Top Jazz-Fusion Artists

We all know music is highly subjective - we just have to think of our parents, grandparents or even our own children. If music is perceived differently by everyone, how do we then discover who the top artists are? We could try to judge music according to the number of views or likes on youtube, but I think music critics would be dismayed. You could try to rate music by how popular they are in the top charts, but alas, you'll never find any jazz-fusion or other instrumental music there. So, what about trying to judge music according to your own tastes, but in a quantitative way? Perhaps you could use software like iTunes or to keep track of how many times you an artist. If you are a playlist creator you could count how many songs are by a particular artist. If you are serious about your playlists and only keep tracks that you truly enjoy, then you can build a very accurate picture of your musical tastes and come up with your own top 50 artists.

I took my Burning Jazz-rock Fusion playlist on Spotify with over 1000 songs and 600 artists which covers many styles of fusion and sorted the data by the number of songs per artist. The majority of the albums were released between 1995-2015, so it gives you a good overview of artists working in jazz-rock fusion today. I'm pretty happy that the number of songs by a particular artist correlates strongly with my respect for them. Breaking in at number one is the musical behemoth that is Allan Holdsworth, followed by Tribal Tech, Frank Gambale and Greg Howe. As the data is not perfectly clean, one can see that Greg Howe is being counted seperately to Greg Howe, Victor Wooten, Dennis Chambers. In my mind, I would possibly but Greg Howe ahead of Frank Gamable because of the sheer insanity that is Howe's shredding and gobsmackingly complex compositions. Other noteworthy mentions are the impeccable compositional abilities of drummer extraordinare, Simon Phillips, equalled only by Dave Weckl on drums. Both drummers have a phenominal sense of composition, which is a rare gift. There is also a surprising shooting star here, with multi-instrumentalist Antoine Farfard, who has laid down some paradigme changing albums in a very short amount of time. Bassists Bernhard Lackner and Yiorgos Zikoyiannis have also been making waves in my playlist, positioning himself at the top, next to bass virtuosos like Adam Nitti and Bunny Brunel. If you look further, you can really see the importance of bass players in jazz-rock fusion - they are the foundation on which the other musicians stand. As fusion bands tend to be lead by guitarists, it is difficult to carve your own space and make yourself known. You either have to be a guitar wizard from space, or write flawless songs which are intelligent and thoughtful. Steve Khan has achieved the later and come ahead of Shawn Lane, Brett Garsed, and Carl Filipiak - an amazing feat! I think a few guitar players could learn a thing or two from Khan about composition.

So you can see fusion is far from dead. My statistics show that the number of fusion artists I have added to the playlist has been around 40 - 60 per year. I hope the record industry and those artists with their own labels continue to grow, because people like myself are hungry for this kind of music. Even if you are a relatively unknown artist, if I find you, and your music speaks to me, then you can be standing shoulder to shoulder with fusion luminaries like Allan Holdsworth, Scott Henderson and Frank Gambale.

Top 50 Artists by Number of Songs

List of Top 50 Jazz fusion Artists

Top 5 Artists by Number of Plays on

Top 5 Fusion Artists by No of Plays

Number of Fusion Artsits per Year

Number of fusion artists per year