Jazz Fusion Artists History

Jazz Fusion Artist

Jazz Fusion Origins & Jazz Fusion Connoisseurs

Several musical evolutions happened during the late 1960s to create the genre of Jazz Fusion.  Fusion or Jazz Fusion is a musical genre that was birthed in the late 1960s when musical artists combined elements of jazz harmony and free jazz improvisation with genres such as rock, folk-funk, r & b, and Latin jazz. There were quite a few musicians like Herbie Hancock that began experimenting with electric instruments, electronic sounds, and synths.

What is jazz fusion?

Fusion musical arrangements can be super complex, implement a single key, chord or repeated melody. The rhythm and musical segment can often include the electric bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric piano, and electronic drums. And yes acoustic instruments can still be part of the musical arrangement and more than often they are. As with conventional free jazz improvisation, fusion instrumentalists usually require a high degree of music technical skill.

Jazz Fusion can be complex, changing time signatures involving many carefully arranged parts and detailed chord progressions, melodies, and off melodies. But are usually not as complex! Opting for a simpler rhythmic melody! Fusion musical arrangements, whether straightforward or elaborate, will feature improvisation sections. As with jazz, fusion often employs brass instruments like saxophone as melodic support and other solo instruments. But there is freedom in the type of instruments used in the arrangement. That’s what makes it fusion.

Free Jazz and Jazz Fusion in the 70s

The two jazz advances of the 1970s were Fusion and Free Jazz. As always Jazz Connoisseurs respect music and the art so much there was a great discussion over this Jazz Fusion.

The new creators “Jazz Innovators” believed jazz must move forward and evolve while always keeping a strong connection to its roots. And Jazz populist felt jazz should serve popular culture and large audiences. 

I think as artists and musicians that is the big question, “What validates music and what validates a new sound or art form? Is something only validated if it serves a large audience or should the authentic work found in original experimentation be celebrated? Ultimately music is music and if one listener enjoys your music it is validated.

Even if that listener is you. Everyone has a unique sound. The goal I will say is to find an audience that enjoys your sound.  There is also an argument that says, “trying to please the masses stops evolution” We can see that in many genres today; where many artists sound exactly the same with the same sound….same, same, same! No criticism there is nothing wrong with being the same!

Originality - Free Jazz

Free Jazz brought up many conversations.  As it was different from traditional fundamental forms of Jazz.  It seemed very hard to understand and find a rhythm. These changes included the absence of a steady beat considered essential to jazz. This beat was the 4 beat swing.  It also did not include a fixed set of chord progressions. Free Jazz soloists improvisations did not need to be bound by such rules. Ultimately they were open to whatever ever they felt in the moment. Which could be the same or drastically different version of the same song.

“I know you heard on the radio but this is life and it sounds like this!” in a Miles' voice.

Some Free Jazz artists included Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea John Mclaughlin, and Joe Zaiwinal, who formed a group called Weather Report.

Jazz Fusion

Jazz Fusion involved the inclusion of Funk, Rock, and Soul. Jazz Fusion included: First different genre rhythms, second replaced complex chord progressions with rhythmic harmonies and third added electronically amplified instruments such as electric guitar, electric bass, and electric pianos and keyboard synthesizers.

Evolution of Jazz Fusion

Eventually, Jazz Fusion began to include a blending of jazz with other styles and genres, such as Classical Music, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban music and Classical. The conclusion is Jazz Fusion is the combining of all musical genres based on a less complex rhythmic pattern than conventional Jazz. It is Jazz’s little brother who got a little help to keep up with his big brother.

Red Blooded American Album is your prototypical Jazz Fusion Album. Most of all the piano was based on melodic chord progressions with a slight hint of improvisation which makes it harder to sample. Adding in the electric guitar, bass and kick drum you have a nice mix of sound. Finalize that with jazz-rap poetry and it is something quite unique.

My and expectation is to study, grow, study, play and evolve. Jazz Fusion is the father of all music genres especially speaking about more contemporary genres. Jazz Fusion is simply influencing all musical genres with a sound based on jazz rhythm and style. Feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts and or expertise. 


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