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


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.64 | 106 ratings

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4 stars When Jazz-Rock meets Country!

For me, Jean-Luc Ponty is a great violin player and composer. His involvement with Mahavishnu Orchestra was seminal and brought his name widely recognized by jazz as well as fusion music lovers all over the world. His style of violin playing is ranging from soft and slow style with acoustic violin to the dynamic and complex ones using electric violin. His virtuosity is at par excellence with Eddie Jobson (UK), David Cross (King Crimson), Didier Lockwood (Gong) and also jazz violin player Stephane Grappelli. Since he joined Mahavishnu Orchestra in early-mid seventies, he changed his music approach into crossover between jazz and rock. That's where exactly his music landed beautifully in my ears and my mind. I have observed that he's not just a great musician and composer but he's also great at putting together musicians who support his compositions. Ralphe Armstrong, Randy Jackson, Daryl Stuermer, Allan Holdsworth are among other musicians who have supported him.

"Imaginary Voyage" represents Jean-Luc Ponty's musical adventures into a mix of jazz-rock and country music. This reminds me to the music of Dixie Dregs. The opening track of this album "New Country" (3:07) demonstrates his interpretation of country music with basic premise of upbeat style and happy / party mood. This can be seen at the beats of the song and inventive violin work backed with acoustic guitar fills. This is a well-composed music which is appropriate as opening tune of any program. The next track "The Gardens of Babylon" (5:06) is another nice composition with dynamic violin work and guitar solo. Ponty then interprets "Wandering On The Milky Way" (1:50) with his violin solo.

"Once Upon A Dram" (4:08) explores synthesizer and violin in constant stream of music with pre-programmed rhythm section. The rhythm tends to be boring but luckily the soloists give good melody for the song. Tarantula (4:04) is an upbeat music with simple arrangements and relatively steady rhythm section. Jean provides excellent violin solo while Allan Zavod gives his skills in playing the keyboard. "Imaginary Voyage" is a collection of songs (Part I - IV) that comprises quite accessible composition with simple to medium complexity using various instruments for solo: guitar, violin and keyboard. This track is a suite of this album.

At album level, I could only say that this is an excellent album that blends various styles: jazz, country, and rock. You would not regret having this album in your collection. In fact, I recommend you to explore other album like "Enigmatic Ocean", "Cosmic Messenger", "Mystical Adventures" as well as Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Visions of Emerald Beyond" - which I have just reviewed all recently. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Thanks for those of you who have sent a PM with respect to Ponty. It mean a lot to me and motivates me to write other Ponty albums. You guys are terrific!

Gatot | 4/5 |


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