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Jean-Luc Ponty - No Absolute Time CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars One day in October 1999 I had a hard day at work. To relax, I went to a record store to buy some CDs, really to find a "musical therapy". That day I bought this CD (and also the CD version of "Storytelling"). I had the curiosity to buy this album after I listened to the song "Caracas" in the live CD "Live at Chene Park"some months before in the same year.Again, I found some changes in style in Ponty`s music. I read that in his "Tchokola" album he played with some African musicians who influenced the music. In this "No Absolute Time" album Ponty again played with these African musicians, plus Wally Minko who plays some keyboards, and Kevin Eubanks who played guitar in "Blue Mambo".

The African musicians are very good. The percussionists (Abdou Mboup and Sydney Thiam) and the drummer/percussionist (Moktar Samba) are particularly very good. Sometimes the percussion and the drums sound like programmed instruments because these musicians never miss a beat.The guitars (played by Martin Atangana) are again less prominent.This album is more "atmospheric" in sound due to more use of the keyboards.The violins and the percussion are the central focus in the arrangements.The bassist (Guy Nsangue) sometimes plays some "solos".

My favourite songs in this album are:"Savannah", "Dance of the Spirits", "Forever Together" (the best of all, IMO), "Caracas", "The African Spirit" and "Blue Mambo".

In conclusion, it is a very good album, different in style to other Ponty`s albums that I have listened to. It is a "peaceful" album. It was a good buy for that day.

Report this review (#72185)
Posted Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars By this time in his career (1992), Ponty had applied his violin stylings to just about everything...except African themes (at least for the most part). So, if you want to hear Ponty doing pretty much what he's been doing for the thirty years preceeding this album, except with some different rhythms, then you might dig No Absolute Time.

I have to say, I wasn't expecting much from this album, which may be part of why I'm pleasantly surprised. Unlike other Ponty albums, it sounds like there is some actual interaction/interplay with the band, as opposed to generic background music with a violin on top. In addition, there are some very enjoyable performances, such as a nice bit of bass work (Blue Mambo, for example), catchy keyboarding (Lost Illusions), though the percussion for the most part is forgettable, which seems strange to me for having a number of African themed tunes. Most importantly, there are some nice melodies to be found, which makes Ponty's interspersed noodling much more effective.

Don't get me wrong--this is by no means a great album. There is a certain sanitized, over-produced feel to the tunes, which means that none of the songs have anything close to a killer bite; however, if you want some mellow instrumental music with some time signature changes and fairly intriguing melodies and performances, then you could do much worse than No Absolute Time.

Report this review (#143712)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars The nineteen eighties were not kind to jazz , or most types of music, for that matter. Virtually all of the fusion released on the major labels were that radio friendly, AOR, "Quiet Storm" type of fusion. This trend carried through into the nineties as well. And it shows on this Jean-Luc Ponty release.

This album starts out promisingly, with the title track, No Absolute Time. The name of the track is literal, as the instruments play in numerous time signatures, layered over one another. Not just simple 4 over 5 over 6, but even the dreaded 13/8.

The rest of the album, despite being well played and produced, is non-descript, light fusion, played over African rhythms. It's pleasant and competant, but nothing spectacular.

Report this review (#307996)
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | Review Permalink

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