RADIM HLADÍK]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.29 | 117 ratings
SVITANIE
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.28 | 123 ratings
MILESTONES
Davis, Miles
4.23 | 259 ratings
ENIGMATIC OCEAN
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.24 | 195 ratings
PAT METHENY GROUP: THE WAY UP
Metheny , Pat

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

STRANGE MEETING
Power Tools
FUSION
Urbaniak, Michal
DEMI MASA
Simak Dialog
RAHMANN
Rahmann

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Latest Jazz Rock/Fusion Music Reviews


 Pop-Liisa 3 by WIGWAM album cover Live, 2016
4.05 | 2 ratings

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Pop-Liisa 3
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars During the years 1972 - 1977, the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE had a radio series in which Finnish groups performed a live set in the Liisankatu studio (Helsinki), in front of the audience. In 2016 Svart Records releases these gigs that haven't ever been broadcasted since the original airing. And what a hidden treasure there was in the YLE vaults! The groups in the "Pop Liisa" series include e.g. Tasavallan Presidentti, Jukka Tolonen Band, Kalevala, Nimbus, Finnforest, and even a couple of short-lived line-ups (of acclaimed musicians) that never released an album. Also the groups in the parallel "Jazz Liisa" series are mostly representing the legacy of the legendary Love Records. These releases have a high historical value, and also their sonic quality is much better than what average gig recordings of the time would have.

In Novembr 1973 it was WIGWAM's turn. The classic quartet of Jukka Gustavson (organ, vocals), Jim Pembroke (vocals, electric piano), Pekka Pohjola (bass) and Ronnie Österberg (drums) had just recorded their challenging masterpiece Being that was to be released three months later. The next summer both Gustavson and Pohjola would leave the group. Gustavson claims in the liner notes that despite the tormenting experience -- for example the bass drum broke down during the show and Ronnie was in a bad mood -- this was one of the best performances in that line-up. I believe that.

The opening track 'Imagine' (the John Lennon cover that Wigwam often permormed in their gigs) wasn't part of the original radio show: they had spare time before the appointed hour. The official opening number 'Nipistys' was from Pekka Pohjola's solo debut Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva (1972). Nearly 9 minutes of instrumental and very original fusion/jazz-rock with the virtuotic organ playing in the centre. After the line-up introduction by the show host Erkki Lehtola comes the charming little finale from Being, 'Marverly Skimmer' (aka 'Friend from the Fields') by Jim Pembroke. These first two performances aren't radically different from the album versions, except that the latter is a minute longer (3:40).

The album version of 'Fairyport' (Fairyport, 1971) has wonderful details with reeds, so Gustavson had to make a quartet arrangement for this superb prog classic. IMHO this version naturally pales in comparison, but as a live performance it is excellent nevertheless. The closing number 'Grass for Blades' originated from Jim Pembroke's debut solo album Wicked Ivory (1972); the gorgeous anti-war song became a Wigwam live classic for a good reason. Here it is 9 and ˝ minutes of powerful, dark emotions, extended from the rather modest original with the instrumental section. All in all, this live set is more or less the best one there is to be listened to from this quartet.

PS. Each full-length CD release of "Pop / Jazz Liisa" features two separate sets. This Wigwam set is paired with a five-track set of TAIVAANVUOHI, which was a jazz-rock quintet led by guitarist-composer Sami Hurmerinta. It's one of those groups that never released albums.

 Santana IV by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.71 | 41 ratings

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Santana IV
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by PoolmanProgger

4 stars After years of collaborations - some of which were fantastic , others being duds - Carlos Santana finally got the band back together - the original band, that is! Welcome back Gregg Rolie, Michael Shrieve, Mike Carabello and Neal Schon. Santana IV marks the first album from this legendary lineup since 1971, so you can say that this album was 45 years in the making, thus the title, Santana IV, an obvious nod to the band's origins and a return to their original sound - and boy, does this album deliver!

My expectations for this album were rather high; in fact, I preordered it, something I rarely do. I must admit, on first listen, I was mildly disappointed. The band sounded uninspired at times, Gregg Rolie sounded a bit rusty, and the album seemed to drag on and on. But I would not give up on this album; I listened to it again, and again, and again and again. What are my conclusions after a half a dozen plus listens? Boy, was I ever wrong with my first impression! This album is gold, maybe not as great as the first three albums that the group used as an inspiration, but very strong. In fact, the only album I've bought/heard this year that's better is David Bowie's Blackstar. Santana IV has everything you'd expect from a vintage Santana album - Latin rhythm and grooves, hot guitar licks from Carlos - the Guitar Master - and excellent, fat-sounding organ playing - oh, man I missed that organ - from the one-and-only Gregg Rolie. Actually, his voice is still in pretty good form on this one, although the lyrics are rather creepy at times. Schon's rather distorted guitar playing complements Santana's smooth and clean sound very well, just as it does on Santana III, but I think the interplay is used to a fuller extent on this album. The percussion is AMAZING - but what else do you expect from a Santana album? Also, the two tracks ("Love Makes the World Go Round" and "Freedom in Your Mind") featuring Ronald Isley are very good, very soulful, but with lots of the typical Santana flash. This is just a mind-blowingly fantastic album.

