100 Greatest Jazz Fusion Bands

Jazz fusion as a genre came into its own in the late 60s. Since then the genre has gone onto become a complex creative amalgamation of various musical styles rooted to jazz and funk realms. This article brings to light the best jazz fusion bands.

Through the 70s many bands started experimenting with song structure. The improvisational skills of musicians in the jazz-funk genre led to a movement in complex instrumental passages Experimentation in various forms paved the way for a new wave of jazz fusion bands that amalgamated funk and rhythm and blues in experimental odd-time signatures. Complex time signatures are an integral part of jazz fusion. Lengthy instrumental compositions in the jazz context became hugely popular in the late 60s and 70s. Instrumental passages showcasing highly refined instrumental techniques started emerging in the 70s. Since the 70s, complex structure, high caliber instrumental technique and lengthy instrumental passages have been the main ingredients that have evolved and shaped the jazz fusion genre in varied ways.

The Canterbury scene in the 60s and 70s had many bands experimenting with progressive elements in a jazz context giving birth to the prog-jazz-fusion sound.

Extended improvisation became a manic rage with audiences at live performances of jazz fusion bands. Through the 80s and 90s many bands released instrumental jazz fusion albums with a sophisticated polished sound. The experimental approach in the jazz fusion genre evolved dynamically through the 80s and 90s. Musicians from different jazz rock bands formed experimental side projects and supergroups taking their brand of experimental jazz, progressive rock, and funk to the next level.

Jazz-rock genre has been associated closely in the realms of jazz-fusion because of its free form improvisation elements. Bands with a horn section churning out instrumental passages became excessively popular in jazz fusion bands in the 70s and 80s. The 90s made way for a new movement of instrumental guitar players in the jazz fusion genre that became a rage with music aficionados. Many guitar players worked on solo albums and released their albums independently or with small record labels. The accuracy, creativity, and improvisational skills of jazz fusion musicians have made them the first choice as session’s musicians with major recording artists from various genres.

Musicians in the jazz fusion genre are known for their technical knowledge in the studio. When you listen to a jazz fusion album the first thing that strikes you as a listener is the tonal quality on albums. The fluidity and flow in jazz fusion albums is testimony to the fact that jazz fusion musicians are at another level. Post 2000, jazz fusion bands are bringing in a diverse influence from classical, jazz rock, experimental, prog metal, funk, and progressive rock. In the years to come jazz fusion might just take a new path while still being rooted with all elements that ooze jazz and funk.

The list below showcases the best bands in the Jazz fusion genre. In no way does the list try or attempt to rank bands, it’s a mere celebration of the best from the jazz fusion genre.

100 Greatest Jazz Fusion Bands

  1. Return To Forever
  2. Weather Report
  3. Mahavishnu Orchestra
  4. Tony Williams Lifetime
  5. Soft Machine
  6. Tribal Tech
  7. Vital Information
  8. Chick Corea Elektric Band
  9. The Brecker Brothers
  10. Henry Cow
  11. Koinonia
  12. Gong
  13. Cab
  14. Brand X
  15. Steps Ahead
  16. Planet X
  17. Colosseum
  18. Animals As Leaders
  19. Yellowjackets
  20. Snarky Puppy
  21. Casiopea
  22. Spyro Gyra
  23. Medeski Martin & Wood
  24. Soft Heap
  25. Dixie Dregs
  26. HBC (Scott Henderson, Jeff Berlin, Dennis Chambers)
  27. Nucleus
  28. Shakti
  29. Dirty Loops
  30. Cynic
  31. Bela Fleck And The Flecktones
  32. T-Square
  33. Niacin
  34. The Eleventh House
  35. Nova
  36. The Crusaders
  37. Backwater
  38. Gordian Knot
  39. Steely Dan
  40. National Health
  41. Vital Tech Tones
  42. U.K.
  43. The Aristocrats
  44. Hiroshima
  45. Embryo
  46. Orzic Tentacles
  47. Col. Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit
  48. Go
  49. Fattburger
  50. Hatfield and The North
  51. Gilgamesh
  52. Exivious
  53. Area
  54. Potemkine
  55. The Fusion Syndicate
  56. The Headhunters
  57. Pierre Morlen’s Gong
  58. Zao (French Band)
  59. Ayers Rock
  60. The Shuffle Demons
  61. Dreams
  62. Finnforest
  63. Tauk
  64. Leb i sol
  65. Uzeb
  66. Bruford
  67. If
  68. Secret Oyster
  69. Chon
  70. Oregon
  71. Gutbucket
  72. Mezzoforte
  73. Animal Logic
  74. Vertu
  75. Kayo Dot
  76. Colosseum 2
  77. Kung Fu
  78. Isotope
  79. Aghora
  80. Maneige
  81. Ginger Baker’s  Air Force
  82. Arcana
  83. Matching Mole
  84. Physical Therapy
  85. Caldera
  86. Opafire
  87. Galactic
  88. Magma
  89. Jaga Jazzist
  90. Ten Wheel Drive
  91. Manteca
  92. The Bad Plus
  93. The Slip
  94. Shakatak
  95. Jazz Mandolin Project
  96. Stratus (US Band)
  97. GoGo Penguin
  98. Thank You Scientist
  99. The Budos Band
  100. Azteca

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