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

UPON THE WINGS OF MUSIC

Jean-Luc Ponty

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 64 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

After Ponty has left the Mahavishnu Orchestra (or after the group broke-up, whichever), Ponty started his own solos career (although he had a few albums recorded during the 60's, most progheads - I included - became aware of his high-profile albums with this album. Obviously, this album's success was encouraging enough Ponty to try to emulate this album's feel (or formula if you wish) on the next albums to come and it will benefit him, even if he will never sell enormously (even on a jazz scale) either.

What we have here is a JR/F so typical of the second half of the 70's, which could've easily been released on the ECM label, with all the aspects concerned including that soft jazz feel of those years coming close to elevator music. Do not get me wrong, I am not downing JLP's music far from it, as there are some superb moments (notably Now I Know), but there is no groundbreaking scheme, no incredibly soul-liberating moments, just pleasant music with a lot of good moments, but never Nirvana is approached All of his musicians are absolute professionals with excellent mastery of their respective instruments, but maybe this is exactly why those Ponty albums (and so many other JR/F albums of the second half of the 70's) fail to arouse my utmost admiration: they are PROFESSIONAL, business as usual, just another day's meal ticket, well I think you get the picture by now. This should not let you get the idea that I do not like UTWOM, there are some delightful moments (the middle section of waving memories for one), but none crossing the boundary to musical paradise.

As a matter of fact, I would almost recommend this album as a starting point if it was not for the (excellent) Live album, which unsurprisingly will offer you an outstanding selection of their more exciting moments. The downside of this approach is that it can only be downhill from there. But for those already a bit familiar with jean-Luc's works, this album is one of his better ones. Still not essential, though except in capturing Ponty's works.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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