The word "fusion" has been so liberally used during the past quarter-century as to become almost meaningless. Fusion's original definition was best: a mixture of jazz improvisation with the power and rhythms of rock. Up until around 1967 the worlds of jazz and rock were nearly completely separate. But as rock became more creative and its musicianship improved, and as some in the jazz world became bored with hard bop and did not want to play strictly avant-garde music, the two different idioms began to trade ideas and occasionally combine forces. By the early 1970's, fusion had its own separate identity as a creative jazz style (although sneered upon by many purists) and such major groups as Return To Forever, Weather Report, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis' various bands were playing high-quality fusion that mixed together some of the best qualities of both jazz and rock. Unfortunately as it became a moneymaker, much of what was labelled fusion was actually a combination of jazz with easy-listening pop music and lightweight R&B. This style of commercially-oriented, melodic, crossover jazz became the dominant style of fusion in the '80s, and by the beginning of the '90s, it had earned a new name - smooth jazz - which further separated from the risk-taking fusion that was its forefather.

(Scott Yanow)


Miles Davis - In A Silent Way

Listen to: In A Silent Way-It's About Tha

Davis, Miles (tp); Hancock, Herbie (elp); Corea, Chick (elp); Shorter, Wayne (ts); Holland, Dave (b); Zawinul, Joe (elp, org); McLaughlin, John (g); Williams, Tony (dr)

Recorded: 18-02-1969



Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

Listen to: Miles Runs The Voodoo Down

Davis, Miles (tp); Shorter, Wayne (ss); Maupin, Bennie (bcl); Zawinul, Joe (elp); Corea, Chick (elp); McLaughlin, John (g); Holland, Dave (elb); Brooks, Harvey (elb); Alias, Don (dr); DeJohnette, Jack (dr); Santos, Jumma (perc)

Recorded: 20-08-1969



John McLaughlin - Extrapolation

Listen to: Extrapolation

McLaughlin, John (g); Surman, John (bs, ss); Odges, Brian (b); Oxley, Tony (dr)

Recorded: 1969



The Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame

Listen to: Vital Transformation

McLaughlin, John (g); Cobham, Billy (dr); Laird, Rick (b); Hammer, Jan (elp); Goodman, Jerry (viol)

Recorded: 14-08-1971



Chick Corea - Return To Forever

Listen to: Return To Forever

Corea, Chick (elp); Farrell, Joe (fl, ss); Purim, Flora (voc, perv); Clarke, Stanley (elb, b); Moreira, Airto (dr, perc)

Recorded: February 1972



Herbie Hancock - Mwandishi

Listen to: Ostinato (Suite For Angela)

Hancock, Herbie (elp); Williams, Buster (b); Hart, Billy (dr); Henderson, Eddie (tp, flh); Maupin, Bennie (bcl, afl); Priester, Julian (tb)

Recorded: 31-12-1970



Herbie Hancock - Headhunters

Listen to: Chameleon

Hancock, Herbie (elp, clavinet, synth, pipes); Maupin, Bennie (ss, ts, saxello, bcl, afl); Jackson, Paul (bg, marimbula); Mason, Harvey (dr); Summers, Bill (cga, shekere, Balafon, agogo, cabasa, hindewho, tamb, l og drum, surdo, gankoqui, beer bottle)

Recorded: 1973



Weather Report - Heavy Weather

Listen to: Birdland

Zawinul, Joe (synth, keyb, p, voice, melodica); Shorter, Wayne (ss, ts); Pastorius, Jaco (bg, mandocello, voice); Acuña, Alex (dr); Badrena, Manolo (tamb)

Recorded: 1977



Weather Report - Wheater Report

Listen to: Umbrellas

Zawinul, Joe, (keyb); Shorter, Wayne (ss); Vitous, Miroslav (b); Moreira, Airto (perc); Mouzon, Alphonze (dr)

Recorded: 16-02-1971



Weather Report - Live 8:30

Listen to: Black Market

Zawinul, Joe, (keyb); Shorter, Wayne (ts, ss);Pastorius, Jaco (elb, dr); Zawinul, Erich (perc); Erskine, Peter (dr, perc)

Recorded: January and February 1979



Les McCann - Invitation to Openness

Listen to: The Lovers

McCann, Les (keyb); Lateef, Yusef (ts, oboe, fl, perc); Spinozza, David (g); Dupree, Cornell (g); Hale, Corky (harp); Christian, Jodie (elp); Salter, Bill (elb); Rowser, Jimmy (b); Purdie, Bernard (dr, perc); Mouzon, Al (dr, perc); Dean, Donals (dr, perc); Clarke, Buck (perc); McDonald, Ralph (perc)

Recorded: 1971



Herbie Mann - Memphis Underground

Listen to: Memphis Underground

Mann, Herbie (fl); Ayers, Roy (vib); Coryell, Larry (g); Sharrock, Sonny (g); Young, Reggie (g); Emmons, Bobby (org); Wood, Bobby (elp, p); Cogbill, Tommy (elb); Christman, Gene (dr)

Recorded: 1969



Jeremy Steig - This Is Jeremy Steig

Listen to: Flute Diddley

Steig, Jeremy (fl); McDonald, Donald (dr); Moore, Glen (b, elb); Bernhardt, Warren (elp)

Recorded: 1969



Barney Wilen - Dear Prof. Leary

Listen to: Dear Prof. Leary

Wilen, Barney (ts, ss); Kühn, Joachim (p, org); Lorenzini, Mimi (g); Lenz, Günter (elb); Romano, Aldo (dr); Paap, Wolfgang (dr)

Recorded: 27/28-06-1968



Larry Coryell - Barefoot Boy

Listen to: Gypsy Queen

Coryell, Larry (g); Marcus, Steve (ss); Killian, Lawrence (cga); Haynes, Roy (dr); Wilkinson, Harry (perc)

Recorded: 1971



Gato Barbieri - Fenix

Listen to: Tupac Amaru

Barbieri, Gato (ts); Vasconcelos, Naná (berimbau, cga); Golden, Gene (cga); White, Lenny (dr); Beck, Joe (elg); Carter, Ron (b); Smith, Lonnie Liston (p, elp)

Recorded: 28-04-1971



Gary Burton - Duster

Listen to: Ballet

Burton, Gary (vib); Coryell, Larry (g); Swallow, Steve (b); Haynes, Roy (dr)

Recorded: 18-04-1967



Crusaders - Crusaders One

Listen to: That's How I Feel

Hooper, Stix (dr); Sample, Joe (keyb); Felder, Wilton (ts, elb); Henderson, Wayne (tb); plus: Carlton, Larry (g); Adams, Arthur (g); Walker, David T. (g); Rainey, Chuck (elb)

Recorded: N.N



Pat Martino - Stone Blue

Listen to: Uptown Down

Martino, Pat (g); Brown, Delmar (voc, keyb); Alexander, Eric (ts); Genus, James (elb); Dennard, Kenwood (dr, perc)

Recorded: 14-02-1998