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Jean-Luc Ponty - Live at Chene Park CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.14 | 13 ratings

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2 stars Jean-Luc Ponty in Detroit in 1996...that's a combo that just screams excitement! Please excuse the sarcasm, but given Ponty's rather copius discography, I see absolutely no reason why this performance was made into an album. Having said that (and considering the same criticism could be made for any number of other aritsts as well), you could do a lot worse than Ponty's effort here. You could also do a lot better.

I have to at least give the five-person outfit some credit for starting out with some nice energy on Infinite Pursuit--relatively simple, but toe-tapping nonetheless. Then we segue into the highlight of the album, Tender Melodies. From the title, I was expecting something achingly boring and slow, but fortunately it's a very bright song (in fact, none of the offerings on this album would classify as boring and slow).

Unfortunately, at least for Ponty, the highlights are usually when he is out of the way, whether it is Glaser on guitar (Infinite Pursuit), Browne on bass (Between Sea and Sky), or Rhyne on keys (After the Storm) who are in the spotlight at a given time. The only song where Ponty really distinguishes himself is on The Gift of Time, where he plays with some echo effects. The rest is the same old smooth, polished tone. If you happen to really like it, you are in luck. Most proggers will thirst for more.

Ponty has the sense (or reputation) to field a solid group of musicians, and that is the only reason why this album is a three-star in my mind. It's certainly not because of the melodies or Ponty himself. If you're looking to get into Ponty, start somewhere else (Enigmatic Ocean maybe), and if you are familiar with his sound, then you've already heard what this album has to offer. Not recommended.

Flucktrot | 2/5 |


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