The Best Jazz Fusion Bands/Artists

Over 2.7K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Jazz Fusion Bands/Artists
Voting Rules
Jazz fusion bands and artists only.

This list features the best jazz fusion artists and groups of all time, ranked by fans worldwide. Rising to prominence during the 1970s, jazz fusion is the most inventive and experimental subgenre of jazz that blends together elements of R&B, funk, classical music, and even psychedelic music. although it tapered off in the 2000s, both the 1980s and parts of the 1990s saw big jazz fusion musicians experiment with their sound, producing a wide variety of diverse styles that allowed jazz fusion bands to create music on their own terms.

So, who are the best jazz fusion artists? Any list of jazz fusion musicians has to include the names Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, the Pat Metheny Group, and even the ubiquitous Frank Zappa (who dabbled in jazz fusion as well as rock). These legends are famously known as some of the top jazz fusion artists who redefined the genre and brought jazz to the forefront of American music culture.

That said, it's up to you to determine who from this list are considered the best in jazz fusion. Such musicians are a tough breed to judge, but if you understand their musicality, then voting should be a piece of cake. 

This list answers the questions "who are the best jazz fusion bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest jazz fusion musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the artists' music (albums and songs) instead of just voting for the most popular jazz fusion singers and instrumentalists.

Most divisive: Greg Howe
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  • The Mahavishnu Orchestra

    The Mahavishnu Orchestra

    459 votes

    Under the visionary guidance of guitarist John McLaughlin, The Mahavishnu Orchestra forged a new path in the world of jazz fusion by blending elements of rock, Indian classical music, and Western classical influences. With their groundbreaking album, The Inner Mounting Flame, this genre-defying group set the standard for future generations of musicians. Their complex rhythms, virtuosic solos, and electrifying performances captivated audiences and solidified their place as true pioneers within the fusion realm.

  • Few bands can claim as significant an impact on jazz fusion as Return to Forever, led by the incomparable Chick Corea. This constantly evolving ensemble pushed the boundaries of jazz by incorporating electronic instruments, Latin percussion, and prog-rock influences into their innovative sound. Notable albums like Romantic Warrior showcase the group's ability to create intricate compositions that maintain a strong emotional connection, proving that technique and soul are not mutually exclusive.

  • Herbie Hancock

    An undisputed master of the keyboard, Herbie Hancock revolutionized jazz fusion by fearlessly exploring synth-driven sounds and funk grooves. From his esteemed work with the Miles Davis Quintet to his innovative solo material, Hancock consistently broke new ground with his adventurous compositions, dazzling technique, and artistic versatility. Albums like Head Hunters and Thrust remain benchmarks of the genre, cementing Hancock's reputation as a true icon of jazz fusion.

  • Chick Corea
    399 votes

    As both a founding member of Return to Forever and a prolific solo artist, Chick Corea's influence on jazz fusion is immeasurable. With his remarkable piano and synthesizer skills, Corea crafted a unique musical vocabulary that seamlessly blended jazz, Latin, and classical styles. His diverse output, including the revered album Light as a Feather, exemplifies his enduring commitment to experimentation and genre transcendence.

  • Miles Davis
    575 votes

    No discussion of jazz fusion would be complete without mentioning the trailblazing contributions of Miles Davis. By embracing electric instrumentation and rock-inspired grooves on albums such as Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way, Davis forever changed the landscape of jazz. His bold, forward-thinking approach not only paved the way for countless fusion artists but also solidified his legacy as one of the most innovative musicians in history.

  • Weather Report

    Founded by keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Weather Report quickly emerged as one of the most influential acts in jazz fusion. Known for their sophisticated compositions and pioneering use of electronic instruments, the band created a distinctive sound that defied categorization. With standout releases like Heavy Weather and Black Market, Weather Report continually pushed the envelope, inspiring generations of musicians with their originality and daring spirit.