Fusion - Any Recommendations?

I really love this Italian 70's progressive group called AREA that are more like avant-garde fusion than anything else. Who knows a little about fusion and can recommend some classic must-haves?
If your talking Jazz fusion..I would suggest any and all of the "Fourplay" cds...Great group........
Billy Cobham -'Spectrum" 1972
"Crosswinds" 1974
Gong -"Shamal"
I'll second Billy Cobham - all of his
Also some of my favorites:
- Jan Hammer - "First Seven Days"
- Brand X (Their first, all of them)
- Jack Lancaster/Robin Lumley - "Marscape"
- Steve Kahn - "Casa Loco"
- Tunnels (descended from Brand X) - "Painted Rock", "Progressivity"
- Return to Forever - Romantic Warrior
- Stanley Clark - "Stanley Clark", "If this Bass Could Talk"
Herbie Hancock.
George Duke,
John McLaughlin,
Chick corea
Joe Zawinal
Weather Report
Jason miles
Mike Stern
Michel Camillo
Kenny Garrett
These are not "smooth Jazz" artists,so your best bet is Itunes for samples.
Weatehr Report
Jeff Lorber Fusion
Stanley Clark
Al Dimeola
Mike Stern
For those recommending groups/artists in general, can you give specific albums too as good starters? Thanks, and thanks for those who are responding...
the yellow jackets
Try a group called CALDERA. If you have a turntable their offerings on Vinyl can be had for a song. Their second album "Sky Island" is a good place to start.
anything by larry coryell on vanguard
i am a fusion expert. weather report is great. they are the founders--almost--however, a band from germany--PASSPORT--led by doldinger are the founders...they have over 20 albums out...seek out the title 'hand-made'. can't go wrong. they started a year before weather report.
Rothmanbrad - as a fusion expert, care to give me a top 10 or so list of essentials? Would be mucho appreciated.
chick koreas light as a feather,bought airto and flora purim to a whole new level,caldera is carlos santanas brothers out fit,(cool suggestion qdrone).Yellow jackets first and samuri samba best!larrys barefoot boy!amen to george dukes dont let go!john scofeild with g duke cool too!
Brecker bros,john scofeild,george duke,santanas welcome,caravanseri.Mike sembellos solo albums,victor baily,marcus miller.steps ahead.Mike mainieri(bullet train)!
a top 10 list:

passport: hand-made or infinity machine or cross-collateral (3 classics of their 20 plus albums)

weather report: sweetnighter or i sing the body electric (out there)

miles davis: in a silent way (it qualifies);honorable mention-hall of fame

friendship: that is the album & group name--great!--a top line-up together for this one album--has ernie watts on sax, played with the stones, it's a winner.

the section: fork it over: a rare fusion album by the band that backs jackson brown & james taylor...it's great (they put out two studio albums and one live one; fork it over is the best of the bunch)

too much thinking...enjoy...brad
I don't think anyone really read about area. Everyone is just recommending random jazz-fusion bands. Everything I've read about them so far has compared them to Soft Machine with highly left-wing Socialist and Communist lyrics which is about the furthest thing from Fourplay and The Yellow Jackets that I can possibly think of.
best italian fusion group--you are right-they have their own flavor--check out 'Goblin'
I second Klaus Doldinger and Passport. Every thing they have done is exceptional,I have them all on Vinyl. Iguacu,Earthborn,Ataraxia are some of my favorites. I prefer his recordings that were in the middle of their catalog. I would reccommend Earthborn because on this album klaus finaly lets his sax back into the front of the music where the moog had seemed to replace his chops in previous records of this period.
synthfreek - it's ok that people are just listing random jazz fusion bands - that's what i was looking for. i wouldn't expect anyone else to be like Area. they're pretty unique. the fact that they have high left-win socialist and/or communist lyrics means almost nothing to me anyway since they sing in Italian, but it sure SOUNDS cool...
If you dig the avant tendencies of Area, alot of the recommendations so far will seem pretty milktoast and pedestrian. If you want high quality mind altering rock influenced instrumental (or mostly instrumental music) that can gobble up alot of brain cells, there's moutains of it available. You may want to dig through some old Agon music threads for some artist lists... here's quick grab of 10 narcotic favorites to help scratch the surface, (not ranking any of em' ... lots of stuff not mentioned is also real spiff):
Tipographica (1st)
Fermata (1st two are usually on one disc)
Univers Zero (Hard Quest)
Ruins (Burning Stone or Hyderomastgroningem)
Massacre (Killing Time, other three are great too)
Lucas Niggli Zoom (Spawn Of Speed)
Sonny Sharrock (Seize The Rainbow)
ADD Trio (Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat)
Dr. Nerve (Skin)
Hamster Theatre (Mr. Personality/Quasi Day Room)

