Since the '70s, the specter of fusion has haunted jazz. But in many ways, fusion also saved jazz: By encouraging players to seek out different sources of inspiration, be they rock, folk, or ethnic music, fusion led to a new generation of forward-thinking musicians, not all of them obsessed with complex time signatures and pointless showmanship. Three of the most promising young guitarists to come out of the '70s and rise to prominence in the '80s were John Scofield, Pat Metheny, and Bill Frisell, all unique, recognizable players who have at times teamed up in pairs to make remarkable music. Now, a few decades down the line, the three continue to grow in unexpected ways. Scofield, who cut his teeth with Miles Davis, spent much of the '80s mired in funk-jazz fusion, a period of dubious productivity that has not aged well. But since then, his music has become more mature and nuanced, and his projects have reflected his new outlook. The intense but fun Grace Under Pressure paired him with Frisell, while I Can See Your House From Here paired him with Metheny for a disc of discordant meditations. Solo, Scofield more recently teamed up with Medeski Martin & Wood for A Go Go, a collaboration which obviously informed the new Bump. Bassist Chris Wood is one of many luminaries—including Sex Mob rhythm section Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen, as well as Soul Coughing sampler Mark De Gli Antoni—who ironically help make Bump such a light and refreshing outing. Scofield's playing is broken down into shorter, simpler, and funkier phrases than he's generally known for, bobbing and weaving with his fractured tone to suit the groove-oriented music. Metheny's playing is far more prominent on his latest, Trio 99->00. Initially known for his folk-jazz fusion, Metheny has become one of jazz's most redoubtable draws, and as such, he's sometimes wandered far from his edgy roots to more pleasant, crowd-friendly material. He shines, however, in the trio format, where his fluid playing is uncluttered and pure. Sympathetic drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Larry Grenadier are more than able sidemen, finding room between Metheny's many notes to make themselves heard. There's no chance that Frisell won't be heard on his annual offering Ghost Town: The album is a solo guitar effort. Though Frisell made his name playing in smaller outfits, where he would spit out heavily treated guitar leads like broken glass and shrapnel, his recent work has been more expansive, exploring airy Americana that would seem at odds with his avant-garde roots. Though there's no backing band on Ghost Town, the disc is far from an ego trip. In fact, Frisell all but buries himself beneath his trademark effects, putting the emphasis on the remarkably gentle compositions and beautiful arrangements. Whether on his own songs or on tracks by Gershwin and Hank Williams, Frisell sounds as eclectic as ever without ever resorting to fireworks, a trick only a true master can pull off.