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

Is it Rock? Jazz? Or something in between?

Jazz-Rock (or Jazz Fusion) crashed onto the music scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s, 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, used amplified and electronic instruments with which to create complex rhythmic patterns, strange time signatures, and very long tracks that 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 1960s and early 1970s, fusion was extremely popular, producing a mind-boggling litany of bands and musicians who were breaking new ground and pushing jazz-rock to extreme limits.

Here’s a list of the top 10 Jazz Fusion albums that have been critically acclaimed:

1. Bitches Brew – Miles Davis

Main 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

Main instrument: keyboards / ensemble

Tracks: Facelift (Live), Slightly all the time, Moon in June, Out-Bloody-Rageous, Out-Bloody-Rageous (Live), Facelift, Esther’s Nosejob

3. The Inner Mount Flame – Mahavishnu Orchestra

Main instrument: electric guitar

Year: 1971

Tracks: Gathering of the Spirits, Dawn, The Noon Race, A Lotus in Irish Streams, Life Transformation, The Dance of Maya, You Know You Know, Awakening

4. Caravanserai – Santana

Main instrument: electric guitar

Year: 1972

Tracks: Eternal caravan of reincarnation, Waves within, Look up (to see what is coming down), Just in time to see the sun, Song of the wind, All the love in the universe, Primitive future, Stone flower, The Fountain of Rhythm, every step of the way

5. Where have I met you before? Come back forever

Main instrument: keyboards / ensemble

Year: 1974

Tracks: Vulcan worlds, where I have loved you before, the shadow of love, where I have danced with you before, beyond the seventh galaxy, earth juice, where I have known you before, song to the pharaohs kings

6. School Days – Stanley Clarke

Main instrument: electric bass

Year: 1976

Tracks: School days, Quiet afternoon, The ballerina, Song of the desert, Hot fun, Life is just a game

7. Jaco Pastorius – Jaco Pastorius

Main instrument: electric bass

Year: 1976

Tracks: Donna Lee, Come On, Come Over, Continuum, Kuru / Speak Like A Child, Portrait of Tracy, Opus Pocus, Okonkole and Horn, (Used to be A) Cha-Cha, Forgotten Love, (Used to be A) Cha- Cha, 6/4 Jam

8. Romantic Warrior – Back to Eternity

Main 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

Main instrument: Ensemble

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

10. Elegant Gypsy – Al Di Meola

Main instrument: electric guitar

Year: 1977

Tracks: Flight over Rio, Midnight Tango, Mediterranean Sundance, Race with the Devil on the Spanish Road, Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil, Elegant Gypsy Suite

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