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Jean-Luc Ponty - Mystical Adventures CD (album) cover

MYSTICAL ADVENTURES

Jean-Luc Ponty

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.21 | 130 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A True Masterpiece Jazz-Rock Fusion!

When this album was released, prog music was in the stage of dying and it was terrible time for most of us who were chasing record stores on new prog albums. Jazz-rock fusion type was not the kind of music that I put as first priority. It's not that because I didn't like it but it's because of my taste was more on symphonic prog music. My first in love with this kind of music was through Return To Forever and explored many albums by Chick Corea until I found "The Mad Hatter" album. In this album I found great jazz-rock tune titled "Tweedle Dum" - "Dear Alice". I think this is the best jazz rock composition song with no comparison of similar quality. Since then my ears got used to jazz rock fusion type.

Since there was nothing new on symphonic prog music at that time and the fact that I could enjoy Chick Corea and Return To Forever, I purchased this album anyway. To my surprise, the music offered by this album was really great. By the time I also knew another violin player Didier Lockwood and David Cross (King Crimson). This album contains five (5) compositions in which one of them is an epic "Mystical Adventures Suite".

What a "title" means to you? I think each of you would have different reaction and attitudes toward this question. As for my case, it means a lot. Specific to this album, I'd rather focus on the second word "Adventures" than the first one. Why? It's basically coming back to my proposition that "music is emotion". If I combine the emotion and the title, I would have different atmosphere when enjoying the music, compared to if I'm hearing the music (for example at hotel lobby) without knowing the title and the artist. The "adventures" word gives me a nuance that is close to "exploration" (of music), "journey" (of a mankind in any profession) or "taking risks". Having this in mind, I would relate myself in the mud of struggling or (use a better word) striving for excellence. Why not? There is a song titled "Rhythms of Hope" which basically stem from the "wish" that any mankind requires to progress. "Without Hope You Can Not Start The Day" that's what Yes told you at "Union" album, right?

The combination of title, emotion as well as cover artwork would create unique listening pleasure for me. I do appreciate the high standards of album artwork in "Mystical Adventures" which reflects surrealist ideal, typical with Roger Dean's at Yes artwork or Ed Unitsky at The Tangent's artwork.

Having the above background - in a long write-up - it suffices to say that I'm a big fan of this album by Jean-Luc Ponty. There is couple of reasons. First, the combination of album title ("adventures") and cover artwork that I decipher in my mind when I listen to the music creates such a wonderful musical adventures that satisfy my expectations toward this album. Therefore, I'm emotionally engaged and satisfied with this album. Second, I need to back up my first statement with rationales on why I say it that way. The composition of all tracks in this album is top notch! Jean Luc Ponty does not revolve this album around his virtuosity. He gives it away to many other soloists - even he gives it to the bassist who usually provides the beats or keeps the gates on time signatures and scales. Take "Rhythms of Hope" as an example - you would here a really stunning bass guitar work by Randy "The Emperor" Jackson in the middle of the track. While he plays the bass guitar as melody, drums keep the beats augmented with synthesizer. There are also piano solos like in "The Final Truth".

Third, if we look at this album on track by track basis, this album can be considered as "song orientated" album and there is no track as bad track at all. All tracks featured here are excellent even the simplest one "As" (5:49) which has R&B style with some solos. Even if we look at deeper and we jump into further exploration of the "Mystical Adventures Suite" (20:28) there are many song orientated passages that make up this epic a great one to enjoy.

So, what do you expect from a jazz-rock fusion album like this?

Yeah! It's definitely a full five star album with no major comments on the downsides. What do you really expect? Can you have something better than this at album level? It's really hard to match with this album. That's why in my humblest opinion, this album deserves a full five star rating. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 5/5 |

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