Mahavishnu Orchestra - Inner Mounting Flame - Meeting of the Spirits. Even if this is not really my favorite track of all time it has to be #1 because this late-night, FM explosion of exposure started the fusion adventure for me and became the standard and bar by which drumming, for me, must be worked towards. M.O. - Birds of Fire - Hope and Resolution get in, too, because when the album sides ended I just kept playing, ascending that incredible musical mountain.
As far as M.O. I must place Eternity's Breath, from Visions of the Emerald Beyond, in here too, because of Walden's bombast of shock and awe and the overall feeling and density of the composition compared to the original M.O. with the vocals and all. I find it all very inspiring.
Billy - Spectrum - Quadrant 4. Have mercy. Give us a break.
Weather Report - Black Market - title track. Defined the band for me, and defined why I love to play drums. Must include Mysterious Traveler - Nubian Sundance, as well. Skip Hadden played drums on the track. Never heard of him, and though he has maintained a career in music as a player, clinician, and educator, he is a virtual unknown.
Return to Forever - Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy, Dayride, Vulcan Worlds, Celebration Suite, Dual of the Jester and Tyrant. Back in that day, when composition seemed to have more meaning in Fusion, the ending of Chick's had horripilation to the extreme for me.
Jean Luc Ponty - From Enigmatic Ocean - Overture, Trans-love Express, Title tracks, Struggle of the Turtle to the Sea. I love Ponty's compositional style. Very inspiring. My first exposure to his band, and Steve Smith, as well, on this recording. Ponty has had a 'who's who' of drummers in his bands which was always a draw for me.
Passport - Cross Collateral - Homunculus. I loved Klaus Doldinger's sense of composition, too, and Curt Cress's drumming was very precise and clean. That track just brings back buckets of memories for me.
Tony Williams Lifetime - Believe It - Fred. Just one of the great fusion tracks ever made.
Jeff Beck - Fusion obviously influenced him, and Blue Wind and Led Boots are two of my all-time favorite tracks.
Brand X - Unorthodox Behavior - Nuclear Burn - Loved BX. Phil Collins could really lay down down some chops and they composed some very interesting stuff.
I thought about all this longer than I should, really. I won't ask you to do the same but, I would be interested to see what influenced you, too, if you have the time.