Jazz rock albums

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Jazz rock albums

Jazz fusion also known as fusion [2] is a music genre that developed in the late s when musicians combined jazz harmony and improvisation with rock musicfunkand rhythm and blues. Electric guitars, amplifiers, and keyboards that were popular in rock and roll started to be used by jazz musicians, particularly those who had grown up listening to rock and roll.

Jazz fusion arrangements vary in complexity. Some employ groove-based vamps fixed to a single key or a single chord with a simple, repeated melody. Others use elaborate chord progressions, unconventional time signatures, or melodies with counter-melodies. These arrangements, whether simple or complex, typically include improvised sections that can vary in length, much like in other forms of jazz.

As with jazz, jazz fusion employs brass and woodwind instruments such as trumpet and saxophone, but other instruments often substitute for these.

A jazz fusion band is less likely to use piano and double bass, and more likely to use electric guitar, synthesizers and bass guitar. The term "jazz rock" is sometimes used as a synonym for "jazz fusion" and for music performed by late s and s-era rock bands that added jazz elements to their music. After a decade of popularity during the s, fusion expanded its improvisatory and experimental approaches through the s in parallel with the development of a radio-friendly style called smooth jazz [3].

Experimentation continued in the s and s. Fusion albums, even those that are made by the same group or artist, may include a variety of musical styles. Rather than being a codified musical style, fusion can be viewed as a musical tradition or approach. Guitarist Larry Coryellsometimes called the godfather of fusion, referred to a generation of musicians who had grown up on rock and roll when he said, "We loved Miles but we also loved the Rolling Stones.

That same year DownBeat began to report on rock music. The pioneers of fusion emphasized exploration, energy, electricity, intensity, virtuosity, and volume.

AllMusic states that "until aroundthe worlds of jazz and rock were nearly completely separate". The album "mixed free jazz blowing by a large ensemble with electronic keyboards and guitar, plus a dense mix of percussion. By the end of the first year, Bitches Brew soldcopies, four times the average for a Miles Davis album.

jazz rock albums

Over the next two years the aloof Davis recorded more often, worked with many sideman, appeared on television, and performed at rock venues. Just as quickly, Davis tested the loyalty of rock fans by continuing to experiment.

Although Bitches Brew gave him a gold recordthe use of electric instruments and rock beats created consternation among some jazz critics, who accused Davis of betraying the essence of jazz.Compiling a list of the best jazz albums of all time is a nigh-on impossible task. With such a variety of styles to choose from — and no shortage of musicians who have contributed several groundbreaking works to the development of jazz — it quickly becomes clear that a mere handful of artists, or subgenres, could easily dominate the list.

Hopefully this means our selections are as rich, varied — and perhaps surprising — as the history of jazz itself. In the meantime, these 50 best jazz albums are essential for anyone looking to start a collection, or to go beyond classics they already know. Nevertheless, his two albums for the company were significant to the evolution of modern jazz. They also capture him at a notable juncture in his career, when he was developing his unique musical concepts.

Together they helped to patent an unmistakable signature sound defined by throbbing swing rhythms, taut ensemble work and incandescent soloing. A vivid snapshot of the Basie band in its youthful prime. Heavily influenced by the complex language of bebopin the late 40s Powell transposed the innovations of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie onto the piano. The album, which also featured a year-old Sonny Rollins, is one of the best jazz albums by a pianist; it tore up the rule book and served as a memorable introduction to a phenomenal musical talent.

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This live recording of Monk and Trane playing together for a charity benefit concert in November was thought lost until the master tape was discovered languishing in the vaults of the US Library Of Congress in A compelling portrait of two geniuses at work.

St Louis guitarist Grant Green was prolific during two separate stints at Blue Note and, as his 29 albums for the company reveal, he recorded in a wide range of settings.

Arguably the best of his LPs during his first tenure with the label — when he played hard bop — Idle Moments was recorded in and finds Green leading a sextet that includes tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Duke Pearson who composed two of the songs on the album, including the sublime but subdued minute title tune and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson.

jazz rock albums

Unlike some guitarists, Green never tried to overpower the listener with elaborate or flashy runs but preferred to pick out single-note melodies that stayed within the boundaries of good taste.

As well as swinging uptempo numbers with blaring horns, the album contains some beautifully subdued slower numbers defined by deft and subtle orchestral nuances.

The complete version, with bonus material, was released in Though not a jazz pathfinder, he was prolific and produced a formidable body of work for Blue Note between and His 26 albums for the label are all strong, but none are quite as perfect as Soul Station.

Earns its place among the best jazz albums of all time by being one of the best albums on Blue Note.

