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Genres of Prog

The Birth of Jazz Fusion

The style of Jazz Fusion is officially thought to be born in 1969. Now, however, straight Jazz Rock is meant by the term "fusion", which is incorrect since the original meaning of this word is a "junction", "combination", simply "mix(ture)", after all, in this context of different musical styles. In August of 1969 Miles Davis' album "Bitches Brew" (2LP=2CD) came out, that is regarded as a sample in the Jazz-Rock circles these days. As a matter of fact, Miles Davis (whose real name is continued with such a title "The Third", as if he were a King!) is a real founder of the given direction, but a mixture of Jazz with rock elements can be found also in his earlier works. I personally find it misleading, that this particular album (an excellent one, by the way) was characterized by critics as "the first, that brought together Jazz improvisations with the rhythms of Rock". But, for example, the already known Colosseum has produced as many as two full Jazz-Fusion (but just for once exactly Prog Fusion) albums before "Bithches Brew", and Colosseum's successors and diciples John "Mahavishnu" McLaughlin and Armando "Chick" Corea also had worked at mixing Jazz and Rock also before the "sample" has appeared. Of course, they were then pretty far from real Fusion and where were more elements of pure Jazz, but the presence of Rock is obvious there.

All right, let's admit "Bitches Brew" is a "quintessence", the fullest embodiment of the welding of Jazz and Rock, but I immediately imagine the perfect debut album of Colosseum. And I see there a far more real and robust Prog Fusion, a genuine "mixture" of Art- and Jazz-Rock, whereas in Davis' album Rock is anyhow really felt only in the rhythms. We, the fans of Progressive as such perceive Prog Fusion a way differently, of course, than "true" Jazz-lover.

And I think that with our far wider sight in regard of Progressive Rock (Classic Art Rock, including Symphonic, Prog Metal in its diverse genre manifestations, Jazz Fusion) we "Proggers" are in a more advantageous position, because our horizon is wider and the attitude towards the other Prog styles is more liberal (at least tolerant), than conservative Jazz-mans secluded themselves in their particular genre, and often deny the other forms of "advanced" Rock Music.

Being the quite liberal Progressor, I give below the line up of "Bitches Brew" (I repeat, the album is really fine), though I don't share the official view of it as the "initial point" of Jazz Fusion, as I said above, and I'll try sometime to consider the "variant" of Colosseum. And of course, as I already explained in both sections of "Progressor" server (Russian and English) the three genres form the real Progressive Rock: Art (including Classic, Symphonic, the other manifestations) Rock, Prog (including Doom, Hard, Power, the others), Metal and Jazz (including RIO, Canterbury, the others) Fusion. The works of the latter will surely be considered, which "Progressor" haven't noticed at the other Prog servers on the Net, by the way.

VM (Vitaly Menshikov): October 1998