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Andy’s Albums: jazz fusion

Andy%E2%80%99s+Albums+is+a+blog+dedicated+to+helping+people+explore+new+genres+of+music.+This+month%2C+I+will+be+covering+jazz+fusion%3A+the+subgenre+that+has+recently+taken+over+the+United+States.%0A
Andrew Higgins
Andy’s Albums is a blog dedicated to helping people explore new genres of music. This month, I will be covering jazz fusion: the subgenre that has recently taken over the United States.

Welcome to Andy’s Albums, a blog series where I introduce a subgenre of music and give five albums to get started. This month, I will be covering jazz fusion: the subgenre that has recently taken over the United States.

Jazz fusion is a more common form of jazz that combines techniques of traditional jazz and rock or pop. Jazz fusion has been taking Generation Z by storm with new artists such as Laufey, or rediscovering older artists such as Masayoshi Takanaka. A lot of jazz fusion that the United States is just discovering has had a chokehold on Japanese culture since the 1970s. New or old, these simplified forms of a complicated genre make it easier to get into and a lot more diverse compared to other genres. 

If you already enjoy jazz or if jazz fusion sounds interesting to you, here are five albums that are good for beginners or people exploring new music.

 

“SEYCHELLES” — Masayoshi Takanaka

 

This album is the cure-all for jazz. Skilled guitarist Masayoshi Takanaka released his first solo album after leaving several projects for “SEYCHELLES.” Takanaka had a delayed effect in the United States until people on social media started spreading his debut song off the album, “Oh! Tengo Suerte.” This album is a good starter for any kind of jazz and I recommend this one the most. Out of any album I’ve ever listened to, “SEYCHELLES” has stood the test of time, being relevant for 47 years since its release in 1976.

My must-listen to songs are “Oh! Tengo Suerte,” “トーキョー レギー” and “TROPIC BIRDS.”

 

“Bewitched” — Laufey

This might be unexpected, but jazz fusion also includes the concept of jazz-pop. Laufey’s best album deserves a spot on the list because of its recent relevance. Inspired by more traditional jazz, Laufey takes on classical music and makes it more appealing to the taste of younger audiences. Despite only being a year old, some of the songs on this album feel timeless. 

“Bewitched” broke the record as the biggest debut for a jazz album on Spotify, and Laufey earned her first Grammy with it for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. Laufey also announced a tour for this album and a good chunk of her shows sold out almost instantly; the tour comes to Dallas on April 17-18.

I recommend the classic “From The Start,” as well as “Promise” and “Must Be Love.”

 

“CASIOPEA” — CASIOPEA

CASIOPEA is a more traditional take on jazz fusion, but it still applies to the subgenre. CASIOPEA released this debut album in 1979, and they’ve been at the top of the jazz fusion scene ever since. The band has interesting takes on their form. The conductivity between bassist Yishihiro Naruse and drummer Yoshiyori Imai is unmatched. The use of a background symphony for instruments like saxophone and trumpet makes some songs sound like something straight out of “Whiplash.” If you already listen to jazz, this band will be your best fit.

My recommendations from this one are “タイム・リミット,” “ドリーム・ヒル,” and “ティアーズ・オブ・ザ・スター.”

 

“MINT JAMS” – CASIOPEA

This album was my introduction to jazz fusion and it is always one that I will always push for. In this album, the use of the keyboard is more prominent and the switch-off with guitar blends well with what’s going on in the background. The version of this album on Spotify was recorded live at Chuo Kaikan Hall in Tokyo, and the fact that all members of the band can pull this off in one take is absolutely astounding. If you’re more of a keyboard, guitar or synth fan, then I would listen to “MINT JAMS” before anything else.

My playlist adds are “ブラック・ジョーク,” “ティアーズ・オブ・ザ・スター,” and “スペース・ロード.”

 

“midnight cruisin’” – Kingo Hamada

Kingo Hamada’s take on jazz incorporates more of city pop, which was also a popular movement during the late 1900s in Japan. “midnight crusin’” also uses a lot of instrumentals, which is unique considering Hamada includes his own vocals on the album. Usually, vocals aren’t used for this type of music, but Hamada’s voice is so unreal it’s a must-have on these tracks. 

I love to listen to “midnight crusin’,’” “抱かれに来た女,” and “横顔のタクシー・ドライバー.”

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About the Contributor
Andrew Higgins
Andrew Higgins, Reporter
Junior Andrew Higgins is a reporter and this is his first year at staff. He spends his free time learning the bass, hanging out with his friends and meeting new people.

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    KING PENSONMay 11, 2024 at 6:43 PM

    Kinga Glyk has a new album under the Fusion genre. It was nice to hear and see (YouTube Concert) the synth lead/solo make a comeback.

    Reply