hi,
who are in your opinion the best fusion pianists?
what do you think of jeff lorber and particularly his latest album he had a hat?
i like it a lot though. cool grooves, nice harmonies and burning solos .
best, a.
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well i'm not sure i think brian culbertson is considered smooth jazz, but i like his stuff....i know i admit to liking some smooth jazz...shhhhh
jeff lorber is not fusion, he is smooth jazz and so is brian culbertson. fusion was chick corea's return to forever, weather report (joe zawinul), jan hammer, etc.
this guy named jez davies is a good fusion player. check him out on myspace.
jeff lorber is condsidered by most contrary to what is said by jazz + to be a funk player.  a pioneer in the field at that and a top rated original funk artist and has always been a top call new york studio funk keyboardist.
i've heard lorber doing some smooth stuff, but i've mostly heard him doing funky stuff.  he's got some grooves that make the hairs on my arm stand up.  another guy, and he's definitely gone smooth for the last decade or however long, is david benoit.  check out his early early stuff for some great music.  not that his current stuff is bad, it's just not my style, though some of the compositions are nice.

deodado is another interesting keyboardist. hope i spelled his name right.  he is really polished, though, and his playing shows it. sometimes you can be too perfect and lose the soul...
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oh yeh deodato had some great tunes to play back in the funk/ fusion days like  "jivin" and "super strut"  but i always thought deodato was a conga player and band leader although he did tend to  have great fender rhodes players on all his recordings.  maybe i am wrong ... did he play both?
he might play conga, but i've always known him as a funk master on the keyboard.  here he's playing that theme to 2001:

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i vote for russell ferrante from the yellowjackets.
yep. i'll second that! he's a keyboardist with a truly original approach - not just tired old blues/funk cliches which seem to crop up so often in 'fusion' music.

but i hate these terms! why do players have to be labelled 'fusion', or 'funk' or 'smooth', or 'jazz' for that matter? all these styles of music overlap in any case. that is the true meaning of the word fusion - a mixing of styles. instead of which it has come to denote a particular brand of (often tasteless) electric improvised music with a 'straight eight' beat.

fuson in the true sense of the term has been happening ever since people like ray charles and ramsey lewis started mixing gospel, country, jazz, blues, r'n'b and pop. it usually confuses critics and purists. unfortunately a lot of jazz musicians are the worst kind of purist!...
yeh but it is still useful to know that there was a period of time somewhere in the late seventies when you could go to a concert and find the mahavishnu orchrestra opening for chick corea and the return to forever who was opening for weather report (who happened to have a top 40 hit called birdland).  this was was a legitiment time period for music like bebop or swing.  fusion was what was happening in jazz at this time.  it ended much to soon in my opinion.  i miss it. it was pretty exciting.  i think it was the final straw in why i started studying music... i mean i was listening to coltrane and miles and loved it but then the fusion stuff... i just had to figure out what that stuff was all about...
which brings us to... the ultimate fusion pianist of all time if we are to use that label.... joe zawinul.  hands down. hands up.  hands anywhere.
yep, i'll have to second that... joe sample is pretty close in my book as well.
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what we are talking about here is the core of this art that we love and that is improvisation.
amen to joe z and joe s.  they are tops in originality, and creativity.
but remember, zawinul played with miles in the sixties.
one could even argue that miles had a fusion period in the early eighties.
herbie hancock from the "headhunter" period......
yep joe sample and all that crusaders stuff.  then again that is almost a whole type of music all to itself.
joe zawinul also played some really hip swinging stuff with cannonball adderley before joining miles. i loved weather report when they first started, but jz seemed to lose interest in the piano and turned himself into a synth player, at which he admittedly was king...

however i never really understood why he would want to turn his back on the piano in that way. i read an interview in the 1980s in which he said  "the piano is dead" and he had no further interest in playing it... but maybe he was being deliberately controversial!
or perhaps he just found an acoustic piano couldn't compete at the sort of volume wr used to play at. wayne shorter maybe went through a similar thing, as he experimented with an electric saxophone or something around that time...
in my way i can relate to what zawinul said.  i had a group called chico's paradise and there's no way i could have done that music the way i wanted with a piano, i need two keyboards to get the sounds i was looking for.

bending notes, getting funky wah-wah sounds and chic corea style leads, looping, the piano isn't made for things like that.  the music still sounds cool when played on a piano, but at the time i wanted the electric sound.

of course i didn't give up the piano any more than chic corea gave up the piano when he was doing return to forever and all that stuff.

you listen to zaniwul's current stuff and you can see where he's taken the electric setup. it's a hip sound, still funky as ever, and full of all sorts of interest.  

it would be interesting to see him play a piano now after using keyboards and electronics for so long, though.  i also bet that he's played a piano since he made that statement, it would be hard to go through life as a keyboardist not even touching a piano every once in a while, perhaps through sheer convenience at times.
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i agree, of course you can't do all that stuff on piano. please don't get me wrong, i don't dislike electric keyboards, and i do appreciate the innovations zawinul made with electronic sounds.  

it's just that i find it hard to believe he really thinks the piano is a 'dead' instrument. as you say, chick, herbie and many others use electric keyboards extensively, but still come back to playing piano on a regular basis.

i don't think the piano will ever die! there's something beautiful about the sound, touch and resonance of  the acoustic piano that will never be replaced by an amplified keyboard, imho.
zawinul is a great piano player.  somewhere on u tube.  there is a
video of him doing a piano duet with hancock that would prove to u
all regardless of what he might of said he never stoped playing
the pianoforte.
the nuances of an acoustic piano are hard to replicate electronically.
there are just too many variables, and too many pianos!
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