Santana IV starts off with "Yambu", a very lively track which continues Santana's long line of "chant" songs, with crunchy guitar interplay between Santana and Schon, followed by "Shake It" and "Anywhere You Want to Go", two very good songs which are very reminiscent of Woodstock-era Santana. "Anywhere" features some excellent organ from Rolie, which sounds fantastic to anyone who has been jaded by the over-synthification of music these days. To hear a real, organic, down-to-earth organ solo is just good for the soul. "Fillmore East" an amazingly spacy and ambient track which recalls the jazzier part of Santana's sound, is next, a true highlight of the album, although it may take 3 or 4 listens - at least - to truly appreciate its greatness, as it did for me. Next are the two Ronald Isley tracks. Ron has lost a step or two on his vocals - give the guy a break, he's in his seventies - but he is picked up amply by the ferocious energy of Santana and the boys playing behind him. "Choo Choo" is a rather creepy song that sounds a tad bit pervy, but segues into the instrumental "All Aboard", which has quite an aggressive climax. Sueńos is another in the long line of Santana's classic instrumental pieces, while "Caminando" is a brisk piece which adds some horns, another old Santana trademark. "Blues Magic" is a FANTASTIC blues song, while the excellent "Leave Me Alone" is bookended by two more fabulous instrumentals, "Echizo" and "You and I". "Come as You Are" is the weakest link of this album, as it has a forced calypso sound that just doesn't work very well. Just when you think the boys don't have anything else left in the tank, here comes "Forgiveness", a fantastically ambient song in the vein of "Fillmore East", with some vocals from Gregg Rolie which sound eerily like Peter Gabriel. The song gives you chills, in a good way.

Wrapping up here, Santana IV is an excellent album which instantly ranks among the group's best, a stellar reunion album that just continues to get better with each and every listen. I highly recommend purchasing this album for your collection; you won't regret it for a second.

 Loud Hailer by BECK, JEFF album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.93 | 8 ratings

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Loud Hailer
Jeff Beck Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The fury and grace of the restless underGod!

Jeff Beck is back and as always his experimental, don´t give a damn!, daring spirit is attached. Good news for those who enjoyed my favorite "You Had It Coming", 2001, and the inexplicably undervalued "Emotion & Commotion", 2010 his previous studio release. Bad news for those who are still expecting Jeff Beck to fit his Rock/Jazz/Fusion PA´s address, again.

So, as I was mentioning, his "electronic" electric guitar songwriting+performace taints most of the atmosphere of "Loud Hailer", 2016.

"The Revolution Will Be Televised", track one. A heavy bassed and femenine electronic guitar blues counterpointed by intelligent and a black to the bone female distorted voice and lyrics. 4.5 stars

"Live in the Dark". Track 2, a Jeff Beck's contemporary Heavy Rock song, amazing in virtuosity, but kept straight in line, even to simplicity, if you wish. (Of course Jeff Beck's simplicity is not simple, but that only matters to actual guitar players.) 4 stars.

"Pull It", gets even heavier. No vocals, the kind of "say yes to excess", that always works wonders for such an adventurous fellow. Short and efficient. 4 stars.

"Thugs Club" track 4, gets down and dirty with Jeff Beck's famous heavy bassed/drummed boogie like, street wise stomps and his unique unpsychedelic-into space incursions. An intelligent and political focused lyric becomes the best excuse for Jeff to make his personal "bare to the bone", explosive guitar statements of the topic in hand. 4.5 stars.

Track 5 dims the lights down to a slow paced/romantic Roger Waters' like composition, "Scared for the Children". In fact the kind that happened when he played alongside the Pink's main man, nice, not unique, but nicely achieved. 3.5 stars.

"Right Now". A well written set of "protest-song" like lyrics triggers the nastiness back. Unapolagetic and daring, again, his "electronic" electric guitar, high rising Rock, deep bottom Blues shines on. 4 stars.

