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Jean-Luc Ponty - Life Enigma CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.16 | 18 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Sanitized, unvirtuosic, meandering violin noodlings. Each song rarely distinguishes itself from the others, as they all start and end quietly, with no real climax or intensity in between. I see little fusion here: just a lot of violin above capable, yet unenthusiastic, session playing. For most of the songs, it's almost as if Ponty gave instructions for the players (especially the percussion and keys) to find a groove and continue it without variation for the duration of the song. Of course that's oversimplification, and some tunes (Signals from Planet Earth) deviate from the formula a bit, but there's no doubt that Ponty is the feature.

Unfortunately, Ponty often does not do enough in his leading role to keep the music interesting. The melodies are also not enticing enough to carry the tunes, leaving a pleasant, yet frequently boring, hodgepodge of songs. The title track is the epitome of this situation: a few places where Ponty cuts loose are cool, but the song is repetitive and overlong. At least the final two tracks demonstrate that the other players could contribute: a nice piano solo (Love at First Sight) and a capable bass solo (And Life Goes On).

This seems to me easy-listening, uninspired, adult contemporary Muzak with a slight Latin tinge. Not recommended for proggers. Ponty is light-years away from his early Zappa days.

Flucktrot | 2/5 |


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