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100 Greatest Jazz Fusion Guitar Players

The Jazz Fusion genre may not be the most popular genre among guitar players, however most guitar players would agree, jazz fusion concepts stand at another level. The improvisational skills in this genre leave many listeners open-mouthed. This article showcases the best jazz fusion guitar players.

Scale approach of jazz fusion guitar players sounds dementedly scary if you are a first time listener. Scale concepts guitar players use in the jazz fusion genre does sound insane, and the truth is scales used in jazz fusion contexts are daringly complex. The complex guitar passages you hear stem from jazz and modal improvisation. Also, an amalgamation of funk and blues in a “Jekyll Meets Hyde” sort of manner gives Jazz Fusion its distinct sound. You also hear elements of rock and prog rock in the scheme of things that are jazz fusion. When you hear a jazz fusion guitar player, what seeks undivided attention is the outside playing that builds bridges in solos.

It may take a while for a listener who enjoys rock guitar instrumentals to acquire an ear for jazz fusion, but sooner or later the seamless dexterity of jazz fusion does cast a spell on you.

The free-flow guitar solos in the jazz fusion genre are hypnotic and leave listeners with questions in their mind. Like with any genre, you see things in new light every time you listen to a jazz fusion album. Outside playing and outside soloing that form an integral part of jazz are used melodically and modally in the jazz fusion genre. Blazing runs on the fret board are popular among guitar players in the jazz fusion realm. Many guitar players in this genre use extended techniques. Unconventional or unorthodox playing is what gives jazz fusion guitar players their trademark sound. The legato technique is one of the most popular picking techniques in the jazz fusion genre. Furthermore, hybrid picking styles have become excessively popular in the genre.

Bands and artists that helped the jazz fusion genre evolve

The Canterbury Scene in the 60s and 70s contributed immensely towards shaping the jazz fusion genre. Bands such as Soft machine and Gong were way ahead of their times and paved the way for the jazz fusion. Many bands in the 60s and 70s started experimenting with new sounds that helped the jazz fusion genre evolve. Here is a list of bands and artists that helped shape the jazz fusion genre.

  1. Soft Machine
  2. Caravan
  3. Egg
  4. National Health
  5. Gong
  6. Centipede
  7. Khan
  8. Delivery
  9. Matching Mole
  10. Henry Cow
  11. Comus
  12. Quiet Sun
  13. Mirage
  14. Isotope
  15. Chick Corea
  16. Miles Davis
  17. Hatfield and the North
  18. Frank Zappa
  19. Soft Heap
  20. In Cahoots
  21. The Wilde Flowers

The jazz fusion genre became popular with musicians in jazz, jazz rock, and the progressive rock domain. You hear an amalgamation of various styles in the jazz fusion genre. Jazz fusion guitarists are considered by a large number in the music fraternity as Teachers… or rather musicians… musicians. Well, many musicians consider jazz fusion musicians as maestros of various music genres, while that may well and truly be exaggerated, it does not take away from the fact that jazz fusion musicians are at another level in terms of musical structure, improvisation and technique.

Here is a list of jazz fusion guitar players that have raised the benchmark in guitar playing. The list below is not an attempt at ranking guitarists in the jazz fusion genre; it’s a mere effort to celebrate incredible guitar players that bring the genre to life. Feel free to have your say in the jazz fusion context.

100 Greatest Jazz Fusion Guitar Players

  1. Allan Holdsworth
  2. Frank Gambale
  3. John Abercrombie
  4. John Scofield
  5. Bill Frisell
  6. Guthrie Govan
  7. Brett Garsed
  8. Steve Khan
  9. Greg Howe
  10. Al Di Meola
  11. Wayne Krantz
  12. Bill Connors
  13. Torsten de Winkel
  14. Hiram Bullock
  15. Scott Henderson
  16. Mike Stern
  17. John McLaughlin
  18. Larry Coryell
  19. Terje Rypdal
  20. John Goodsall
  21. Shawn Lane
  22. Russ Freeman
  23. T. J. Helmerich
  24. Steve Morse
  25. Alex Machacek
  26. Issei Noro
  27. Tony MacAlpine
  28. Mike Miller
  29. Fridrik Karlsson
  30. David Torn
  31. Peter Sprague
  32. Alex Hutchings
  33. Jean Marc Belkadi
  34. Gary Boyle
  35. Pat Methney
  36. Kenn Smith
  37. Marion Tomic
  38. Birelli Lagrene
  39. Brian Hughes
  40. Robben Ford
  41. Jan Akkerman
  42. Kazumi Watanabe
  43. Tosin Abasi
  44. Jennifer Batten
  45. Oz Noy
  46. Steve Topping
  47. Okan Ersan
  48. Ryo Kawasaki
  49. Orhan Demir
  50. Shaun Baxter
  51. Fabrizio Leo
  52. John Czajkowski
  53. Gerald Gradwohl
  54. Chris Poland
  55. Michael Lee Firkins
  56. Tisziji Munoz
  57. Richie Kotzen
  58. Andy Summers
  59. Shane Theriot
  60. Scott McGill
  61. David T. Chastain
  62. Jake Hertzog
  63. Chris Brooks
  64. Joe Beck
  65. Susan Weinert
  66. Prashant Aswani
  67. Milan Polak
  68. Christophe Godin
  69. Chet Catallo
  70. Nguyen Le
  71. Vlatko Stefanovski
  72. Johnny Alegre
  73. Derryl Gabel
  74. Conrad Schrenk
  75. Mattias Eklundh
  76. Damjan Pejcinoski
  77. Jan Zehrfeld
  78. Nels Cline
  79. Ioannis Anastassakis
  80. Rob Balducci
  81. David Fiuczynski
  82. Jane Getter
  83. Danielle Gottardo
  84. Todd Grubbs
  85. Fareed Haque
  86. Tom Quayle
  87. Fernando Miyata
  88. Borislav Mitic
  89. Dave Martone
  90. Richard Hallebeek
  91. Marco Sfogli
  92. Theodore Ziras
  93. Neal Nagaoka
  94. Joop Walters
  95. Silvio Gazquez
  96. Jeremy Barnes
  97. Frank Solari
  98. Patrik Carlsson
  99. Andy Wood
  100. Tony Smotherman

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