For those acquainted with Jeff Beck's track structuring, there are always his formidable, dream like instrumental pieces, "Shame" (4 stars) is a kind of short composition in that vein, but actually it serves as the opener for "Edna", track 8.

"Edna", is the kind of track which covers the more than well established protocols of Heavy Prog/Rock, Jeff Beck's way of course, with an epic riff which reminds me of the also extraordinary and underrated and long gone Gary Moore. 4.5 stars.

"The Ballad of the Jersey Wives", track 9. Even I, an avid follower of Beck and Hendrix, could never bare Funk in any of its forms but some Bryan Ferry's or David Bowie's or Talking Heads' or even Fripp´s kind of ones and some not all. Besides those exceptions, Funk and I do not match. 3 stars (because of the show stopper solo in the past middle of the song, not because I am trying to be impartial).

"O.I.L." is a lyric/melody wise like blend which sounds like a cross between Knopfler/Dylan/Waters + Beck, in an uplifting hymn like Rock prayer. Beautiful, not exactly unique, but performance will make up for your time. 3.9 stars.

"Shrine" closes this release while bringing back some years in time. What to say, Prog was not even born yet and less as we now know it now. Phil Spector made big fame and money reuniting exquisite black female voices in the then named girl groups. To cut it short if you ever heard and listened to "The Ronettes" and felt caught by their unorthodox harmonics, as I did, you are in for a memorable, true to the bone and heartfelt contemporary rendition of those girl-groups years. If not, a good chance to check out Phil Spector's super famous "wall of sound". 4 stars.

Summing it up by numbers >

****4, (almost everything but Jazz/Fusion), PA stars.

 Healing Of The Lunatic Owl by BRAINCHILD album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.06 | 31 ratings

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Healing Of The Lunatic Owl
Brainchild Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Brass rock came into existence in the late 1960s when it seems free love was getting a lot of unlikely musical genres cuddling up together. While the most famous bands of this hybridization were indubitably Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears, there was in reality a huge roster of bands who joined this heavy brass-filled rock frenzy that was in its peak from 1969-72. In the US alone there were several other bands including Aura, Chase, Dreams, The Electric Flag, Gas Mask, The Ides Of March, Lighthouse, Second Coming, The Sons Of Champlin and Ten Wheel Drive. While usually accustomed to exporting musical ideas across the pond, musicians in England had no problem following a trend from afar and several bands emerged on British soil including Colosseum, Galliard, The Greatest Show on Earth, Heaven, If, The Keef Harley Band, Walrus and the London based outfit BRAINCHILD which joined the party fairly early on in 1970 with their only release HEALING OF THE LUNATIC OWL which packs in a heavy brass jazz sound into their catchy well crafted pop melodies but what really sets BRAINCHILD apart from their contemporaries is how they carefully they weaved in progressive rock elements with slight psychedelic overtones.

The band consisted of Harvey Coles (bass, vocals), Bill Edwards (guitar, vocals), Dave Miller (drums), Chris Jennings (organ, piano), Brian Wilshaw (sax, flute), Lloyd Williams (trumpet) and trombone duties shared by Ian Goss and Pat Strachan. While the brass rock sound of the era could vary from heavy brass tinged pop a la Chicago to more funk-jazz band acts such as Cymande, BRAINCHILD delivered mostly accessible rock tunes embellished with the subordinate brass jazz elements. The music is generally upbeat rock oriented with lots of emphasis placed on a beefy groove-based bass line, jazzy guitars all dressed up with the horn section as to smooth it out and create counterpoints to the rhythm structures. While the music is riff based incorporating many different grooves and hooks that are instantly addictive, BRAINCHILD also unleashes progressive rock song structures that not only have long extended periods where musicians can strut their chops but there are also unexpected time signature changes and a tendency to have a Krautrock edge at times. The title track is an example of the side of the band that gravitates towards the Chicago playbook with a bouncy beat, lounge lizard vocal style with the rock music being accompanied by the the jazz elements at times merely adding a layer to the overall sound and at times totally doing their own unique thing. While tracks like these begin it can almost bring a Las Vegas casino show to mind but once the musicians let loose and add the prog touches, it becomes magical.

