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Differences between the old and the new Fusion?

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Well Kenny is also saying "take a look around" as well, Asaph.
There's a lot of wonderful music that will be missed via depending
on the radio. GET OUT and " take a look around" (and a listen of
course).

My wife and I went to see Snarky Puppy last evening.
What an incredible group of 8 young players! Should you ever
get the opportunity to see and hear them in action, don't miss
it!

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I never get out anymore. Too busy and too tired. Here I am in Denton, TX and there is music all over the place because of UNT and I haven't seen anything. The jazz festival got swamped with rain. I wanted to check that out. Maybe next year.

I had heard a lot about snarky puppy. I watched some youtube videos of them. They certainly are a definition of "fusion." They mix so much stuff together. Sput Searight is a really cool drummer.

View user profile http://drumsinhisheart.weebly.com
There ya go, man.... You gotta get out there and see.
I can't begin to describe Snarky Puppy.... Very tight and
uniform The percussion/drummer team are the best I've
seen ever! They do some amazing things together through-
out the music and without stepping on one each other's toes.

The sax player looks like he was pulled straight out of the sitcom
"The big bang theory but this kid played his behind off as did the
trumpet player. The band consisted of 2 keys, bass, drums, guitar,
percussion... One of the keyboard players would also sub as a third
horn player, either trumpet of trombone. These kids were slammin!

They performed some really tricky tunes with several time signature
changes within some of the melodic phrases and somehow was able
to make this groove quite solidly. Young, young players. We really
enjoyed the show.

Robert Sput Searight was amazing to watch. He knows all the little
effects tricks an acoustic set of drums, from the conga finger slide,
getting the echo effect from side sticking to getting the backwards
hihat sound by pulling the stick along the edge of the hats and
suddenly closing them... Great stuff!

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The first videos I saw of snarky, maybe a month or two ago, I didn't care for. Seemed kind of spastic to me. I hopped around looking at things. I was impressed with Searight, though. I could see they were all top notch musicians, some of them from UNT, which made sense when I found that out, and they are a collective of studio and performing musicians.

Today I watched some of a concert with an orchestra in a very interesting venue the way it was all set up. Snarky Puppy is an apt name, really. One minute it's all soft and cuddly and the next it's barking like mad and tearing the shoes up. I haven't quite gotten a handle on them yet.

I'll tell you this. Given the current music scene, all things considered, for these guys to win a Grammy and sell out big shows is hopeful for instrumental music and fusion in particular.

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30 My thoughts for what it's worth hea. on Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:42 pm

For me the biggest difference in the fusion of yesterday
and today is the rawness is pretty much gone from today's
fusion music.
D
__________________________________

Asaph has some very good pointers in distinctions between the two evolutionary fusions. But I would have to agree with you on this one D. It's that rawness which I feel comes due to not having the enhancements of audio technology. Rawness also brings to mind the late-great Tony Williams as one of many. Again, raw, brutish yet skillfully wonderful - the stuff that's heard, felt in live concerts such as the VSOP, Tony Williams Lifetime. It's really an experiential quality that new generations are not accustom to or may not have had the opportunity of hearing or learning to appreciate. It's out of their vocabulary musically and that's understandable. That's why I feel this forum, for years, has preserved these thoughts for discussion yet having our peripheral vision , seeing the new.

In closing, the rawness, in my opinion, was the technical at the time which was totally independent of any audio enhancements. It was not till entering the 1980s' did the popularity of electronic drums made the markets. But even then one was restricted to basic beats used for sound effects and a fatter disco sound. There could have been more use for it but I think that was the fundamental jest of the dawn of electronic enhancement.

My take,

Rac

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Good points, Rac.  As I see it the music has gotten more
refined along with the technology.  I can't say for sure
that it was because of the technology but I do believe
that each hand scratches the back of the other.  Music
written and played the way it was back then wouldn't
hold that much water today in my estimation.

I try to imagine M.O. first coming on the scene here in
2015.  My guess would be that they would get some
raised eyebrows and would not be as readily accepted.  

Consider what these SAME players are doing today.  
NONE of which sounds like what they were doing back
then....  Remember, We're talking about the pioneers
here!  What has prompted them to change?!  I'm talking
about the change in the face of fusion and not that of
their choices in other music genres.

