As far as I’m concerned, fusion is the melding of any distinct variety of music. Common meldings include rock and soul, rock and blues, jazz and soul, jazz and funk, and the most popular style, jazz-rock fusion. There are many examples of this style–The roots of this were sewn during the Miles Davis Bitches Brew sessions. Artists like Chick Corea, Billy Cobham, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Jack Dejohnette, Airto Moriera, and Dave Holland (among others) figured prominently in the creation of this album, and the solidification of the jazz-rock genre. Chick Corea and Airto formed Return to Forever (which launched the careers of Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White, three practitioners who helped set the pace in the ’70’s fusion genre) and McLaughlin and Cobham started Mahavishnu Orchestra (which included fusion heavyweights Jan Hammer and Jean-Luc Ponty, among others). Weather Report was another influential fusion group, involving Zawinul and sax great Wayne Shorter, among other titans. Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House was very popular in the early-mid ’70’s, launching the career of Coryell and fusion drummer extraordinaire Alphonse Mouzon–who was an original member of Weather Report as well (he’s one of my particular favorites). Other popular fusion artists from the jazz side include George Duke(who cut his teeth with Frank Zappa, Cannonball Adderley, Shuggie Otis, Jean-Luc Ponty, Quincy Jones, and Floria Purim–an impressive list) Miroslav Vitous(himself a former member of Weather Report), Passport(led by fusioneer Klaus Doldinger), and Jeremy Steig.
Rock Musicians also found their way into the fusion scene. Frank Zappa and Jeff Beck are two prime examples that stamped their trademark on this genre. FZ’s Hot Rats——–wow. Not to be outdone, southern rock fusioneers Dixie Dregs—–Fing awesome! Plus Tommy Bolin lent his guitar sound to two of Fusions’ seminal albums, Billy Cobham’s Spectrum and Alphonse Mouzon’s Mind Transplant. Brand X featured Phil Collins (Genesis) and John Goodsall (Atomic Rooster)
My favorites–the obscure artists that get lumped with the progressive rock movement. Canadian artists like Maneige and Sloche(talk about awesome), Fermata (from Czechoslovakia),Moose Loose (Sweden) Perigeo(Italy) and Nucleus (UK) are my favorites, but there are many more out there. Check them out if you like jazz, you like rock, and you think the melding of the two could be cool. Incredible stuff just waiting to be discovered!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!