Despite this band being highly talented and keeping it tight with well constructed songwriting skills, they were and still remain an obscure curiosity from the brass rock band era where the popular groups more than stole the thunder from the competition. While they may have never properly made it, they did succeed in releasing one fantastic album that is one of the earliest examples of how to properly fuse catchy pop / rock with jazz and prog. While i find the music on this one mesmerizing, the one element of this band that keeps it from being an outright masterpiece is the limited vocal skills where i feel the dynamics of the music demand a more talented vox box that can play around a bit more. Perhaps a more prog oriented version of Ella Fitzgerald could have filled this role, but having said that there is nothing inherently bad or incompetent per se with the role of the vocalists, they simply could have stepped it up a level or two and perhaps if a second album were to have emerged that very well could have been the case. As it stands, the sole release from BRAINCHILD is still an excellent slice of pop, rock, blues and swinging jazz smorgasbord with more than enough progressive rock instrumental prowess to impress the most hardened jazz-fusionist. HEALING OF THE LUNATIC OWL is a woefully overlooked and under-appreciated relic from the early jazz-fusion era.

 Hanging Rope - BBC Sessions And Rare Tracks (1970-1971) by PATTO album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Hanging Rope - BBC Sessions And Rare Tracks (1970-1971)
Patto Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Mike Patto is a great vocalist and together with his supergroup with Ollie Halsall on guitar (a favorite player of mine) and vibraphone they created a very original sort of hard rock fused with jazz and soul. On this record (I have a 2lp version) you can find their BBC recordings and boy are they a treat! Their studio performances are really good on their two first albums, but in my opinion they sound much more energetic in this live (on the radio studio) setting. The playing and musical interaction is stuf of legends and stands out a really original, even today.

The band seems to be able to connect masterful musicianship in both jazz rock and hard rock. As a guitar player I am wildly impressed by Halsall's fierce playing through jazz chords and rhythms. Mike Patto is one of the best live singers with a voice as good as Paul Rodgers or Joe Cocker in their heydays. The songs are just vehicles for shamelessly exposing their musicality and interplay, without ever feeling forced or stern. These recordings breath a wild enthusiasm that one can only find in '67-'72 rock recordings of groups like Hendrix, Zeppelin, Free and The Who.

The quality of the recordings differs, but is mostly very nice and authentic on a higher volume in the living room. Remastered very well. Their are two 'off air' recordings that will invoke instant skip reactions, why print those on a record between well recorded songs? Still the damage is easily dealt with. The first side has the march 1971 BBC recordings which are all perfect. Side two has the June 1971 BBC recordings which are all brilliant except for the off air recording of Hanging Rope. Side three has two great tracks (Love Me, Government Man) and closes with an off air recording (skip) and LP outtake 'Beat the Drum' which I also can live without. Side four has some more LP outtakes which sound great (album recordings), but aren't as interesting as the BBC live recordings.

In summary. First record is great except for the last track and the third side has two great tracks as opening. My rating is based on these recordings. Among the best rock recordings of history in my opinion. And how did the BBC manage to get these well recorded performances? Unbelievable. I can therefor warmly recommend this release!

Recommended to listeners of heavy prog, hard rock, jazz rock, BBC session and British rock greatness in general.

 A Benefit Of Radim Hladík [Aka: Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík] by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT; M. EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 128 ratings

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A Benefit Of Radim Hladík [Aka: Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Just as Yes were spending 1974 exploring fusion sounds using their symphonic rock chops as a foundation, Blue Effect were approaching Camel-styled symphonic rock from a fusion direction. This album comes in two editions "A Benefit of Radim Hladik" for the export market, and "Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík" for the domestic market in Czechoslovakia, but there's no real difference in the music you get - save that the domestic version has some nice surreal cover art, whereas the international version just looks awfully tacky, with an earnest attempt to make Radim Hladik look like a rock god rather failing.

What you get in either package is some excellent, slightly spacey progressive rock played by skilled jazz fusion artists; it's clear that in either edition Radim Hladik was being pushed as the band leader, but in fact the whole group turns in some excellent performances. For the most part instrumental save for some ethereal wailing here and there, this album didn't just benefit Radim Hladik, but the whole art rock scene.

 Abraxis by ABRAXIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Abraxis
Abraxis Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ABRAXIS were a Jazz/ Rock band from Belgium who released this lone self titled album in 1977. It's an all instrumental affair with most of the music being composed by keyboardist Charles Loos the former COS member. We also get the bass player from COS as well as flute player Dirk Bogaert from PAZOP, and the drummer from PAZOP. Now the music here certainly isn't as adventerous unfortunately as the two bands I mentioned, in fact I find it a little light-weight at times but I also feel it's worth the 4 stars. Many mention that there's a Canterbury flavour to the music and I did think of CAMEL at times mostly because of the flute. We also get guitar on this one.

"Clear Hours" is one of my favourites. Man this is like the sound of a beautiful summer's day. I like how the flute gives a sunny vibe here but the bass is a good contrast because of how prominent and deep it is. Some nice guitar a minute in which is replaced by the flute, then the keys as they all trade solos the rest of the way.

