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Jean-Luc Ponty - The Very Best of CD (album) cover

THE VERY BEST OF

Jean-Luc Ponty

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.02 | 6 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
2 stars I enjoy prog fusion bands such as Gong and Brand X, and jazz keyboard players who tend to dabble in fusion, like Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, but judging from this collection Mr. Jean-Luc Ponty is not for me.

I must admit Ponty is no mean fiddler, but I don't seen the point of most of this music, which does not excite or move me. Most of the pieces follow exactly the same pattern. Guitar or keyboards play some pretty arpeggios, or else the band as a whole lay down a nice little groove, and a couple of instrumentalists get their chances to execute solos. There's virtually no interaction between the soloists, compositions never develop unexpectedly, and you never get the feeling the players are expressing things which have caused them some kind of pain. I don't wish to exaggerate, for this music is not quite as bland as smooth jazz; it just doesn't sound audacious or experimental.

Things might seem a little better if you never got the impression that Ponty had his fire stolen by fellow players! "Bowing-bowing", for example, is especially noteworthy for its minimoog solo, and "A taste for Passion" for its guitar solo. "Enigmatic Ocean, pt. 3" only sounds gorgeous because Allan Holdsworth suddenly comes in, which immediately gets you thinking: 'At last - a soloist of character!' And "Cosmic messenger" is mainly noteworthy for its haunting guitar arpeggios.

But I don't want to sound completely negative. "Mirage", for example, is based on a supremely catchy riff. Towards the end, this collection starts getting better: "Rhythms of Hope", "Final Truth" and "Infinite Pursuit" are all fairly exciting - and this goes for Ponty's playing as well! Still, when it comes to contemporary jazz violin, I can't help preferring soloists who express themselves through music of a freer and more improvisatory nature, like Mat Maneri and Mark Feldman.

N.B. There is a two-disc set on Rhino, LE VOYAGE - THE JEAN-LUC PONTY ANTHOLOGY, which includes all the tracks from THE VERY BEST OF, together with another 60 minutes of similar material. If you are so inclined.

fuxi | 2/5 |

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