Between Takes: Jazz Fusion Reaches New Heights

In Episode 020 of Between Takes, record producer McKinley Jackson discusses working on jazz fusion albums.

Welcome to Between Takes; where artists and musicians tell stories about what happens behind the scenes.

WDET’s Sam Beaubien has been dedicated to making music in Detroit for 20 years, and this series connects you with the stories he has heard on gigs and at recording sessions.

Get a look into Stevie Wonders audition for Motown Records, sessions with funk master George Clinton, renowned hip-hop producer J Dilla’s first days with a drum machine, and many more stories about what shaped the legacy of this musical city. 

Episode 019

By the late 1960s, jazz record sales began to decline. With the development of funk, soul, psychedelic, and rock music, the younger generation of listeners were rebelling against the music their parents listened to.

Jazz musicians and record labels were trying to find new ways to market to this younger audience. When Miles Davis released his 1969 album “Bitches Brew,” it paved the way for a new direction in music, called “jazz fusion.” Blending elements of jazz with the new trends in music, Davis was able to reach a new audience. Other jazz musicians followed suit and began releasing albums that included influences from funk, rock, dance, and experimental music. Two musicians who were very successful in doing this are vibraphonist Roy Ayers and drummer Norman Connors.

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  • Sam Beaubien
    Sam Beaubien is a musician, composer, producer, and educator in Detroit. He is also the founder and leader of the acclaimed ensemble, Will Sessions.