"Fusion" is a cuss word in my house, calling up countless limpid jazz/pop disappointments. But it wasn't always this way. In 1970, John McLaughlin absconded from the Miles Davis band with his astounding chops, put together an ace conglomeration of some of the best players on the planet, and called the aggregate The Mahavishnu Orchestra. They proceeded to shred their way into the hearts of millions of members of the Woodstock generation, and produce something sui generis: a true jazz/rock fusion that borrowed the best from both worlds. They improvised with the best jazz musicians, and the interplay between them was almost telepathic . And they could make your eardrums bleed. Yes, that's a good, even a great, thing.
Check out this clip from 1972. And check out drummer Billy Cobham's shirt.