Jazz fusion

Jazz fusion (sometimes referred to simply as fusion) is a musical genre that loosely encompasses the merging of jazz with other styles, particularly rock, funk, R&B, and world music. It basically involved jazz musicians mixing the forms and techniques of jazz with the electric instruments of rock, and rhythmic structure from African-American popular music, both "soul" and "rhythm and blues". Jazz Rock held the swinging feel of jazz and the hard quality of rock.

It is debatable whether jazz fusion is actually a coherent musical style or not. Many fusion records sound completely different compared to each other. What connects them, is that they are made by jazz musicians who try to combine their improvisation skills (and some other elements of jazz) with some style of pop, R&B, funk and/or world music.

Fusion had its roots in the late 1960s work of Miles Davis and the Tony Williams Lifetime. Later developments in the 1970s established jazz artists such as Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Larry Coryell, Weather Report, Jean-Luc Ponty and Jeremy Steig as a viable commercial influence. Bands using instruments such as electric guitar, bass guitar, and electric piano. Shortly, others began incorporating synthesizers such as the minimoog joining forces with more avant garde players who had also begun incorporating electronic sound in the wake of the "classical" avant garde.

At the same time, rock and African-American popular musicians had begun moving beyond the short "radio single" song format and incorporating elements of jazz-like extended instrumental improvisation. Two of Miles Davis' biggest inspirations as he moved into his fusion period were the tight grooves and intricate solos of Jimi Hendrix and Sly & The Family Stone. Michael Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield, both young white blues musicians, recorded extended versions of Adderley's "Work Song" and a modal improvisation titled "East/West" as early as 1966-67; other groups, particularly those based in San Francisco (Santana, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane) and in the U.K. (Cream, King Crimson, Pink Floyd) also performed, and eventually recorded, both extended improvisations on short song forms, and longer, multipart compositions.

Jazz artists, in the wake of developments in pop music, also began using the recording studio—with its improved editing, multitrack recording, and electronic effects capability—as an adjunct to actual composition and improvisation. Trumpeter Miles Davis's In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew (cornerstone recordings of the genre), for instance, feature extended—more than 20 minutes each—compositions which were never actually "played" straight through by the musicians in the studio; instead, musical motifs of various lengths were selected from recorded extended improvisations, and edited together into a musical whole which only exists in the recorded version.

Guitarist John McLaughlin—who during 1969-70 had collaborated with the seminal groups of Miles Davis and Tony Williams' Lifetime—joined forces with Billy Cobham on drums, Rick Laird on electric bass, Jan Hammer on keyboards and piano, and Jerry Goodman on violin to form The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Pianist Joe Zawinul, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, percussionist Airto Moreira, bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Alphonse Mouzon recorded the first Weather Report album in 1971. Artists such as Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and newer ones such as Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius also became involved in the developing scene. Musical barriers broke down further (to the continued horror of jazz purists) as musicians who had first established themselves as rock artists such as Jeff Beck began to experiment with the fusion form.

While jazz fusion is criticised in some quarters for being a watering down of more conventional swing-based jazz for pop audiences, and further criticised by others for being pretentious or too concerned with musical virtuosity, it has helped to break down boundaries between different genres and led to developments such as acid jazz. For the most part the genre has been subsumed into other branches of jazz and rock, but some traces of the form remain. In late 1970s pop music was becoming more commercialized. In jazz fusion, this trend was seen as an arrival of more commercial and "soft" recordings. Bob James is a main representative of this movement.

Notable artists and albums

External links

Jazz | Jazz genres
Avant-jazz - Bebop - Dixieland - Calypso jazz - Cool jazz - Free jazz - Hard bop - Modal jazz - Jazz blues - Gypsy jazz - Chamber jazz
Soul jazz - Swing - Acid jazz - Jazz fusion - Jazz rap - Nu jazz - Latin jazz - Smooth jazz - Trad jazz - Mini-jazz - Creative jazz
Other topics
Musicians - Jazz standard - Jazz royalty

de:Fusion (Musik) he:פיוז'ן it:Fusion fi:Fuusiojazz nl:Fusion pl:Jazz-rock ja:フュージョン (音楽)


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