Best/worst Fusion Albums


I'm a massive jazz fan and greatly respect the players who later branched out into other genres, but my god is it difficult to find decent fusion music. I'm not talking about the sort of fusion on Chick's "three quartets" album, where he plays complex, latin-influenced arrangements but still with acoustic instruments. I mean full out keys, synths and distortion guitar kinda fusion.

I'll start it off then. From my music collection:

Best: Robben Ford- Jing Chi (especially Vinnie on Train Song!).

Worst: Billy Cobham- Fruit from the Loom (featuring steel pan :(... )

Anon La Ply

I can't choose:

Gong - Shamal
Jeff Beck - Blow By Blow
Steely Dan - everything up to Aja
Billy Cobham - Spectrum
Frank Zappa - Grand Wazoo
Weather Report - Black Market and Heavy Weather
Stanley Clarke - Journey to Love

Worst? I don't want to bag anyone out but I bought Allan Holdsworth's Velvet Darkness solo album in the 70s because I liked the way he played with Gong and Soft Machine. Huge disappointment - murky sound and boring (title track was good, though). I later found out that the record company released raw AH's rehearsal material without his approval because they didn't want to stump up recording fees. Talk about hardball.


Well-known member
I certainly have more "worst" than best but will not post the "worst" as it'd serve no purpose other than starting an ugly thread. Me personally, I never really took a shine to the fusion music created by many of the more popular drummers from the fusion era which some people find as hero's. It's not my place (nor am I accurate) to tell someone they admire and are influenced by is no good.

I'll list artists and not albums...

That being said, I love the Gadd stuff with Chick. You pick it the album, I don't care.

I happen to be an admire of Dave Weckl which I know many are not fans of. That's totally cool and up to the individual listener to decide.

I also enjoy bits and pieces from these artists: Michel Camilo, Dave Grusin, George Benson, Brecker Brothers, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Vital Information, Steps Ahead, Yellowjackets (early stuff).

Honestly, I don't listen to as much fusion as I used to but do enjoy it from time to time.


Senior Member
Heavy Weather by Weather Report
Unorthodox Behaivior by BrandX
Visions of an Emerald Beyond by Mahavishnu Orchestra
Cross Collateral by Passport (for some reason this silly video of the song Humunculus by some tape player collector always makes me smile:
Hot Rats by Zappa
Metal Fatigue by Alan Holdsworth (really just the drumming on the song The Un-Merry-Go-Round. I'm not crazy about the rest of the album)
Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock

Hate to speak badly about any musicians, but I used to like Spyro Gyro when I was younger, but now I can't listen to that soft elevator music type fusion.

Anon La Ply

... Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock

Hate to speak badly about any musicians, but I used to like Spyro Gyro when I was younger, but now I can't listen to that soft elevator music type fusion.
Thanks, forgot Head Hunters. Loved Chick Corea's first RTF album but never warmed to his heavy fusion.

Ha! I had a Spyro Gyra album too and, like you, I can't tolerate most elevator music any more either. It was purely a technical attraction back then - I admired the great players and it was well produced. I had a couple of Al diMeola albums back in the day that I really have to be in the mood for these days ... maybe once every few years ...


Platinum Member
I have piles of jazz-rock fusion. Check these out.

Gambale/Hamm/Smith - GHS3
Hellborg/Lane/Sipe - Pesonae
Jean Luc Ponty - The Acatama Experience
Gambale/Donati/Fierabracci - Made in Australia
Ohm - Circus of Sound
John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension - To the One
Vital Information - Come on In
Vital Information - Live from Mars
Vital Information - Show 'em Where You Live
Vital Information Where We Come From
Tunnels - Progresssivity
Dave Weckl Band - Multiplicity
Dave Weckl Band - Live (and very plugged in)
Dave Weckl Band - Perpetual Motion
Dave Weckl Band - Transition
Dave Weckl Band - Synergy
Yellowjackets - Greenhouse
Yellowjackets - Like a River
Yellowjackets - Run for Your Life
Yellowjackets - Dreamland
Yellowjackets - Time Squared
Yellowjackets - Altered State
Machacek/Sipe/Garrison - Improvision
Hiromi's Sonic Bloom - Beyond Standard
Hiromi's Sonic Bloom - Time Control
anything by CAB
anything by Niacin
anything by Return to Forever
anything by The Mahavishnu Orchestra
Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow
Jeff Beck - Wired

Here are some concert DVD's.
Return to Forever - Live at Montreaux
Allan Holdsworth and Alan Pasqua featuring Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Haslip
Hiromi's Sonicbloom - Live in Concert
John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension - Live @ Belgrade
Jean Luc Ponty - In Concert

Fusion lives!


Senior Member
Mahavishnu Orchestra- The Inner Mounting Flame, Birds Of Fire
Return To Forever- Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy, Romantic Warrior
Billy Cobham- Spectrum
Al Dimeola- Elegant Gypsy
Stanley Clarke-School Days
Tony Williams Lifetime- Believe It
Herbie Hancock-Headhunters, Thrust
John McLaughlin-Electric Guitarist
Chick Corea- Five Peace Band Live

Some great DVDs:
Both of Mike Stern's "New Morning Paris" live DVDs-one has Dave Weckl, one has Dennis Chambers
Return To Forever- Live At Montreux 1998
Chick Corea Elektric Band- Live At Montreux 2004

This is really not going to be popular, but I personally can't stand Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew". I appreciate it's influence and love all of the players on it, but I find the music to be meandering and boring.

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Well I'd like to think that my records and CD's collection are all the "best" of fusion, I bought them :) Having said that, some are just stucked into the cabinet and almost never get played, I guess they're my "worst" albums.

