Fusion Jazz

The Necks – Open (2013)

For all the discussion in recent years about the current generation’s creatively unique piano/bass/drums trios such as The Bad Plus, e.s.t. and Vijay Iyer’s trio, there’s scant talk about the earliest and most unique of this batch

Landon Knoblock’s CACAW – Stellar Power (2013)

For the longest time, jazz has had its hard-edged fringe and so has rock. Keyboardist Landon Knoblock started CACAW with the intent to combine the two outliers of their respective styles to create something even more otherworldly.

Bryan and the Haggards featuring Dr. Eugene Chadbourne – Merles Just Want To Have Fun (2013)

A two-step shuffle, a slightly exaggerated country croon, and two feisty saxes with occasional late-period Coltrane wails arousing suspicions that these are wack jazz guys playing Merle Haggard, not dedicated country music musicians.

Spyro Gyra – The Rhinebeck Sessions (2013)

Spyro Gyra – The Rhinebeck Sessions (2013)

One of the bands often cited as a progenitor of smooth jazz and one of the style’s best known names, Spyro Gyra is also one of the most atypical acts of the form.

Something Else! sneak peek: Najee, “Champs Élysées” from The Morning After, A Musical Love Journey (2013)

Something Else! sneak peek: Najee, “Champs Élysées” from The Morning After, A Musical Love Journey (2013)

Saxophonist Najee has been a major figure in smooth jazz right from the get-go with his debut Najee’s Theme (1986), which came out smack dab in the middle of the genre’s emergence into a popular music style onto its own.

Amir ElSaffar – Alchemy (2013)

(The song in video above is from ElSaffar’s Inana release, not Alchemy.) They say that the cradle of civilization lies in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now modern-day Iraq.

One Track Mind: Pixel, “Space” (2013)

That indie-jazz band out of Norway Pixel sure had an irresistible song on their hands last year with the sassy number “Call Me,” part an overall catchy set of songs called Reminder.

Hyrrokkin – Pristine Origin (2013)

The other-worldly experimental post hardcore outfit called Hyrrokkin finally delivers on a full length debut two years after the Astrionics EP came out.

Foreign Motion – In Flight (2013)

Last year Cory Wong made a sweeping musical statement — or should I say, several statements — sprawling over 2 discs. Quartet/Quintet revealed not just the wide ambition of this guitarist from Minneapolis, Minnesota but the wherewithal to realize it.

Tony Grey – Elevation (2013)

There are more than a few jazz fusion bassists out there with outstanding dexterity, who’ve mastered every Jaco Pastorius lick and made some fusion record full of endlessly serpentine melodies.