Jazz fusion? That's big hair and flares, right? The genre in which jazz acts go electric and incorporate elements of funk and rock with jazz improvisation, all rolled up into lengthy jams? Well, yes, but only if you're stuck in the late 1960s or early '70s.

Perhaps you're imagining big productions with synths, epic guitar solos and the slap bass that dominated the '80s instead? That sound proved to be very popular in Japan, and fusion bands such as Casiopeia and T-Square have remained active for more than 35 years, keeping large, faithful followings.

By its very definition, however, fusion embraces a wide range of influences. In the past decade, a number of new acts have emerged with distinctly original sounds that embrace various musical styles and creating new types of fusion.