What is Jazz Fusion?

International dictionaries have definitions of Jazz fusion which will give us several key points on this type of genre. The McMillan Dictionary defined Jazz fusion as a type of music that developed in the 1970s, combining jazz styles with rock music and using electronic instruments such as guitars and synthesizers. While The Farlex Free Dictionary interpret Jazz Fusion as Music that blends jazz elements and the heavy repetitive rythem of rock.

From these definitions we have several key ingredients to understand what the genre is. These keys include the use of electronic instruments such as guitar and synthesizers, and the use of rock rythem to articulate jazz style.

This style was a result from the experiment of several prominent figures in modern Jazz history. As early as 1970s Miles Davis—one of the artists who found jazz fusion-- was on his journey to develop his musical skill by abandoning the traditional jazz style. He took the modern approach to articulate all of Jazz scales, rythem and atmosphere. He chose rock style back-beat guarded by electric bass groves.

The early influence of this music was primarily rock and jazz. That is why in 1960 jazz fusion was often identified as Jazz Rock. But frankly there were touch of R & B and Funk which became ingredients in Jazz fusion.

Before further information of this genre historically, first let me show you how one of the earliest fusion band whose members got together to create something which was not common back when they composed and performed their songs.It was Return to forever. Here is a song which I know that is still popular nowadays, despite that it was composed in 1971, but it remains strong and considered to be a current song. “Spain” , a song which has more than thirty renditions not by Chick Corea alone but by other Jazz musicians throughout time.

So this next video will show you how a simple band setting could provide a different fusion feel. Herbie Hanckok is performing Cantaloupe Island, a music piece of his. Pat Metheney who also played in this piece is also a well known Fusion Jazz artist.

From other part of the world, one name which takes it into the next gear is Tetsuo sakurai. The name known to be part of internationally acclaimed band, Casiopea, Jimsaku and other projects which revealed his signature in electric bass playing style.

It is indeed that he is not the only Fusion Jazz artist in Asia but since I play bass and I like his style and I personally think that you would be blown away with his slapping style, I chose Tetsuo Sakurai to represent Asian fusion artist.

Curious of what kind of his performance was? Well I think I can show you something that would really makes you see why I’m kind of exposing some compliments here and there when I write about Tetsuo Sakurai. So here is “Guruguru Labyrinth” a song composed by Tetsuo Sakurai while he was in Jimsaku, collaborating with his equally tallented musical partner, the drummer, Akira Jimbo.

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