"Vaise De La Mont/ A Boire/ Eta/ Manger" is a four part suite worth over 20 minutes. A slow relaxed start with flute, keys and picked guitar until 4 minutes in when we get piano only and it's impressive. Beautiful stuff. The flute is back at 5 1/2 minutes and it's solo at first and very relaxed as a light beat joins in a minute later. A change before 8 minutes as we get some depth with guitar, bass, keys and a beat. I like this a lot. The guitar starts to solo over the top in an intricate manner then he starts to light it up 9 1/2 minutes in until after 10 minutes when the keys replace the guitar. Nice bass 12 minutes in then the flute starts to lead in this pastoral section. Piano takes over 13 1/2 minutes in. A change after 15 minutes as flute, bass and drums lead the way in this catchy passage. Silence before 16 1/2 minutes then piano, bass and strings take over. Mellow is the word.

"Sweetank" has prominent bass as the flute and light keys swirl over top. I like how the bass drives this one and the drums too of course. It's the guitar's turn before 2 minutes then the bass takes the spotlight a minute later. Pretty cool. Some excellent drum work here as well. The tempo picks up late. "Billy The Keith" is laid back with flute over top. It's got more depth 2 minutes in with that bass. Some nice piano and guitar comes in late. Good song.

"Jeronimo" opens with uptempo piano before everyone joins in. "Bolle Winkl" is another favourite. It opens with solo bass as the flute and drums join in. Catchy stuff as the guitar joins in as well. He's lighting it up before 1 1/2 minutes followed by keys as they continue to trade solos. Flute to the fore after 2 1/2 minutes as it settles down. It starts to build with flute still leading the way. Piano leads after 4 1/2 minutes as it tinkles away. I'm reminded of CAMEL late. "Arhumba" has relaxed piano melodies to start with bass as a light beat helps out. Strings swell as they come and go. Piano only 3 minutes in as strings join in late to end it.

Like the MASTER CYLINDER album I reviewed recently I wish this had less of those lighter moments, but like with that album I have to give this 4 stars because it's that good.

 One of a Kind by BRUFORD, BILL album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.10 | 257 ratings

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One of a Kind
Bill Bruford Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After trying for several years to find his "best musical identity" in his musical career after the split of KING CRIMSON in late 1974, BILL BRUFORD, by the late seventies at last found it (in my opinion), leading his BRUFORD band to record this all instrumental (without vocals) very good Jazz-Rock / Fusion album in 1979. In fact, it was his second "solo" album, with "Feels Good to Me" (which was recorded in 1977 but was released in January 1978) being his first real solo album. But, with the "One of a Kind" album being really an album recorded under the BRUFORD band's name, with more songwriting collaborations from Dave Stewart, Jeff Berlin and Allan Holdsworth, all of which also contributed to the "Feels Good to Me", album but with that album really being released under BILL BRUFORD's name than as an album recorded as a band.

Why I said before that BILL BRUFORD found his "real musical identity" with this album (and also with "Feels Good To Me")? He said in interviews that while he previously played with a lot of Prog Rock bands, he really was a Jazz drummer playing Rock music. This somewhat "strange mixture" of musical styles for him as a drummer really worked very well while he worked with these bands, with him contributing very good drums playing with very good technique. But for the "Feels Good to Me" and "One of a Kind" albums, he really was composing, playing and recording very good Jazz-Rock / Fusion music by the late seventies. It really was a long "journey" for him to really play the kind of music that he most liked, I think, since he started to be a professional musician in 1968.

While he was playing with the band "U.K. " (with Holdsworth, Eddie Jobson and John Wetton) , he played two of his songs on tour with that band, both of which he later recorded with the BRUFORD band for the "One of a Kind" album: "Forever Until Sunday" and "The Sahara of Snow (Parts 1 and 2)". He said in one interview that Jobson and Wetton didn't want to record those songs for the then planned second "U.K". album with Bruford and Holdsworth (which in the end was titled "Danger Money" and was recorded with Terry Bozzio replacing Bruford but without Holdsworth being replaced). Some live recordings of their 1978 tour show the band playing both songs, and those recordings show the conflicts that the band had, with Holdsworth and Bruford wanting to play Jazz Rock / Fusion music, while Jobson and Wetton wanted to play Prog Rock music (and in the case of Wetton, also Pop Rock music). So, both Bruford and Holdsworht left "U.K." (or were "fired", as Bruford said) in late 1978 to form the BRUFORD band. Anyway, for the recording of "Forever Until Sunday which was included in the "One of a Kind" album, Bruford invited Jobson (then uncredited in the record sleeve to avoid "confusion", as Jobson said in one interview) to play the violin part. But Jobson also was credited as songwriter with Bruford in the part 2 of "Sahara of Snow", but Jobson didn't appear playing in that song. Anyway, "Forever Until Sunday" and "The Sahara of Snow" were recorded for this album with almost the same arrangements that "U.K." played in their 1978 tour.