Here's some of my "best" records/CD's

Billy Cobham - Spectrum
Al Di Meola - Electric Rendez-Vous
RMS - Centennial Park
John Scofield - Pick Hits
Jeff Beck - There And Back
Peter Erskine - Motion Poet
Dave Grusin - Moutain Dance
Simon Phillips - Symbiosis
Hiromi - Voice
Stanley Clarke - Rock, Pebbles and Sand
Mike Stern - Upside Downside
Secial EFX - Double Feature
Chick Corea Elektric Band - Light Years...

... in the mid 80's, when Dave Weckl joined/formed the CCEB with Chick, it was a slap in the face for many a drummer, he certainely was the sensation at the time, I still like the guy nowadays, but definitely not in my favourite music selection, I genuinely admire his drumming though.


Silver Member
My favorites in no particular order are:

Jeff Beck Live at Ronnie Scott's

Dave Weckl - Multiplicity

Vital Information - Where We Come From

Vital Tech Tones II

Late 80's Dave Weckl, anything labeled as fusion that's actually smooth jazz. Also I know it's absolute sacrilege to say this, but there aren't that many Lifetime songs that I'm a big fan of.


Silver Member
so many good ones below. i will add 3 more:

+ Allan Holdsworth - Secrets (Vinnie). this one was a game changer for me. so much musically & technically flowing out of Vinnie on this one. it just blew me away when i heard it.
+ Los Lobotomys - Los Lobotomys. if you have never heard this first live recording, it's nuts especially the personnel: Porcaro, Vinnie, Lenny Castro, Carlos Vega, Will Lee, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Lukather, Joe Sample, etc. the "all blues" version that Vinnie plays on has some of the most nutty traded 8s i have ever heard.
+ John Scofield -- Pick Hits Live (Dennis). another game changer for me.
+ Oceana by Derek Sherinian -- this is THE best "old school" fusion i have in years. from 2011 i think & Simon Phillips destroys every track. smoking stuff:

worst ? maybe much of the GRP stuff from the early is just so pedestrian & "safe". i dont like it. audio wallpaper.


Platinum Member
Worst? Anything with David Weckl when he was sporting the mullet.
Hey, a lot of great music was made by guys in mullets-- that was part of the fusion uniform for several years. It was called a bi-level then, and it was vaguely "rock & roll." A mullet is actually a degenerate form of that hairstyle.

Anyway, here are a bunch of great ones. I can't decide what's best:
Weather Report -- Night Passage, 8:30, Domino Theory (or take your pick of their 70's albums)
Miles Davis -- Live Evil, Man With The Horn, We Want Miles, Bitches Brew
Pat Metheny -- American Garage, Bright Size Life
Billy Cobham -- Magic, Alivemutherforya, Crosswinds
Gary Burton -- The New Quartet, Good Vibes
Chick Corea -- Leprechaun, Return to Forever, Romantic Warrior, Mad Hatter
John Scofield -- Electric Outlet, Blue Matter
John Abercrombie -- Gateway, Gateway II, Homecoming, Timeless

I haven't spent enough time with the bad records to be able judge the worst. I remember a Larry Coryell record I didn't like. There's no reason to listen to a lot of the more commercial records, particularly the WAVE-oriented stuff of the last couple of decades. Probably Dave Koz best represents the depths to which fusion has sunk.


Too many of both to even think about it. But I really hate smooth jazz.

Pete Stoltman

Silver Member
Lots of good stuff posted and thanks for kicking me in the memory bank. Here's a couple others to consider:

Airto: Free
Gary Burton: The New Quartet
Stan Getz: Captain Marvel


Senior Member
My suggestions may not have alot of distortion, but have great guitarist and drummers...........................some progressive elements as well.

I would second Derek Sherenians Oceana cd w/Simon on drums and Lukather, Bonamasso, Macalpine and Steve Stevens on guitar. Alot of Dereks stuff is great.......sometimes heavy w/Yngwie, Z. Wylde and J. Patrucci on some tracks.

Richie Kotzen-Inner Galactic fusion Experience w/Bissonette on drums.

A band I just discovered Spaced Out-Spaced Out and Evolution. Very Planet X like.

Agah Bahari- Guitarist w/Virgil and Derek Sherinian on keys.........similar to Dereks solo stuff.

Alex Argento-Ego w/Marco Sfogli on guitar (Marco is on Virgils new cd)

Cosmosquad-Cosmosquad and Acid Test

CAB-Theatre De Marrionette w/Virgil

Cosmics-The Cosmic Year w/Virgil.................real spacy vibe

Devils Slingshot-Clinophobia w/Virgil

Glen Drover-Metalusion

Jens Johansson-Heavy Machinery w/Allan Holdsworth and Anders on drums and Jens cd Fission again w/Anders on drums.
Joop Wolters-Speed, Traffic and Guitar Accidents (great of my fav cd's)

Benny Jannson- Flume Ride w/Anders and Jens Johannson from Yngwie Malmsteen

MCM-1900 Hard Times w/John Macaluo on drums.

Relocator- Relocator..............Derek on keys............similar to solo Derek stuff.

Thats it for me.........hope you like something here!!
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Platinum Member
To me fusion is a genre that really has to be experience live, or not at all.

So much of fusion is seeing the interaction of the musicians, watching their faces, and the spontaneity that is often in fusion concerts.

I used to have a bunch of fusion albums back in the cassette tape days, but I can't say I miss them much.

The only one I want to re-buy on CD is Mystical Adventures by Jean-Luc Ponty.