World Fusion refers to a fusion of international music, but the term also refers to world music with jazz, specifically with one of three subgenres (ethnic, non-Western, and new music). The ethnic music subgenre has incorporated jazz improvisations (for example, Latin jazz); frequently, only the solos are improvised jazz. The accompaniments and compositions are essentially the same as the ethnic music.
The second subgenre features jazz that has incorporated limited aspects of a particular non-Western music. Examples include performances of Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia"; music on some of the 1970s' quartet recordings by Keith Jarrett's quartet and quintet on Impulse, in which Middle Eastern instruments and harmonic methods are modified and used; some of Sun Ra's music from the 1950s into the 1990s, in which African rhythms are incorporated; and some of Yusef Lateef's recordings that feature traditional Islamic instruments and methods.
The last subgenre of world fusion with jazz influences consists of new musical styles that result from distinctly original ways of combining jazz improvisation with innovative ideas -- and the instruments, harmonies, compositional practices, and rhythms of an existing ethnic tradition. The product is original, but its flavor still reflects some aspects of a non-jazz, ethnic tradition. Examples include Don Cherry's bands Codona and Nu; some of John McLaughlin's music from the 1970s and the 1990s that drew heavily on the traditions of India; some of Don Ellis' music of the 1970s that drew on the music of India and Bulgaria; and work by Andy Narrell in the 1990s that melds the music and instruments of Trinidad with jazz improvisations and funk styles.
World fusion jazz did not first occur with modern jazz, and its trends are not exclusive to American jazz. For instance, Polynesian music was fusing with Western pop styles at the beginning of the 20th century, and its feeling attracted some of the earliest jazz musicians. Caribbean dance rhythms have been a significant part of American pop culture throughout the 20th century, and since jazz musicians frequently improvised when performing in pop music contexts, blends have been occurring almost continuously. Django Reinhardt was melding the traditions of Gypsy music with French impressionist concert music and jazz improvisation during the 1930s in France. Also see Latin jazz and jazz-rock fusion.