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Jean-Luc Ponty - Jean-Luc Ponty: Live CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.05 | 46 ratings

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4 stars This is the only Ponty's work that I know of, therefore I can't compare this album to the other artist's works, or make any comparisons or criticise the selection of the songs. However, it's obvious that behind this live record much more is hidden, and I guess it's worth checking it out. This live record show wide variety of styles and all of them contain one common thing: a flavour of space-fusion - I think that would be the best description of the genre. Ponty's violin is omnipresent, his melodies are the main carriers of the songs, but he is wisely leaving enough space for other musicians. You can feel the presence of that certain "Frenchness", daydreaming so typical for all the French artists from Jarre to ANGE.

The instrument that stands out of the crowd (apart from the excellent violin) is bass guitar (who is that Ralphe Armstrong guy?!?), with pumping jazzy bass lines, fretless slide, frenetic high-pitched solos and occasional spacey synthesized sounds. Lovely. Keyboard work is also great.

Guitars are not so obvious, in fact I was unable to trace any guitars at first few listenings. Mostly it is just a background purpose. It sounds horny (I mean, brassy:) ), and somehow reminds me of QUEEN, although it's exposed thousand times less.

Speaking of QUEEN, there is another line of comparison. I can't help myself but "No Strings Attached" sounds way too similar to Brian May's "Brighton Rock". The concept is totally different but the melody is the same. However, I'm far from accusing Mr. Ponty of plagiarism. You see, "No Strings Attached" is a spacey solo violin played through the all kind of echo effects. It's not difficult to play an instrument on an echo effect, and even the less skilled musicians are able to create impressive layers of sounds. But there are a few rules, you must avoid some tones to escape from the dissonant cacophony. The most effective thing is to play pentatonic scales, tones that basic major and minor chords are consisting of, and few consonant voicings. A really skillful musician is able to create nice melodies on echo effect without falling into cacophony, but avoiding the clichees as well. That's really what is echo effect all about. Check most of a Steve Hillage's work, or even some passages on GENTLE GIANT's "Acquiring The Taste". And Ponty did it well.

While the echoed violin licks are still whipping the air, the drums are joining in and band is starting furious "Egocentric Molecules", the excellent showmanship. The problem is, after this excellent atmosphere-heater, concert ends abruptly. You can hear the approval sounds of the crowd, and Ponty's voice: "Thank you for coming to our concert, good night!". Like a clash with a car after (lovely) driving 100 kilometers per hour! This live record is way too short indeed. After the end, consumer wants more. Sounds like a description of a very good album.

clarke2001 | 4/5 |


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