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10 Top Jazz Fusion Albums For The Ultimate Jazz-Rock Collection

Is it Rock? Jazz? Or something in-between?

Jazz-Rock (or Jazz Fusion) slammed on the music scene in the late 1960s and early 70s, combining elements of progressive rock music with the improvisational elements of jazz.

This was the time when many musical artists from Miles Davis to Frank Zappa were using amplified and electronic instruments with which to create complex rhythmic patterns, odd time signatures, and very long tracks which included seemingly endless solo improvisations.

Looking back, it would be easy to refer to jazz fusion as an “era” rather than a genre. This is because during the late 60s and early 70s, fusion was extremely popular, producing a mind-boggling litany of bands and musicians who were blazing new trails and pushing jazz-rock to extreme limits.

Here is a list of 10 Top Jazz Fusion Albums which have been critically acclaimed:

1. Bitches Brew – Miles Davis

Primary Instrument: Keyboards/Ensemble

Year: 1969

Tracks: Pharaoh’s Dance, Bitches Brew, Spanish Key, John McLaughlin, Miles Runs the Voodoo Down, Sanctuary

2. Third – Soft Machine

Year: 1970

Primary Instrument: Keyboards/Ensemble

Tracks: Face Lift (Live), Slightly All The Time, Moon In June, Out-Bloody-Rageous, Out-Bloody-Rageous (Live), Facelift, Esther’s Nosejob

3. The Inner Mounting Flame – Mahavishnu Orchestra

Primary Instrument: Electric Guitar

Year: 1971

Tracks: Meeting of the Spirits, Dawn, The Noonward Race, A Lotus on Irish Streams, Vital Transformation, The Dance of Maya, You Know You Know, Awakening

4. Caravanserai – Santana

Primary Instrument: Electric Guitar

Year: 1972

Tracks: Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation, Waves Within, Look Up (To See What’s Coming Down), Just in Time to See the Sun, Song of the Wind, All the Love of the Universe, Future Primitive, Stone Flower, La Fuente del Ritmo, Every Step of the Way

5. Where Have I Known You Before – Return To Forever

Primary Instrument: Keyboards/Ensemble

Year: 1974

Tracks: Vulcan Worlds, Where Have I Loved You Before, The Shadow Of Love, Where Have I Danced With You Before, Beyond The Seventh Galaxy, Earth Juice, Where Have I Known You Before, Song To The Pharaoh Kings

6. School Days – Stanley Clarke

Primary Instrument: Electric Bass

Year: 1976

Tracks: School Days, Quiet Afternoon, The Dancer, Desert Song, Hot Fun, Life Is Just A Game

7. Jaco Pastorius – Jaco Pastorius

Primary Instrument: Electric Bass

Year: 1976

Tracks: Donna Lee, Come On, Come Over, Continuum, Kuru / Speak Like A Child, Portrait of Tracy, Opus Pocus, Okonkole y Trompa, (Used To Be A) Cha-Cha, Forgotten Love, (Used To Be A) Cha-Cha, 6/4 Jam

8. Romantic Warrior – Return to Forever

Primary Instrument: Keyboards/Ensemble

Year: 1976

Tracks: Medieval Overture, Sorceress, The Romantic Warrior, Majestic Dance, The Magician, Duel Of The Jester And The Tyrant

9. Heavy Weather – Weather Report

Year: 1977

Primary Instrument: Ensemble

Tracks: Birdland, A Remark You Made, Teen Town, Harlequin, Rumba Mama, Palladium, The Juggler, Havona

10. Elegant Gypsy – Al Di Meola

Primary Instrument: Electric Guitar

Year: 1977

Tracks: Flight Over Rio, Midnight Tango, Mediterranean Sundance, Race With Devil on Spanish Highway, Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil, Elegant Gypsy Suite

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