Despite passing away at the age of 25 from tuberculosis, Texas-born Christian did enough during his short career to achieve immortality and earn a place in the pantheon of jazz guitar greats. A posthumous release, this compilation album, first issued indrew together disparate sides, including solo recordings and cuts that document his stint with Goodman.

The material and performances are simply sublime, with every musician playing at a high level of creativity, focus and inspiration. Coltrane showcased his prowess on the relatively obscure and under-exposed soprano saxophone on this, his third album for Atlantic Records, recorded in March and released later that year.

100 Greatest Fusion Albums

It earns its place among the best jazz albums of all time thanks to its capturing a significant moment in history: Goodman was the first jazz musician permitted to play at a prestigious classical music concert hall. Worried that negative reviews would derail his career, the clarinettist was apprehensive about performing at the venue, but his fears proved unfounded and the concert was heralded as a major cultural event.

Though inspired by the fretboard virtuosity of his idol, Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery forged a unique and immediately identifiable style. The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of … was his third album but the one that truly put the Indianapolis guitarist on the jazz map.

Using his callused thumb as a pick, Montgomery plays single-note melodies with horn-like phrasing, before embellishing his solos with a sequence of block chords followed by octaves. Who knows what trumpeter and early hard bop architect Clifford Brown would have achieved had he lived beyond his 25th birthday.

His death, in a car accident, on 26 Junerobbed the jazz world of one its brightest prospects, though he recorded at least one album worthy of inclusion among the best jazz albums of all time. Andrew Hill recorded 13 albums for Blue Note between andbut Point Of Departure is, without doubt, the best of them. Here, Hill traverses a narrow tightrope separating advanced hard bop from full-on avant-garde jazz, but he does so convincingly.

Newest Jazz Fusion Albums & Song Releases

Over half a century later, this magnum opus ranks among the best jazz albums as an essential, must-hear example of paradigm-busting post-bop jazz. After the experimental music of his early 70s Mwandishi band fell on deaf ears, Herbie Hancock reinvented himself as an afro-topped jazz-funk wizard with this blockbuster album, which hit No.

Though influenced by Sly Stone and James BrownHancock stumbled upon something unique that was simultaneously accessible and groundbreaking.The earliest origins of jazz rock are open for debate. One thing that can not be debated is when the genre became the mainstream. That honor goes to Miles Davis, probably the greatest jazz man in terms of developing new and distinct styles of jazz in its history. Miles Davis changed music at least 5 times from towith cool jazz, modal jazz, orchestrated jazz, post bop jazz, and jazz rock and jazz funk styles.

Miles wasn't always the genesis of these styles, but he usually coalesced these new styles where his bands end up producing the definitive music in those new genres. Miles met and married the 20 years younger Betty Mabry, who in turn turned him on to new styles of music like Sly And the Family Stone, and Jimi Hendrix.

Davis sought out younger band mates to tutor like drummer Tony Williams, who for my money was the greatest drummer who ever lived. Miles Produced 2 absolute classics in the jazz rock genre, In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew from and respectively.

While these are the ones to start with, any of Miles' 70's albums are worth hearing, though many of the live albums might be too dense for virgin ears. Get Up With It released in might be the best of all for someone just getting into the music, it has something for everyone to savor.

There are many other artists to discover, but the stuff from the late 60's, through the late 70's tends to be the prime years for the genre. Today, the most exciting instrumental music is being created by bands like Jaga Jazzist, who combine electronic music, jazz, and progressive rock into a new music form that is big on melody and shimmering colors, but with the power of the best rock music. Herbie Hancock created music under the name Mwandishi for Warner Brothers and Columbia that expands on the Bitches Brew style, while adding distinct African and funk elements.

I highlight 3 of those albums near the end of the article. The Inner Mounting Flame from Mahavishnu Orchestra is where you realize that what you thought was high quality musicianship was a fraud. This instrumental only band made bands like Deep Purple and The Who seem like amateurs.

With Jan hammer on keyboards, yes the same guy who did the Miami Vice theme, and super drummer Billy Cobham, they propel this band to Metallic heights not dreamed of.

If you are fan of prog-metal like Dream Theater, Mahavishnu will delight you, especially since this record was made in ! McLaughlin becomes a guitar speed demon on this album, one of the first guitar shredders for sure. You don't find this fantastic double album on too many prog lists, but I will state that this album, as well as Chicago's first 3 albums are very progressive, and I rather like them for sheer entertainment value.

This debut 2 fer was very popular at the time and features Peter Cetera on bass and vocals, and Robert Lamm on Keyboards and vocals. One of the best guitarist you've never heard of, Terry Kath, who also sings the mega chart hit "Make Me Smile" later on.