Study the history of Billy's music over the decades.
you will find that each decade of his compositions
had it's own direction.  The 70's were the raw, free
spirited, developmental, formative years.  The 80's
seemed to be the finding himself years.  The use of
drum electronics and those 80's keyboard patches that
gave the 1980's it's very distinctive sound.  The 90's
were very solid compositionally speaking while getting
back to the musical root of the matter (back to basics).  
And now here we are in the 2000's with him just doing
what he wants to do.  

There are many different things going on these days:  
Snarky Puppy, Dirty Loops, Billy and the like, that fusion
doesn't seem to be as "era" specific  as it once was.
Perhaps that's one of the things some of us miss so much.

Time changes things, time refines.  You can hear this
within the technology as well as compositional structure
that just seems to be the order of things.  I personally am
relieved to be able to say that I enjoy much of the things
that are happening today.

For me, yesterday wasn't so much better as it was, well,
NEW!  scratch  Just some thoughts.

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It seems impossible to take MO and Co. out of the 70s. Take away Miles first. That takes away all the fusion to come. If fusion did not see the light of day then I believe if something launched it now it would propel music in different directions as it did then, as well as propel musicians as it did then. One might even say if intelligent music (fusion and prog, along with Bob Moog's influence) never saw light of day then, Punk would have never risen as a rebellion to it.

The very reason packed houses turn out today to see the pioneers is reason for me to believe if it came out fresh today it would be just as well received as it was then.

I guess I'm not getting the "raw" concept being mentioned. I believe Ponty, Passport and others were anything but raw. The sound was tight and open and free. Weather Report was not raw, save for some of Shorter's work, which was like that before and after WR. Seventh Galaxy was "raw" because of Conners, yet the songs were some of Chick's best writing. Romantic Warrior being "raw" seems an oxymoron. I always thought MO was raw sounding because of McLaughlin. But the talent and sophistication displayed in odd times and all was astonishing for any era. Birds of Fire was highly compressed. Very dense sounding. Inner Mounting Flame, yeah, that recording is 'raw,' but I don't see the others as raw at all. Wild, maybe, when I hear the live album.

Tony's original Lifetime ... I can't even listen to that recording. Everything is raw about it by any definition. But when I hear 'Fred' from the next Lifetime, I don't hear raw. Red Alert, yeah. Rock music. And Holdsworth has a signature sound which could be called raw, overall. He still plays that way.

Maybe I am just not understanding how "raw" is being used to define the genre back then.

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If fusion did not see the light of day then I believe if something launched it now it would propel music in different directions as it did then, as well as propel musicians as it did then.

Agreed. The only difference would be that today it
would not have been played or sounded the way it
did back then.

I guess I'm not getting the "raw" concept being mentioned. I believe Ponty, Passport and others were anything but raw. The sound was tight and open and free.

Again, I agree and that is precisely what I mean by "raw".
The open free sound... Listen to Billy's Fibes back then
and listen to his drums today. Kinda hate to say it but
there's not a whole lot of diversity in the different drum
sound today.

When Billy played those Fibes or those Rogers
drums back in the day you KNEW it was Billy not only
through his style and approach but the sound. Same
with Lenny White there were distinct, no nonsense
audibles that were a part of these artists signatures...
Same thing with Tony and Alponse Mouzon... And I
have to even mention Steve Gadd here though his sound
was much less aggressive than the fore-mentioned. You
just knew or had a strong Idea who the author player was
because of this.

Today outside of the style you wouldn't know who was
playing. Technology has all these kits sounding the same.
Pretty nice round tones with no real distinction from one
drum set to the other. Also they would bowl you over with
a sharp presence and attack that would just about cut your
throat. That's how it was back then and not just with
drummers but the other instruments as well. Electric music
was electric absolutely, no ifs ands or buts!

Remember, I'm not just talking about what and how these
compositions were played but also how they were produced
and recorded. They weren't using oil based, dampened, drum
heads then. The hot thing then were those ugly, raucous
Black and silver dot Remos, Unrefined by today's standards
and they worked back then.

This is what I mean when I use the term "raw" in regard to
this subject.

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Here's what hit me this morning as I listened while working. Something dawned on me. This may make my point more distinctive and understood.

Back then "Fusion" had the precursor of jazz, whether Miles, Dreams, Blood, Sweat and Tears, CTA, Lighthouse, Etc. Fusion was jazz-rock and in a very real sense rock-jazz. Despite the modes the solos took and all the minor  keys, the compositions had, despite their sophistication, a compatibility with the ear which came from everyman's rock music. It could be mixed with Chick's Latin roots, McLaughlin's eastern religious leanings, or Weather Report's world influences and still hit the regular person's ears with an affinity straight jazz cannot garner. All the bands had definitive sound and it was the rock influence that made it what it was, to the chagrin of straight jazzers. It had major keys in compositions, or at least real song structures that hooked a generation.

