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Jean-Luc Ponty - Enigmatic Ocean CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.26 | 365 ratings

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3 stars 1977 sees Ponty moving to the production of albums in a prolific way.Zavod and Stuermer remain among his stable collaborators, but for the recordings of ''Enigmatic ocean'' he recruited also Fusion legend Allan Holdsworth on lead guitar plus he had a new rhythm section, now comprised of ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra bandmate Ralphe Armstrong on bass and drummer Steve Smith, who later played with Focus and became a long-time Journey member.The album was recorded during the summer of 1977 and released again on Atlantic.

Despite all these Ponty albums being dominated by a violin-driven atmosphere and his love for Jazz, there are little details that mark each of his works as different from the previous one.This time his music had a strong dash of Funk, more particularly in the short instrumentals, plus he developed his efficiency on long compositions, presenting two pieces, each clocking at around 12 minutes long.So, tracks like ''The Trans-love express'' or ''Mirage'' are mostly played in a Fusion/Funk way with soft grooves, Ponty's always flashy violin solos and the occasional keyboard splash with synth and piano in evidence, creating a happy atmosphere with an ethereal vibe.Of course the self-titled track and ''The struggle of the turtle to the sea'' are more interesting and sophisticated in every way.''Enigmatic Ocean'' takes a step closer to the progressive realms, it has all these dramatic moods created by a progressive band without lacking the intense harmony always present in Ponty's albums.Mid-70's MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA are a good comparison for this 4-part mini suite, which is characterized by its furious rhythms and guitar/violin interplays, featuring lots of extremely virtuosic solos by Ponty, Holdsworth and Zavod.The standard funky echoes though are still popping up, making this a bit of an inconsistent effort.''The struggle of the turtle to the sea'' is propably the better of the two long tracks.While still displaying an obvious flair of Jazz Fusion, it also offers some of the most bombastic atmospheres on a Ponty album and plenty of proggy vibes.Again some funky lines are added for good measure during the third part, but the first two are excellent examples of Prog Fusion, very pompous, professional and dramatic instrumental music with the star of Holdsworth shining through and Zavod making one of his most convincing performances ever.

Solid Jazz Fusion, a bit held down by the mass of period Funk appearing in the process.It's still very competitive, intricate and at times fascinating instrumental stuff with the standard violin washes of Ponty.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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