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Jean-Luc Ponty - Imaginary Voyage CD (album) cover

IMAGINARY VOYAGE

Jean-Luc Ponty

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.59 | 75 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Imaginary Voyage is just one of thousands of progressive rock and funk influenced jazz fusion records that came out in the mid-70s. The songs on this album are good and the musicians are excellent, but I still find myself getting bored when I listen to it.

One of the first problems with this record is that it came out in 1976 instead of the earlier part of that decade. If this record had come out before '74 the music would have been fresh and innovative and it would have shown in the musician's playing. Instead, by '76 these guys had already been playing this style, or similar styles, in various bands for more than half a decade. The fact that these guys are on familiar territory shows in the spotless but risk-free solos.

Another problem with this record is the production. For some reason, as the decade wore on, producers felt a need to make jazz fusion into some sort of modern muzak, or fuzak as it has often been referred to. The compression on here is so tight that all the highs and lows in the volume have been taken out leaving a bland sameness. The equalization also aims for that washed-out middle ground. It's a shame because any attempt at high energy playing just doesn't come across on the speakers.

There are two songs on here that deserve special mention, one bad and the other good. New Country is the bad, it consists of a pounding disco beat topped with hoe-down fiddle music, need I say more. The good is Imaginary Voyage part II which is one of those mysterious Scriabin-like chord progressions that used to be popular with John McLaughlin and people who worked with him in the early 70s. This is a style of jazz-fusion that unfortunately has faded over the years.

This isn't a bad record, but it could have been a lot better if the producers hadn't tried to so hard to squelch everything, and if the musicians would have been willing to take a few risks.

js (Easy Money) | 3/5 |

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