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Jean-Luc Ponty - Enigmatic Ocean CD (album) cover

ENIGMATIC OCEAN

Jean-Luc Ponty

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.29 | 210 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

friso
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Jean-Luc Ponty - Enigmatic Ocean (1977)

About a year ago I started collecting jazz-rock/fusion albums. The high-rated albums of the genre were of course the first records I tried.

Jean-Luc Poty + band sounds like a modern fusion group with a very careful and overproduced sound (unlike Mahavishnu for instance). Every sound is clean, but there's still plenty of space in this recording. All musicians have a highly developed technical style, but don't expect a lot of emotions: this is high quality jazz-rock with interesting harmonies and cool melodies (which is good), but without emotional playing and lyrics. This gives the album a relaxing feel, although some of the solo's are played at insane speed and harmonic inventiveness.

Jean-Luc Ponty's sound on electric violin is not very violin-like. Some people don't even recognize the violin when they first heard this album. The electric sound fits in the musical landscape of the band. His solo's are fast and correct in an harmonic sense, but never very daring and experimental. Solo guitarist Allan Holdsworth makes of of an impression with his exceptional solo-guitar style and Daryl Stuermer gives some more aggressive solo's during the album.The drums and bass are great during the whole album, but nothing is really worth mentioning.

The compositions have an symphonic jazz style. The compositions have two parts: the main themes with the band working together to get certain melodies and sounds and the solo parts. The latter are easy jazz/funk chord progressions that give the musicians lot's of space to play their solo's. The compositions of the main themes is the main reason people interested in progressive might want to have this album. Some of these melodies are real symphonic prog-like progressions with the typical experimental chord progressions, accompanied by challenging harmonic melodies. Intro-themes of some Genesis tracks like The Giant Hoghweed comes to mind as a good point of reference. The easy themes with solo's are nice, but not all the solo's are that interesting. The guitars and the violin are nice but the keysolo's with a pathetic keyboard sound (typical seventies jazz..) are a bore.

Conclusion. This is high quality jazz-rock with a lot's of interesting compositions and a some more solo's of highly technical musicians. This could however never be a masterpiece IMHO. I don't have an emotional attachment to the pieces and the music completely lacks dynamic depth. For me this is a good album, but not essential by any means. Get this if you like the technical sound of jazz with some nice symphonic landscapes and extended soloing. Three stars.

friso | 3/5 |

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