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Jazz fusion music is usually performed only with instruments, without singing. Jazz fusion music songs are often longer than pop music songs. A jazz fusion song could be five or even ten minutes long. A pop song is usually only three minutes long or less.
As well, jazz fusion songs have long solos (melodies) played by instruments, Frank Zappa, for example, had long guitar solos in his music, which was of the jazz fusion genre. During a solo, one instrument plays a melody. In jazz fusion, solos are improvised ("made up") during a performance.
Jazz fusion music does not get played on the radio much in the United States or Canada. Radio stations in Europe play more jazz fusion recordings.
History[change | edit source]
Late 1960s[change | edit source]
Jazz fusion began in the late 1960s in the United States. In the late 1960s jazz musicians such as Miles Davis and a band called The Tony Williams Lifetime began using electric instruments such as electric bass and electric piano in their jazz music. As well, jazz musicians began using rhythms or beats from soul music, rhythm and blues music, and rock music in their jazz music. Two important jazz fusion albums are In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew.
1970s[change | edit source]
In the 1970s, more people began playing jazz fusion. As well, more people began listening to jazz fusion and going to jazz fusion concerts. In the 1970s, jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Jan Hammer and Chick Corea began using electronic synthesizers in their songs.
1980s[change | edit source]
In the early 1980s, a new style of jazz fusion called "pop fusion" began being played. This new style of pop fusion was softer and slower than fusion from the early 1970s. Pop fusion was played a lot more on the radio than the fusion from the early 1970s. Pop fusion musicians include Lee Ritenour, Al Jarreau, Kenny G, Bob James and David Sanborn. Steve Vai was an icon of Jazz fusion in the 1980's and played extensive guitar based jazz fusion instrumentals.