This "One of a Kind" album, in my opinion, has some more complicated music than the "Feels Good to Me"album, showing that BILL BRUFORD really improved as a composer since then ("with a litle help from his friends" in some songs). But BILL BRUFORD was the main composer and leader in this band. But he let his friends record some of their songs: "Hell's Bells" is a song composed by Stewart (with Alan Gowen); "The Abingdom Chasp" was composed by Holdsworth alone. Some of the other songs have songwriting contributions from the other members of the band: "One of a Kind Part 2" was composed by Bruford with Stewart; "Five G" was composed by Bruford with Berlin and Stewart. But the rest of the songs were composed by Bill Bruford alone.

This album has a very good recording and mixing, with all the members of the band playing very well. Jeff Berlin really shines as bass player in this album.

This is a very good Jazz-Rock / Fusion album. Maybe it sounds "very late seventies" in musical style, but it is very good anyway.

 Sextant by HANCOCK, HERBIE album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.08 | 141 ratings

BUY
Sextant
Herbie Hancock Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars The finale of the Mwandishi trilogy, Herbie Hancock and crew find themselves the most immersed in their exploratory African soundscapes as ever, and give one last artistic hoorah before the more commercial "Head Hunters" follow-up album.

This album truly is one of a kind. A strictly avant-garde jazz album, this is certainly not a "progressive rock" album, but it is undoubtedly a progressive album. Heavily influenced by African rhythms, "Sextant" creates some of the most abstract jazz put to record. There is very little discernible melody to be noted, so "Sextant" is best listened to hypnotically, simply following the grooves and letting the sounds passively take you away to places you didn't even know existed.

The album's first side is the highlight for me, and where most of my enjoyment of it comes from. "Rain Dance" dabbles into early electronic music and "Hidden Shadows", the most conventional piece on the record, builds off of an almost funk-like beat. The second side, which consists of the 19+ minute long "Hornets", is a bit of a letdown. While the grooves on side one were relatively easy to get caught up in, "Hornets", as the name suggest, is spiny, abrasive and at times almost physically painful from the dissonance.

This is no doubt an album of great artistic merit, and one that all jazz fans and fans of avant-garde music should invest in, but I personally can't consider it to be essential because of the extensive attack from "Hornets". If not for side two, I would have given "Sextant" 4 stars (possibly even 5), but as it stands, "Hornets" makes it 3.

 Rabenteuer by MORPHEUS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.66 | 19 ratings

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Rabenteuer
Morpheus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I seem to be in the minority with my great appreciation of this Jazz/ Rock album from Germany's own MORPHEUS. Mind you it took several spins and a closer listen from yours truly to finally unlock it's treasures. Released in 1976 this all-instrumental album is a jammy affair with sax and guitar usually leading the way but man that bass player kills on here. He's so upfront and you know I thought of KRAAN fairly early on as I listened to this and he certainly brought to mind the great KRAAN bass player Hellmut Hattler. Interesting as well that the flute which there isn't a lot of isn't played by the sax player but by the bassist.

"Rabenteuer" apparently in German combines the words "raven" and "adventure" and we see the raven on the album cover with other things that I'm sure have something to do with the song titles. Man this sounds pretty amazing to start the way they seem to tease us with that oh so moving melody that comes and goes. It settles in around a minute with the sax playing over top. The guitar takes the lead a minute later followed by a calm before 4 minutes as the bass and picked guitar take over with drums as it builds. So good! The sax is back quickly though and KRAAN comes to mind here. Some nice bass as well again reminding me of KRAAN. The sax and guitar take turns the rest of the way.

"Brandung" has simply a breath-taking intro with that bass, guitar and drums before it kicks in to a faster pace with sax joining in. Back to that more atmospheric sound from the intro but with melancholic sax this time. Themes are repeated and check out the bass solo late as it speeds up. Great track! "Breitmaulfrosch" allows each member to strut their stuff. It's catchy with some tempo and mood shifts and again the bass is prominent, especially after 3 minutes. Love the calm that follows with guitar leading the way as the sax returns as well. "Oktober '74" is a brighter piece but it's also the shortest at around 2 1/2 minutes. Such a feel good tune with the sax leading the way but the bass jumps out at me a minute in as well.

