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Jean-Luc Ponty - Storytelling CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.10 | 25 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Everything about this album cries out '1989!' - those synclaviers, those echo-laden drums, those fake-orchestral keyboards, those tinkly chime-like keyboards... and the overall glossiness of the production, which extends to the ulta-starched appearance of the musicians in the band photographs. I once used to listen to STORYTELLING with pleasure but now, upon returning to it after an absence of many years, I find it almost unbearably slick - like the fuzak they play in downtown Tokyo shopping malls. Strictly speaking, the musicianship isn't too bad. Jean Luc Ponty performs his solos with gusto, occasionally swapping licks with guitarist Jamie Glaser and (on one track) with soprano sax player Grover Washington. But most of the compositions are so repetitive and so totally predictable that I cannot imagine why any newcomers would want to be introduced to them! Oh, I know, many of prog-fusion's most hallowed masterworks (Bruford's ONE OF A KIND, for example) feature keyboards that now sound outdated, but such music, at least, is full of surprises, and Allan Holdsworth's guitar solos take you deeper (or higher!) than most players. With Jean-Luc Ponty, however, the music is all smiles and no substance. To me, his final album track came as a relief: for once, all glossiness is left behind and Ponty (using acoustic violin, thank God) performs his own variations on a Chopin prelude, accompanied by his daughter Clara on piano.

Conclusion: if you want adventurous 1990s jazz that will sound enjoyable to people with a rock background, try Kenny Wheeler or Dave Holland. If you want truly progressive jazz-rock fusion, try Brand X, or the most recent albums by the Pat Metheny Group. Just avoid STORYTELLING.

fuxi | 2/5 |


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