The 60s were, among other things, an era of musical exploration and discovery. Rock, pop, soul and even jazz all went through a period of transformation as the age of electronic instruments began to take hold and new sounds, unlike anything that had come before, began to surge in pop culture.
The latter, jazz, slowly evolved into the genre known as jazz fusion. The classic improvisational style has been combined with other genres such as rock, latin, funk, and blues, among others. The result is music that is truly unique in its complexity and sound. In appreciation of this genre, which developed from the late 60s and the same era that saw a huge boom in the popularity of cannabis, enjoy this suggested collection of wonderful jazz fusion albums to listen to during that you are stoned.
Strain Matching Recommendation: Acapulco Gold
There are only four songs on the album Headhunters, but make no mistake, there are over 40 minutes of gloriously funky beats to get lost in. Released in 1973, the first song, “Chameleon,” is perhaps one of Hancock’s most famous. This comes as no surprise as the 15-minute track features a powerful and gripping bassline that sets the stage for a whirlwind of funk and complexity. What follows is an album that compels the listener to dive ever deeper into a wild cacophony of madness and brilliance. The album closes with the aptly named “Vein Melter,” which slows things down with a sound that’s both a melodious lullaby and a complex wordless tale.
Strain Matching Recommendation: maui wowie
Released in 1976, this seven-track album is a collaboration of eight musicians, including pianist Joe Zawinul; saxophonist Wayne Shorter; and bassist Jaco Pastorius, who features on two tracks. A fundamental jazz fusion album, Black market features a range of musical influences and draws heavily on African sounds. The album is often described as a “global fusion”. From the title track, “Black Market”, to the finale “Herandu”, the album takes the listener through a range of emotions, sensations and complex melodies that give the impression of having visited a world of spaces.
Strain Matching Recommendation: Blue Dream
Moving away from instrumental albums leads us to Inner visions and Wonder’s effortlessly smooth vocals paired with personal, politically impactful lyrics. One of the most notable aspects of the album is that Wonder recorded it almost alone, playing all the instruments on the majority of the nine tracks. Lyrical themes include classics like love and hard-hitting topics like systematic racism, drug addiction, and even American politics. The tracks fluctuate in the sound of funk, ballads, soul and rock, while weaving together classic jazz sounds. The album is both engaging, entertaining and thought-provoking, offering insight into the mind of one of the greats.
Strain Matching Recommendation: Northern Lights
Released exactly 10 years after his acclaimed jazz album, a little blueDavis presented to the world In a silent way, a brilliant mix of spatial, ambient and rich jazz fusion. The album marks the beginning of Davis’ journey into the “electric” and “fusion” worlds, moving away from the more classic jazz records he had produced before. Recorded in a single session, the album gently draws the listener into imaginative and compelling soundscapes. Best paired with a creative spirit and sweet variety, In a silent way will gladly paint pictures in the minds of those who want to see.
5. thrust by Herbie Hancock
Strain Matching Recommendation: Durban Poison
With the circle complete, we revisit Hancock to explore his album thrustreleased in 1974. The album followed Headhunters and received similar praise. Once again, Hancock proves he doesn’t need more than four tracks to deliver nearly 40 minutes of immersive jazz-funk. Addictive bass lines and a superior mix of electric instruments prepare a recipe for four tracks of tantalizing, funky, spatial sound and a truly immersive musical experience. This album can be heard, felt and almost tasted as it unfolds in perfect harmony. The heavy funk influences will make it hard not to groove and move while you listen.
The world of jazz fusion offers a plethora of sounds and experiences exploring the many ways jazz can complement and invigorate other genres such as rock, funk, soul, and more. I can’t think of a more immersive genre to explore hand-in-hand with the musically amplifying power of cannabis. Put on some music and enter a world, a story and an experience.