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Jean-Luc Ponty - Fables CD (album) cover

FABLES

Jean-Luc Ponty

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.66 | 26 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The first I heard of J.L. Ponty was when I purchased Frank Zappa's 'Hot Rats' LP many years ago - Ponty played a small violin part on one of that album's tracks - 'It Must Be a Camel'. Anyways, curious of his solo work, I looked into his 70's albums (naturally), and started with 'Cosmic Messenger', and it was a winner in my books. Upon investigating some of his early 80's work, one couldn't help but criticize Ponty's use of synths and sequencers, somewhat overshadowing the focus on his bowing, (but it just makes his violin solos stand- out that much more), and also a more 'typical' Fusion style to his compositions cannot be ignored. Then I eventually came to this album, 'Fables' (thanks to my friend Daniel), and it was a very fresh sounding LP, having Ponty backed by some really tight players; a great rhythm section of Baron Browne (Bass) and Rayford Griffin (Drums) and guitar ace Scott Henderson. The production is superb. It sounded like a true 'return to form' for Ponty. Right off the mark, 'Infinite Pursuit' is a high-octane performance, full of dynamics and great playing all round - and it really 'rocks', for want of a better word. 'Elephants in Love' is a mesmerising track with ethereal keyboard work, great violin lines and some well placed bass chords. 'Radioactive Legacy' is the longer track of the album (6.16) - a well structured piece, starting out almost ambient with synths & violin, then a mid-section in medium tempo, going through various time sigs (9/8, 4/4, 6/8) and featuring some marvellous violin work, and returning to the ambient passage it began with. Side 2 starts with the most full-on piece, 'Cat's Tales', incredibly performed, and showcasing Henderson's guitaring (think: Holdsworth), and violin, with positive and up- lifting riffs all over. The highlight of next track, 'Perpetual Rondo', would definately be the Bass riff. 'In the Kingdom of Peace' shows off what Ponty does when left alone to create with his synths and violin, producing dreamy soundscapes, and tasteful soloing. Lastly, 'Plastic Idols' is a light piece, utilising some special effects on the violin which I've not heard anywhere else. A highly recommended starting place and excellent addition.
Tom Ozric | 4/5 |

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