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Jean-Luc Ponty - The Very Best of CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars The best that represnts the best ...

This compilation serves excellently for those who have been familiar with Jean Luc Ponty or those who are new to his music but is willing to know how the music sounds like. Reasonably priced, this is a MUST for those who appreciate jazz rock fusion music plus those who like the sounds of violin. The unique characteristic of Jean Luc Ponty music does not merely rely on his violin virtuosity rather more on the beauty of its music, composition-wise. While many musicians who make solo albums tend to focus on delivering their skills which sometimes too dominating, Jean Luc Ponty has been focusing on how the total music is delivered. If there is no such needs that violin should play a role, he does not play his violin. Some cases he plays longer solo. That what has made him attractive - for me at least.

The first time I knew Jean Luc Ponty's music, I thought that he was a keyboard player. Why? Because I heard "Cosmic Messenger" in which it has a dominating keyboard sound and drums. It was an excellent experience because my brother Budi played it and I was not aware who the artist was. The more I explored the music the more interesting it became.

Stand-out tracks in this compilation includes "Enigmatic Ocean, Part 3", "Cosmic Messenger", "Mirage", "Rhythms of Hope", "Rhythms of Hope" and "Egocentric Molecules" out of other excellent tracks. Like in "Egocentric Molecules" I like the bass solo part. "Rhythmss of Hope" is truly a masterpiece composition.

This compilation is worth collecting. Don't miss it!

Peace on earth and mercy mild, GW

Report this review (#126880)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I enjoy prog fusion bands such as Gong and Brand X, and jazz keyboard players who tend to dabble in fusion, like Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, but judging from this collection Mr. Jean-Luc Ponty is not for me.

I must admit Ponty is no mean fiddler, but I don't seen the point of most of this music, which does not excite or move me. Most of the pieces follow exactly the same pattern. Guitar or keyboards play some pretty arpeggios, or else the band as a whole lay down a nice little groove, and a couple of instrumentalists get their chances to execute solos. There's virtually no interaction between the soloists, compositions never develop unexpectedly, and you never get the feeling the players are expressing things which have caused them some kind of pain. I don't wish to exaggerate, for this music is not quite as bland as smooth jazz; it just doesn't sound audacious or experimental.

Things might seem a little better if you never got the impression that Ponty had his fire stolen by fellow players! "Bowing-bowing", for example, is especially noteworthy for its minimoog solo, and "A taste for Passion" for its guitar solo. "Enigmatic Ocean, pt. 3" only sounds gorgeous because Allan Holdsworth suddenly comes in, which immediately gets you thinking: 'At last - a soloist of character!' And "Cosmic messenger" is mainly noteworthy for its haunting guitar arpeggios.

But I don't want to sound completely negative. "Mirage", for example, is based on a supremely catchy riff. Towards the end, this collection starts getting better: "Rhythms of Hope", "Final Truth" and "Infinite Pursuit" are all fairly exciting - and this goes for Ponty's playing as well! Still, when it comes to contemporary jazz violin, I can't help preferring soloists who express themselves through music of a freer and more improvisatory nature, like Mat Maneri and Mark Feldman.

N.B. There is a two-disc set on Rhino, LE VOYAGE - THE JEAN-LUC PONTY ANTHOLOGY, which includes all the tracks from THE VERY BEST OF, together with another 60 minutes of similar material. If you are so inclined.

Report this review (#130773)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink

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