"Tanz Der Morphine" opens with guitar as we get some high hat sounds before everyone joins in. The tempo changes often and I love the sound before 1 1/2 minutes. I'm not big on the short outbursts but they only happen a couple of times. "Abflug" is the over 15 minute closer. This is where they jam and I'm surprised at the lack of sax in this one. Some atmosphere to start as flute and guitar join in. Clashing cymbals follow before it kicks into gear before 3 1/2 minutes with deep bass lines. The guitar returns as the drums continue. Sax after 11 1/2 minutes and it calms down before 14 minutes to the end. My edition has a 20 minute bonus track called simply "Morpheus Jam" which it certainly is but it's more dynamic than the last track and a nice edition to the recording.

For me this is an outstanding release and one I'm thankful to own. KRAAN fans should check it out.

Data cached

Jazz Rock/Fusion bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
3RD WORLD ELECTRIC Multi-National
4 FRONT United States
7 FOR 4 Germany
EIVIND AARSET Norway
JOHN ABERCROMBIE United States
ABLUTION Sweden
ABRAXIS Belgium
ABUS DANGEREUX France
ACCORDO DEI CONTRARI Italy
ADDISON PROJECT Canada
AERA Germany
AFROSKULL United States
AGHARTA Canada
AGORA Italy
AIN SOPH Japan
AKA MOON Belgium
JAN AKKERMAN Netherlands
ALAS Argentina
ALKEMY France
ALKOTRIO Russia
ALTRUISMOS Argentina
AMARILLO CIAN Y MAGENTA Costa Rica
AMIGDALA Italy
ANAMORPHOSE France
ANANGA RANGA Portugal
ANIMUS TRIO Argentina
APOSTOLIS ANTHIMOS Poland
ANTIHÉROE Argentina
APOTHECARY United States
AQUARELLE Canada
ARATTA REBIRTH Armenia
ARCANA United States
ARCHIMEDES BADKAR Sweden
ARCO IRIS Argentina
NEIL ARDLEY United Kingdom
BRUCE ARNOLD United States
ARSENAL Russia
ARTI E MESTIERI Italy
TIHOMIR POP ASANOVIC Yugoslavia
ASSOCIATION P.C. Multi-National
ASSOLO DI BONGO Italy
ASTRAKAN United Kingdom
ASTRO CAN CARAVAN Finland
ATMOSPHERES Multi-National
ATTENTION DEFICIT United States
BRIAN AUGER United Kingdom
AUM Brazil
AURORA United States
AVANT GARDEN United States
AVIOLINEE UTOPIA Italy
AXIS Greece
AYERS ROCK Australia
AZIGZA United States
B F Estonia
BAALBEK Argentina
BACK DOOR United Kingdom
BAKMAK Germany
BANDHADA Chile
BANDVIVIL Japan
BANGTOWER Multi-National
PETER BANKS United Kingdom
BARCELONA TRACTION Spain
PETER BARDENS' MIRAGE United Kingdom
IL BARICENTRO Italy
RANJIT BAROT India
BAUHAUS Italy
JEFF BECK United Kingdom
BEDJABETCH France
BELLA BAND Italy
BEN United Kingdom
BERITS HALSBAND Sweden
ALESSANDRO BERTONI Italy
BIFURCATA Mexico
BLACK LADDER United States
ALAIN BLESING France
CARLA BLEY United States
BLIXT Multi-National
BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS United States
BLUE DRIFT United Kingdom
BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT; M. EFEKT) Czech Republic
BLUE SUN Denmark
BOHEMIA Czech Republic
CELINE BONACINA France
BONFIRE Netherlands
BOSQUE Serbia
BOUD DEUN United States
BOUNTY United States
GARY BOYLE United Kingdom
BOZON United States
BOZZIO LEVIN STEVENS United States
BRAINCHILD United Kingdom
BRAINSTORM Germany
BRAND X United Kingdom
THE BRECKER BROTHERS United States
EVAN BREWER United States
NILI BROSH United States
BROTHER APE Sweden
BROWN VS BROWN Netherlands
JACK BRUCE United Kingdom
BRUFORD LEVIN UPPER EXTREMITIES United States
BILL BRUFORD'S EARTHWORKS United Kingdom
BILL BRUFORD United Kingdom
DEWA BUDJANA Indonesia
BURNIN' RED IVANHOE Denmark
BUSHMAN'S REVENGE Norway
BWANA Nicaragua
CAB United States
CAMEMBERT France
JORGE CAMPOS Chile
FRANCIS CANG Philippines
GADI CAPLAN Israel
ALAIN CARON Canada
CARPATHIA PROJECT Hungary
CASH PONY United States
CENTIPEDE United Kingdom
CEREBUS EFFECT United States
CHAD SMITH'S BOMBASTIC MEATBATS United States
DENNIS CHAMBERS United States
CHAMELEON Sweden
CHASE United States
CHEIRO DE VIDA Brazil
CHICAGO United States
CHUTE LIBRE France
CINCINNATO Italy
CIRCUS United Kingdom
CIVILIANS United States
CLAREON United States
STANLEY CLARKE United States
NELS CLINE United States
BILLY COBHAM United States
ORNETTE COLEMAN & PRIME TIME United States
STEVE COLEMAN United States
COLOSSEUM United Kingdom
COLOSSEUM II United Kingdom
COMA Denmark
COMPANYIA ELČCTRICA DHARMA Spain
CONFUSION Greece
BILL CONNORS United States
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GIANFRANCO CONTINENZA Italy
CONTINUUM Multi-National
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CONTUSION Argentina
COPERNICUS CROW United States
CHICK COREA ELEKTRIC BAND United States
CORONARIAS DANS Denmark
LARRY CORYELL United States
CURT CRESS Germany
CRIMSON JAZZ TRIO United States
DAVID CROSS United Kingdom
CRY FREEDOM Germany
CRYPTO Netherlands
