Jazz 100
Fusion
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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In a Silent Way
Miles Davis
1969 [Columbia]


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Davis broke new ground again with this timeless record. The future of fusion was on show - with Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea all on board. Extending tracks with dubbing and electric instruments set the purists howling, despite the sheer beauty and obvious genius on display.





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Red Clay
Freddie Hubbard
1970 [CTI]


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An important hard bop record and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's first for Creed Taylor's fledgling CTI label. The soul/funk fusion sound found here laid the blueprint for a host of classics that would come from the label. With tenor Joe Henderson and keyboardist Herbie Hancock strutting their stuff, it was hard to miss. Holding up well.





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The Inner Mounting Flame
Mahavishnu Orchestra
1971 [Columbia]


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Guitarist John McLaughlin was touted here as the heir-apparent to rock great Jimi Hendrix. Nevertheless, this is a bona-fide jazz record - albeit a very loud and fast one. Czech-born piano/synth player Jan Hammer and violinist Jerry Goodman shine on the album's quieter moments, but McLaughlin's double-necked guitar steals the show.





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A Tribute to Jack Johnson
Miles Davis
1971 [Columbia]


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The story of boxing great Jack Johnson, with all its socio-cultural overtones in full view, was all the inspiration Davis needed to make this enthralling soundtrack. The record consists of two extended jams and features the playing of both Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin. Some say it is Davis' best from his fusion period.





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Light As a Feather
Chick Corea & Return to Forever
1972 [Polydor]


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The title says it all - Feather is light and listenable electric jazz, with a touch of Latino thrown in for good measure. The recently released 2CD set contains the original album in its entirety on the first disc. This is quite simply wonderful music, with Stanley Clarke's seemingly effortless transition to electric bass an aural delight. Recommended.





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Moon Germs
Joe Farrell
1972 [CTI]


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Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke and Jack DeJohnette are on hand to help out on this funkified outing... yet another fusion effort from the adventurous CTI label. Frontman Joe Farrell plays both flute and soprano sax to dazzling effect. It is essentially a hard bop album occasionally dressed up with some mild avant-garde touches.





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Head Hunters
Herbie Hancock
1973 [Columbia]


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Jazz finds its soul while getting lowdown and funky. The record may sound like it owes more to Sly Stone than Miles Davis - but some groovy jazz is at the core of things. In particular, Hancock's long improvisations on the keyboards are typical of the genre. The biggest selling jazz album of all time in its day and a forerunner of acid jazz.





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Spectrum
Billy Cobham
1973 [Atlantic]


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Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer Billy Cobham strikes out on his own with a relaxed bluesy style courtesy of guitarist Tommy Bolin. With keyboardist Jan Hammer also on board, this is one of the better (and certainly more listenable) jazz-rock fusion efforts of the 70s. As such, those who don't normally like fusion may find this a pleasant surprise.


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