Kath accidentally shot him self in the head in January of while reportedly cleaning his gun. Jimi Hendrix when asked what it felt like being the greatest guitarist in the world, answered: "I don't know, you'd have to ask Terry Kath about that! I personally wouldn't put Kath into Hendrix's league, but he certainly was underrated".

What makes Chicago Progressive? Chicago Transit Authority is certainly top 40 rock material, but this debut is a little more experimental and rougher around the edges.

Spectrum is a classic jazz rock fusion workout, and a drummer's dream of an album, with Cobham being one of the best ever on the skins.

Spectrum may be best known as a one of guitarist Tommy Bolin's last sessions before his premature death in A lot of strange time signatures all over spectrum, and quite a bit of funk rears its welcome head as well. As stated, Spectrum is a drums masterpiece, at times Cobham almost sounds like a drum machine with his precision and dexterity.

Best Jazz Albums: 50 Essentials You Need To Hear

Jan Hammer is also scattered throughout the album with his tasty synthesizers which also links the band somewhat with Mahavishnu Orchestra. Drummer Lenny White cut his teeth on Andrew Hill's Passing Ships, unfortunately the album was not released until Lenny is perhaps best known as the drummer for Chick Corea's Return to Forever.

Venusian Summer is an album that is firmly in the prog realm. Surprisingly enough there are some serious Tangerine Dream overtones on this album, Lenny must have been into them. Al Di Meola also drops by to add his guitar on the killer "Prince of the Sea". Chick, shortly after leaving Miles inwent on to form Return to Forever.AllMusic relies heavily on JavaScript.

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The soundtrack to director Stanley Nelson's comprehensive Miles Davis documentary is a mini-aural history of the trumpeter's musical development. Share on facebook twitter tumblr. Steely Dan. Mahavishnu Orchestra.

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jazz rock albums

Charlie Hunter. Frank Zappa.Criteria: These Fusion Albums were chosen to showcase the artists musical vision through their originality, influence, instrumental quality and creative inspiration. Definition: In the late s, jazz musicians began mixing the forms and improvisational techniques of jazz with the electric instruments of rock and the rhythms of soul and rhythm and blues.

At the same time, some rock artists began adding jazz elements to their music. Fusion has gone on to often include world music and other elements.

At its best, fusion music is often considered to be one of the most inventive, original and virtuosic musical genres. Edited By: Tom M. Last Updated: Electric Bath - Don Ellis Orchestra Rocket Science - Tribal Tech Lotus - Santana Chicago Transit Authority - Chicago Birds Of Fire - Mahavishnu Orchestra Quantum - Planet X Amandla - Miles Davis Head Hunters - Herbie Hancock The Grand Wazoo - Frank Zappa Six - Soft Machine Sand - Allan Holdsworth Reality Check - Tribal Tech Aja - Steely Dan Pick Hits Live - John Scofield Elegant Gypsy - Al Di Meola Review by kev rowland Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer.

One must mention the way Yuval has mixed this album, as instruments are given just the right amount of room within the overall sound so that it is never a case that one instrument is way over the others. Indeed, there are times when his guitar is obviously taking the lead role but it is has been placed just behind the drums and bass so while it is making an impact the ears are being drawn into different directions.

Sonically this is a really interesting album, and one is easily drawn into a complex and complicated role where the musicians are really busting their chops and producing something which is always interesting, always driving forward. If one wants to understand Yuval's main influence then one needs to look no further than the dedication which appears against one song, namely to the mighty Allan Holdsworth. Yuval does employ similar techniques and sounds at times, especially from the more experimental works of Holdsworth, yet the album is always incredibly interesting and intriguing, yet also compelling and accessible.

One can only hope that it isn't more than a decade until the next album from Yuval Ron, as this is a delight and essential to anyone who enjoys enjoyable guitar-driven progressive fusion. After the obvious Kraut fusion acts such as Embryo, Xhol Caravan, Kraan and Passport, there were quite a few lesser known bands that came and went all throughout the 70s but when the progressive rock scene as a whole started to wane aroundthese sorts of bands continued to form, release an album or two and then fade into obscurity.

While Germany gets the lion's share of the attention for the Krautrock scene, both Switzerland and Austria were in on the game too. German for "We Regret?. Not only does GINGA RALE BAND deliver all the goods of the jazzy complexities that allow the traditions of extra flavorful chord progressions to be the central focus upon which the various musicians solo around but the prog rock characteristics are in full swing with lots of hairpin turns, unexpected leaps into disparate dynamics and tempos along with many, many time signature changes.

With only four tracks that extend past 42 minutes, you know there's gotta be some serious compositional excesses going on and you would be right to guess as such! Now i really don't like the track title choices but for some reason the first and third tracks are both titled "Nigger.

