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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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5 stars First and foremost, the context in which this record was made must be understood and appreciated before one can grasp what JLP pulled off with Enigmatic Ocean.

The year was 1977 and the jazz-fusion juggernaut was steamrolling along at a furious pace. Five years earlier the Mahavishnu Orchestra had gotten the ball rolling by dropping an atomic bomb on the music, and specially the jazz, world with their Birds of Fire release. The year before, in 1976, Return to Forever did the unthinkable by trumping Mahavishnu with their Romantic Warrior masterpiece; which many consider the epitome of jazz-fusion. The same year, 1977, Weather Report matched the other giants' punch for punch with their standard-setting Heavy Weather.

So, what's Jean-Luc Ponty to do? Sit back and LISTEN?! Hardly! He too enters the ring and dons the fusion gloves.

Not much more can be added about this record that hasn't already been said. History has proven that Enigmatic Ocean has stood the test of time as ONE OF THE TOP JAZZ-FUSION RECORDS OF ALL-TIME. Top ten, for sure, and some have it rated in their top five list, or even higher.

Rankings aside, this is just GREAT MUSIC. PERIOD! A masterpiece of the highest caliber. With a line-up including Allan Holdsworth on guitar, Steve Smith on drums and JLP there is little that could go wrong. Specially, when given the aforementioned competitive climate of the times.

My thirteen year old son who's into the usual prog-metal fare(Dream Theater, Vai, Porcupine Tree, Spock's Beard et al) was blown away by Enigmatic Ocean and couldn't believe how "FAST EVERYONE WAS PLAYING". Yes, son, that is jazz-fusion for ya! Everyone, playing REAL FAST!!!

All of that being said, this is NOT my favorite JLP record. That would be Civilized Evil. For all of the shredding and syncopated, mind-blowing intricacies of Enigmatic Ocean I don't think that this is JLP's best. Sure, the musicianship is out of this galaxy but the melodious, smoother work of later recordings is more to my liking.

FIVER STAR, Masterpiece that every progger should own.

wbiphoto | 5/5 |


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