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


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.64 | 107 ratings

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2 stars Jean Luc Ponty received some recognition at the time of this album in Quebec - his French background probably helped endear him to Quebecois fans even if not a word is uttered on the album. Of course it might have something to do with the man's indisputable virtuosity on the jazz fiddle.

The song that received the most airplay at the time was the barely three minute long opener "New Country", a mesmerizing spot-on approximation of jig music from the New World. Those who suggest the beat belongs to disco simply haven't listened to much celtic music, for while the tune screams hoedown, the rhythm and subtle acoustic guitar syncopation is right out of Brittany and could have just as easily been approximated by the feet of all the attendees of a Fest Noz, for which that beautiful land is well known.

But why, you ask, do I dispense so much analytical energy on barely 7% of the album. Sadly, because most of the rest is a self indulgent bore. It's true that Ponty tries to include and nurture all his bandmates and their considerable talent, but on the title suite it just means everyone gets their turn to be chief doodler, and what we hear vacillates between vapid ELP and a very lite but trite Mahivishnu Orchestra. Only "The Gardens of Babylon" is worth hearing again, as it bridges the sprightly and outward looking opener to the ceaseless fusion rather well, and suggests a route sadly not followed again. Once again Daryl Steurmer shines on acoustic guitar and Allan Zavod's keys work wonders.

In spite of two lovely short tunes, this voyage should have retrenched early on rather than insist on dragging us through a spectacular yet utterly barren terrain.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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