CYKLUS Germany
CYMANDE Multi-National
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D.F.A. Italy
DARK Multi-National
MILES DAVIS United States
KOEN DE BRUYNE Belgium
LOUIS DE MIEULLE France
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JACK DEJOHNETTE United States
DEMON FUZZ South Africa
DEN ZA DEN Yugoslavia
DENNIS Germany
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DEUS EX MACHINA Italy
AL DI MEOLA United States
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DON GATO Peru
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DOUBT United Kingdom
BOB DOWNES' OPEN MUSIC United Kingdom
DR. DOPO JAM Denmark
RIENTS DRAAISMA Netherlands
MLADEN DRAGOVIC Serbia
DREAMS United States
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DUELLO MADRE Italy
JOEL DUGRENOT France
GEORGE DUKE United States
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E MOTIVE United States
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EDGE United Kingdom
EDITION SPÉCIALE France
EDO Canada
EELA CRAIG Austria
ELECTRIC OUTLET Germany
ELECTROMAGNETS United States
ELEPHANT9 Norway
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ENERGIT Czech Republic
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ERGO United States
ERGO SUM France
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ETNA Italy
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EYOT Serbia
EZOO Multi-National
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YIORGOS FAKANAS Greece
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FINNFOREST Finland
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A FISH'S DIVING SUIT Germany
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FLAMENGO Czech Republic
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THE GROUP Finland
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GUILLAUME PERRET & THE ELECTRIC EPIC France
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GUNESH ENSEMBLE Turkmenistan
GURTH Spain
JUKKA GUSTAVSON Finland
VASIL HADZIMANOV BAND Serbia
MARY HALVORSON United States
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JON HASSELL United States
HEAD United Kingdom
HEADBAND Germany
PATRICK HEALY Canada
HEAVEN United Kingdom
DICK HECKSTALL-SMITH United Kingdom
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RONNY HEIMDAL Norway
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A HELMET OF GNATS United States
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I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA Indonesia
IBIS Sweden
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ICEBERG Spain
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IF United Kingdom
IGZIT-NINE Japan
IMÁN CALIFATO INDEPENDIENTE Spain
IMPACT FUZE Russia
IMPULS Czech Republic
INNER DRIVE Russia
IRON KIM STYLE United States
JOHN IRVINE United Kingdom
ISOTOPE United Kingdom
IZVIR Yugoslavia
RONALD SHANNON JACKSON United States
JAGA JAZZIST Norway
JAM CAMP United States
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BENNY JANSSON Sweden
JARKA Spain
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JENS JOHANSSON Sweden
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Hungary
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KLAN Poland
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LOTUS Sweden
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LUMINA Brazil
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MAAD Italy
JOHN MACEY United States
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MAELSTROM United States
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SEAN MALONE United States
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MAR DE ROBLES Chile
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MCGILL MANRING STEVENS United States
SCOTT MCGILL United States
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MEDIABANDA Chile
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THE OWL WATCHES United States
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PROBE 10 United States
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PSP (PHILLIPS SAISSE PALLADINO) Multi-National
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RAINS Italy
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THE REAL AX BAND Germany
REFORM Sweden
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RESIDENTS OF THE FUTURE Multi-National
RETURN TO FOREVER United States
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DON SCHIFF United States
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STRETCH IT TO THE LIMIT Peru
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