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Jean-Luc Ponty

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Jean-Luc Ponty Upon The Wings Of Music album cover
3.94 | 79 ratings | 6 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Upon The Wings Of Music (5:26)
2. Question With No Answer (3:29)
3. Now I Know (427)
4. Polyfolk Dance (5:12)
5. Waving Memories (5:43)
6. Echoes Of The Future (3:09)
7. Bowing Bowing (4:53)
8. Fight For Life (4:34)

Total Time 36:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Jean-Luc Ponty / acoustic & electric violins, Violectra, strings synthesizer (3), arranger & producer

- Patrice Rushen / piano, electric piano, organ, clavinet, synthesizer
- Dan Sawyer / guitar (excl. 8)
- Ray Parker Junior / guitar (4 & 5-solos, 8)
- Ralphe Armstrong / bass
- Leon "Ndugu" Chancler / drums, percussion, Roto toms

Releases information

Artwork: Christian Simonpietri (photo) with Bob Defrin (art direction)

LP Atlantic ‎- SD 18138 (1975, US)

CD Atlantic ‎- 18138-2 ( ? , US)
CS Atlantic - 18138-4 (1990, ? )
CD Collectables - 6330 (2002, ? )

Thanks to ivan_2068 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JEAN-LUC PONTY Upon The Wings Of Music ratings distribution

(79 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(61%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JEAN-LUC PONTY Upon The Wings Of Music reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Owl
4 stars While still in the Mahavishnu Orchestra MK II, Jean Luc concocted his first fully electric solo outing. While not as fully realized as subsequent albums, this at least strongly pointed the way he would be heading shortly.

The opening title track with its insistent drumming by Ndugu Leon Chancellor roars out of the gate with Ponty soaring over the top of the maelstrom with a beautifully constructed melody here! "Question With No Answer" features a beautiful plaintive piano intro from Patrice Rushen just before Jean Luc enters with the song's probing, insistent melody, gradually building momentum as the full band enters to a rousing conclusion. "Now I Know" is a moody ballad with dreamy Herbie Hancock-esque Rhodes from Patrice as Jean-Luc spins out haunting melodies. Things pick up again with "Polyfolk Dance" featuring some cool odd-meter passages. One thing the album as a whole is lacking in is strong guitar work (the contributions of Dan Sawyer and Ray Parker Jr. are at best serviceable and generic), the solo on here is a bit cliched and irritating with its angry mosquito tone.

Also featured is a solo violin piece "Echoes Of The Future" with Ponty employing an Echoplex for layering figures on top of one another, something that would become one of his trademarks.

The rest of the tracks are decent enough fusion, but in subsequent albums, Ponty's compositional prowess would grow like mad.

A good solid start, all told.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a VERY good fusion album. The keyboards used belong to the standard old technology: there are tons of piano and Fender Rhodes a la George Duke, among others: it is hard to believe that all the excellent keyboards are played by Jean-Luc Ponty himself! The good bass and drums are very elaborated and restless. The omnipresent electric violin here has lots of effects in its sound, as usual. Some parts are slightly experimental but it is not bad at all. It is not always fast with the instruments loaded to the maximum: the violin sound is sometimes floating like if Ponty was retaining his note, wanting to show more the effects added to the sound. There are electric guitar arrangements, rather discreet in order to leave the room to the electric violin, that accompany the rest of the music. I think this record is less accessible and more loaded & elaborated than his following ones.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

After Ponty has left the Mahavishnu Orchestra (or after the group broke-up, whichever), Ponty started his own solos career (although he had a few albums recorded during the 60's, most progheads - I included - became aware of his high-profile albums with this album. Obviously, this album's success was encouraging enough Ponty to try to emulate this album's feel (or formula if you wish) on the next albums to come and it will benefit him, even if he will never sell enormously (even on a jazz scale) either.

What we have here is a JR/F so typical of the second half of the 70's, which could've easily been released on the ECM label, with all the aspects concerned including that soft jazz feel of those years coming close to elevator music. Do not get me wrong, I am not downing JLP's music far from it, as there are some superb moments (notably Now I Know), but there is no groundbreaking scheme, no incredibly soul-liberating moments, just pleasant music with a lot of good moments, but never Nirvana is approached All of his musicians are absolute professionals with excellent mastery of their respective instruments, but maybe this is exactly why those Ponty albums (and so many other JR/F albums of the second half of the 70's) fail to arouse my utmost admiration: they are PROFESSIONAL, business as usual, just another day's meal ticket, well I think you get the picture by now. This should not let you get the idea that I do not like UTWOM, there are some delightful moments (the middle section of waving memories for one), but none crossing the boundary to musical paradise.

As a matter of fact, I would almost recommend this album as a starting point if it was not for the (excellent) Live album, which unsurprisingly will offer you an outstanding selection of their more exciting moments. The downside of this approach is that it can only be downhill from there. But for those already a bit familiar with jean-Luc's works, this album is one of his better ones. Still not essential, though except in capturing Ponty's works.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This is JLP back to the recording studio under his name and with in a new style (jazzfusion) after several years as side man for Frank Zappa and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. As far as I know this is JLP´s more ecclectic Lp of his mid 70's fusion period. He brought in the funky Ralph Armstrong on ... (read more)

Report this review (#288344) | Posted by philGab | Saturday, June 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It swings, it grooves, it wah-wahs: it's an electrified violin! When Jean-Luc Ponty recorded this album for Atlantic in 1975 he was a veteran of Frank Zappa's band, had toured with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and taken Stefan Grappelli's baton (should that be bow?) on the run. This is an album full ... (read more)

Report this review (#247003) | Posted by BeeJayMelb | Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Contrary to the biography here on, this (not "Aurora") is the beginning of the classic J-L P jazz/prog-rock era. J-L P was still a member of the (second) Mahavishnu Orchestra when this was recorded. J-L P's classic pentology (quintology) began here (1975) and ended 3 1/ ... (read more)

Report this review (#97779) | Posted by Rutgers Joe | Thursday, November 9, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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