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Jean-Luc Ponty - Live at Chene Park CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars This live CD was recorded in Detroit`s Chene Park in June 29, 1996 (it is also the date when I celebrated with a big party being approved in my Professional Examination some days before, a coincidence!). This CD has a very good recording and it mainly has songs from Ponty`s latest albums until 1996: "Fables", "The Gift of Time", "Storytelling", "No Absolute Time", and from other albums he recorded in the 80s. It seems to me that the songs were played "totally live", without using the sequencers he used in the albums. Ponty and the band also improvised solos in the songs, playing with "happy feelings" and fun, really enjoying the concert, IMO. Chris Rhyme is a very good keyboard player, particularly playing a very good piano solo in "A Journey`s End". My favourite songs are: "Tender Memories", "Caracas", "After the Storm", "The Gift of Time", "The Amazon Forest", "The Storyteller" and "A Journey`s End". Drummer Michael Barsimanto is a good drummer, but he is the only musician whose performance left me a bit disappointed, because sometimes he sounds a bit "out of time", but in other songs he added different playing in comparison to the drummers who played the original studio versions.He particularly shines in "Caracas" and "A Journey`s End".Despite the bit of "out of time" playing in some songs, this CD is very enjoyable. Jamie Glaser and Baron Browne originally appeared in the original studio versions of some of these songs, so their playing, IMO, is more familiar to me, and more "adequate" to Ponty`s musical style, . This CD is very recommended. A last commentary: the CD starts with a spoken introduction given by a woman, who explains that the concert was being recorded for album, and then she introduced J.L Ponty to the audience to start the concert. I often skip this introduction of 48 seconds. I don`t like her "shouts"!
Report this review (#72131)
Posted Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Jean-Luc Ponty in Detroit in 1996...that's a combo that just screams excitement! Please excuse the sarcasm, but given Ponty's rather copius discography, I see absolutely no reason why this performance was made into an album. Having said that (and considering the same criticism could be made for any number of other aritsts as well), you could do a lot worse than Ponty's effort here. You could also do a lot better.

I have to at least give the five-person outfit some credit for starting out with some nice energy on Infinite Pursuit--relatively simple, but toe-tapping nonetheless. Then we segue into the highlight of the album, Tender Melodies. From the title, I was expecting something achingly boring and slow, but fortunately it's a very bright song (in fact, none of the offerings on this album would classify as boring and slow).

Unfortunately, at least for Ponty, the highlights are usually when he is out of the way, whether it is Glaser on guitar (Infinite Pursuit), Browne on bass (Between Sea and Sky), or Rhyne on keys (After the Storm) who are in the spotlight at a given time. The only song where Ponty really distinguishes himself is on The Gift of Time, where he plays with some echo effects. The rest is the same old smooth, polished tone. If you happen to really like it, you are in luck. Most proggers will thirst for more.

Ponty has the sense (or reputation) to field a solid group of musicians, and that is the only reason why this album is a three-star in my mind. It's certainly not because of the melodies or Ponty himself. If you're looking to get into Ponty, start somewhere else (Enigmatic Ocean maybe), and if you are familiar with his sound, then you've already heard what this album has to offer. Not recommended.

Report this review (#161894)
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permalink

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