If you wanted to stay w/ Italy Check out:
Arti + Mestieri (1st two)
Banco (early stuff)
Balletto di Bronzo (YS)
Bella Band
Deus ex Machina
Garybaldi (Astrolabio)
Il Volo (Essre Non Essre)
New Trolls (UT)
Nova (1st three)
Perigeo (early stuff)
PFM (early stuff),
Zu (How To Raise An Ox).
Also check out Wayside Music (they have a great on line catalog). Same goes for Squidco (Phil Zampino) and Lasers Edge (Ken Golden).
Many good titles/artists already listed. Try these too:

Miles Davis
"Tribute to Jack Johnson"
several cuts off of "Live Evil"

Dixie Dregs
"Night of the Living Dregs"
"What if"
and others

Frank Zappa
some cuts off of
"Live at the Roxy and Elsewhere"
"One Size Fits All"
but especially
"Shut Up 'N' Play Yer Guitar" unfricking believable stuff

Jeff Beck
"Blow by Blow"

One last perhaps unexpected suggestion

Talking Heads - "Remain in Light"

All the above are guitar heavy fusion. If you like Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, you should check these others out.

Put Billy Cobham's "Spectrum" on in your car when you are heading out on a road trip and see if it doesn't help you settle into a serious driving groove. Then play Beck's "Blow by Blow" or "Wired" and roar off into the sunset. HOOA!
I'm a big fan of Fusion. Whenever I see this question asked elsewhere, the results always mirror what I'm seeing here; the majority of the rec's are from 30+ years ago and/or groups like Fourplay are mentioned. Don't get me wrong, I dug Fourplay's 1st record and own a few of the Section's records (great band!) but I'd NEVER classify them as Fusion. Here's a short list of Fusion recordings that've been recorded within the last decade that are truly slammin'!

Karizma - Document
Jing-Chi - 3D
Cosmic farm
Mathieson, LaBoriel, Landau, & Colauita - Live At The Baked Potato
Michael Landau - Live '06
Michael Landau - Tales From The Bulge
Scott Kinsey - Kinesthetics
Cab 4
Larry Carlton/Steve Lukather - Live In Osaka
Adam Holzman - JazzRocketScience
Uncle Moe's Space Ranch
Dave Weckl - Live
Garry Willis - Bent
Garry Willis - No Sweat
Derek Sherinian - Black Utopia
Simon Phillips - Out Of The Blue (Live)
Chambers, Berlin, Fiuczynski, & Lavitz - Boston T Party
Dennis Chambers - Outbreak
El Grupo - Live
Front Page
Howe, Wooten, & Chambers - Extraction
and lastly, an oldie from '91 that I consider a Fusion classic, good luck finding it!;)
Chroma - Music On The Edge

Most of these can be found over at Audiophile Imports. BTW, Caldera happens to be one of my favorite bands and for the record, Carlos Santana never played with them. The guitarist for this great band always was Jorge Strunz, playing rippin' electric before he went all-acoustic with Strunz & Farah. If you're diggin' true Fusion and DON'T own records by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever, or Weather Report, by all means, scoop these bad boys up but I'm here to tell ya that true Fusion is more than alive and well in the 21st Century!!;)
here's some more gems that haven't been mentioned (I don't think):

- "Electromagnets" self titles release - the group includes Eric Johnson on guitar
- Niacin - "Time Crunch" amazing Hammond B3 fusion.
- Kraan - "Live" this is a German group
- Jean Luc Ponty - "Aurora" and "Enigmatic Ocean"
Also - Bela Fleck and the Flecktones - "UFO TOFU"
alphonse mouzan golden rainbows with tommy bolin on guitar .jeff becks blow by blow.
"Return from Forever" - Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke on bass, some have Al dimeola on guitar, Alan White on drums. The albums "Romantic Warrior", or "No Mystery" are great.
Try Porcupine tree- in absenta. It's more rock than fusion but a good mix at the threshold. Like Ice meets tea.
Brand X
Weather Report
Mahavishnu Orchestra