Now, based on the new stuff I heard this morning, it seems "fusion" is more jazz in the rock. The compositions are more heavily into jazz modes. I don't understand what I am listening to like I did back then. I never understood McLaughlin. But I understood Hammer. I understood DiMeola. I understood the melodies of Ponty and a host of others.

Today, I do not understand the music. Like McLaughlin I never understood Holdsworth. Their experimentation with different modes has always been past my ears. But I could understand the music apart from the solos. The music I hear today is just composed in modes I can't get into. More complicated, too, or, as I've said, just riffs as platforms for soloing. No real song structure. I can hear the rhythms of the drummers but, the compositions are too out there for me, or there's no real compositions at all. The modes are jazz, the feel is more straight jazz. That, to me, is the big difference.

Every week I hear some new things; Greg Howe, Nels Cline, others I forget the names. It has that everyman's sound to it, more rock than jazz? But, so much is over my head musically, with most of this newer stuff, and yes, D, without question, one can hear the influence of producers who have made every genre meaningless for individuality and a band sound, and reduced instruments to generic sounds. I constantly walk to the radio to see what I am listening to, and often the names are top tier players and I say to myself, "Huh? That's ___? I would never have known if I didn't see the names."

View user profile http://drumsinhisheart.weebly.com
There are many different things going on these days:
Snarky Puppy, Dirty Loops, Billy and the like, that fusion
doesn't seem to be as "era" specific as it once was.
Perhaps that's one of the things some of us miss so much.
D
____________________________________

Yeah, good points regarding so many factors over time that changed the direction of fusion and how it evolved into something other than.

View user profile http://www.glennracoma.com
Yes Fusion : Jazz-Rock merged


Its like in 1976
Crusaders used Larry Carlton  with more Rock Style Lead Guitar

Miles Davis
could do the best Fusion
as he would have 2 Drummers
3 Keyboardists
3 Guitarists

and
a Tabla player


There is a Very Rare  Roland Bautista   LP  (abc records)
1979  has a great Fusion track  "Heat Of The Wind"
featuring Lead Bass  by Nat' Phillips
Fender Rhodes - Bobby Lyle
Steve Gutierrez - Drums
and Roland  on a Early Roland Guitar Synthe  and Electric Guitar





Also in 1976  Harvey Mason did a LP  (Funk /soul)
and did one Special Fusion track  "No Mans Land"
3 musicians  only
Harvey  - Rogers Drums  & solo
Anthony Jackson   - Electric Bass
Jan Hammer - Moog &  solo


___________________________

Outtasight
Colin.

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Let's also keep in mind Allen Holdsworth of the Tony Williams Lifetime - to name a few. I recall an interview where Holdsworth described himself as being tagged as a jazz guitarist, which was an immature description on part of the existing media at the time (1970s'). He went on saying that he felt stuck between rock and jazz, but leaned more towards jazz-fusion which better described his position as an accomplished musician. This was a typical critique to the ignorance of media to the developing evolution where jazz integrated into rock. As D mentioned so eloquently how time and complicated variables, technology being one, played into the actual dissipation of what was known as raw, authentic jazz-fusion - or what one once referred to as the Sherman Tank of the dawning of 20th century musical explorations. But I see it going no other way but giving the existing generation who shows no interest in fusion nor even cared as to it's contribution to the mainline music industry as a whole. It's no longer about an artform but rather the bottom line whose color is paper green.

Rac's take.



Last edited by Racman on Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:51 pm; edited 3 times in total

View user profile http://www.glennracoma.com
Racman wrote:Let's also keep in mind Allen Holdsworth of the Tony Williams Lifetime - to name a few. I recall an interview where Holdsworth described himself as being tagged as a jazz guitarist, which was an immature description on part of the existing media at the time (1970s'). He went on saying that he felt stuck between rock and jazz, but leaned more towards jazz-fusion which better described his position as an accomplished musician. This was a typical critique to the ignorance of media to the developing evolution where jazz integrated into rock. As D mentioned so eloquently how time and complicated variables, technology being one, played into the actual dissipation of what was known as raw, authentic jazz-fusion - or what one once referred to as the Sherwin Tank of the dawning of 20th century musical explorations.

Rac


Yes Great Recordings
2 CD's

________________________________

Outtasight
Colin.

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