Supposedly the second is the continuation of the first with the track "Buglieish" in between but in reality there is no real rhyme or reason as this mostly instrumental album simply generates grooves, melodies, counterpoints and lots of improvisational mojo action.

jazz rock albums

There are vocals but all are in German and only spoken at various random moments. The focus is squarely on the rhythmic drive accompanied by one of the many instruments taking part in a lengthy technical soloing and all of these musicians are on the top of their game. You can really expect Mahavishnu Orchestra performances here. Had this band emerged ten years earlier, they surely would've been one of the top jazz-fusion bands of all time.

Despite the scary looking bleakness of the album cover art that looks more like one of those early 80s post-punk styles, GINGA RALE BAND really delivers a rather uplifting procession of magical melodies that are lifted even higher with the sparkling keyboard sounds that emerge from Pip Furz and just to give the album a bit of rock creds, guitarist Paul Hochrainer adds a bit of heavy rock guitar heft from time to time but often he's cranking out some seriously tight-knit riffs and solos that act in tandem with the sax, keys or other guitar sounds!

While the first three tracks are excellent the grand finale "Gugug" will blow your mind through its 17 minute run. For the first several minutes it rocks the house with as much jazzy fusion mojo as permitted by law but after seven minutes starts adding trippy Krautish keyboard sounds until the whole thing turns into a major Krautish freakout straight out of and crafts a freak zone that Amon Duul II and Ash Ra Tempel would bow down in admiration to!

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Don't worry, it drifts back into jazz-fusion paradise for a final procession of angular antics run amok. Why this album is not well known is beyond me as this is some of the absolute best albums that has emerged out of Austria. GINGA RALE BAND crafts not only some of the best Kraut jazz of all time but delivers it in such a way that is quite innovative and utterly unique and the icing on the cake comes towards the end of the album where the album launches into hyperspace and lands on planet Lysergia without jettisoning all the jazzy yumminess that makes them a jazz-rock band after all!

In all honesty, there were many very talented Kraut bands that crafted a unique hybridization of progressive rock, jazz and Krautish psychedelia with bands such as Brainstorm and Eiliff coming to mind however you can surely add GINGA RALE BAND to the top of the heap as one of the most adventurous and innovative bands of this style that has gone relatively unheard except for those of us who delve into the obscurity bins of prog rock music.

This is one of the most woefully under-known, under-appreciated and off the radar bands i've come across as it still hasn't ever seen a reissue after its initial vinyl release. Before Alex Machacek moved to the U. The name was chosen, somewhat ironically, to prevent confusion about Mr. Machacek's name. This lone release under the pseudonym starts out exactly as advertised: with a very tightly syncopated, vibe heavy intro that harkens to passages from the Mothers of Invention that prominently featured Ruth Underwood's mallet skills.

Underlying the complex manic starts and stops is a very Holdsworth-esque set of jazz-rock fusion chord progressions that form a package that is very much homage, while maintaining a sense of originality.Many great jazz fusion records have been released since but it was during the 60s and 70s, the time of Miles and Weather Report and Return To Forever, that fusion was at its peak. While there are over 80 items on the following list, we've given a brief history in the top 10, explore them and all the rest and rediscover the magic and wonder of jazz fusion in the s and s.

Although this album was originally met with criticism from rock and jazz fans alike for its experiment style, "In a Silent Way" is now considered one of Davis' biggest contributions and influences to music ever. Weather Report was a jazz fusion band in the 70s and 80s who took America by storm with their self-titled debut album that featured a Czech bassist, Austrian-born keyboard player, and American saxophonist.

Weather Report, along with Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis, are known as pioneers in jazz fusion, but Weather Report far outlasted most of its contemporaries and had a successful career spanning two decades.

Since then, "Headhunters" has been added to the Library of Congress' archives as a "socially or culturally important work.

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One of Columbia Records' best-selling jazz albums of all time, "Heavy Weather" was Weather Report's eighth major studio release, selling overcopies upon its release and has since been considered one of the last great jazz-rock albums. A year after he released "Bitches Brew," Miles Davis came out with "A Tribute to Jack Johnson," a soundtrack and studio album for a documentary of the same name, which demonstrated his continued interest in jazz fusion developing at the time.

If you're looking for an eclectic taste of some of the best jazz fusion of the s and 70s, look no further than the debut double album "Emergency! Multi-Grammy-winning guitarist Carlos Santana broke onto the scene in the late 60s and struck jazz gold by working with John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra on the album "Love Devotion Surrender. Michael Verity.

Michael Verity is a jazz musician, writer, and photographer and a regular contributor many music industry niche sites. Updated January 13,


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