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Jean-Luc Ponty - Upon The Wings Of Music CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 72 ratings

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The Owl
Prog Reviewer
4 stars While still in the Mahavishnu Orchestra MK II, Jean Luc concocted his first fully electric solo outing. While not as fully realized as subsequent albums, this at least strongly pointed the way he would be heading shortly.

The opening title track with its insistent drumming by Ndugu Leon Chancellor roars out of the gate with Ponty soaring over the top of the maelstrom with a beautifully constructed melody here! "Question With No Answer" features a beautiful plaintive piano intro from Patrice Rushen just before Jean Luc enters with the song's probing, insistent melody, gradually building momentum as the full band enters to a rousing conclusion. "Now I Know" is a moody ballad with dreamy Herbie Hancock-esque Rhodes from Patrice as Jean-Luc spins out haunting melodies. Things pick up again with "Polyfolk Dance" featuring some cool odd-meter passages. One thing the album as a whole is lacking in is strong guitar work (the contributions of Dan Sawyer and Ray Parker Jr. are at best serviceable and generic), the solo on here is a bit cliched and irritating with its angry mosquito tone.

Also featured is a solo violin piece "Echoes Of The Future" with Ponty employing an Echoplex for layering figures on top of one another, something that would become one of his trademarks.

The rest of the tracks are decent enough fusion, but in subsequent albums, Ponty's compositional prowess would grow like mad.

A good solid start, all told.

The Owl | 4/5 |


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