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Jean-Luc Ponty

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Jean-Luc Ponty Jean-Luc Ponty: Live album cover
4.05 | 46 ratings | 5 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aurora: Part I (2:54)
2. Aurora: Part II (6:37)
3. Imaginary Voyage: Part III (4:05)
4. Imaginary Voyage: Part IV (7:15)
5. Mirage (5:52)
6. No Strings Attached (5:58)
7. Egocentric Molecules (7:24)

Total time 40:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Jean-Luc Ponty / keyboards, producer, violin (electric), violin, main performer, orchestration

- Allan Zavod / keyboards, organ, synthesizer bass, synthesizer, piano (electric)
- Joaquin Lievano / acoustic and electric guitars
- Casey Schelierell / drums, tambourine, percussion, gong
- Ralphe Armstrong / bass (Electric), devices, fretless bass
- Casey Scheveral / drums, percussion
- Jamie Glaser / lead and rhythm guitar

Releases information

LP Atlantic 19229 (1979)

MC Atlantic 19229 (1990)
CD Wounded Bird 9229 (2003)

Thanks to ivan_2068 for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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JEAN-LUC PONTY Jean-Luc Ponty: Live ratings distribution

(46 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JEAN-LUC PONTY Jean-Luc Ponty: Live reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars This live album was my starter to JL Ponty his work. I was in a record shop, watched the cover picture (photos from Armando Gallo, known from his work for Genesis) and was mesmerized by that tiny figure playing the violin, surrounded by two guitarplayers and a keyboardist who was almost hidden behind his huge pile of keyboards! As a 'live-album- freak' I decided to buy this live LP without a listening session because in my opinion it couldn't go wrong with an instrumentation including an electric violin, duo-electric guitar and assorted keyboards. Well, it didn't go wrong, on the contrary, what an amazing and exciting music it turned out to be!

The recordings are from an USA tour in 1978. On the eight compositions Ponty is supported by a top notch band: an often swinging and powerful, very dynamic rhythm-section, two good guitarplayers (rhytm and soli) and a tasteful colouring keyboardist (electric piano, organ, Oberheim - and lots of ARP synthesizers). But the focus is on monsieur Jean-Luc Ponty, he delivers lots of exciting soli on his electric violin (inspired by his hero Stephane Grapelli), from warm and flowing to swirling and spectacular but always melodic and harmonic, the interplay between all the musicians is splendid! Highlights are "Aurora Part II" (swinging bass solo), "Mirage" (splendid build-up synthesizer solo), "No Strings Attached" (sensational electric violin sound with use of digital delays, sequencer and bass synthesizer by JL Ponty) and the final song "Egocentric Molecules" (swinging, powerful rhythm and great soli on bass, guitar and violin).

To me this outstanding live-album sounds as a captivating attempt to scout the borders between progressive rock and jazz. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars By the end of 78, Ponty had a bunch of albums recorded after having resumed his solo career after stints with Zappa and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Most of his 70's albums are fairly similar to each other, hovering around a Fusion jazz-rock so typical of the time, which had many qualities but could also at times approach elevator music. To actually designate an album where you could start your investigations would be rather difficult as all albums are fairly even in quality. One of the best advice I could give to a Ponty rookie is to try out this live album where obviously are weeded-out the quieter almost-muzak moments of his studio albums.

Among the better and livelier moments are the Aurora excerpts and the finale of Imaginary Voyage which are wise choices. Although the live versions are fairly close to the studio version, there is a little more presence and enthusiasm in this album. This just about deals with the first side of the album, which goes by rather quick driven a frenetic-paced 100mph JR/F.

The second side is giving more variety in styles (while staying typically Ponty-esque) with the reflective Mirage (and its haunting synth line dominating the track), while the No Strings Attached presents Ponty on his own with loops and sequencers which were most likely state of the art (the crowd is appreciative), but this is the low point (all things considered) of the album as it has maybe not aged that well nowadays. The closing Egocentric Molecules insure that the fusion of the album is chemically complete and the show successful. Wise decision to have let the album issued as a single vinyl, though.

Warmly recommended as a proper intro to Ponty's more "prestigious" period where he held a high profile and his band was made of highly talented jazz musos bringing the collective virtuosity levels to monstrous levels.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars In my opinion, there are some live albums which deserved to be released as double albums instead to be released only in one disc. This is the case with this album which was recorded in late 1978. I think that Ponty has made very good albums in his career, but I think that in the seventies he recorded his music which was more close to the Jazz Rock / Fusion style, from which he has been of the best musicians I have listened to. He always has recruited very good musicians for his band, and in this live album every musician plays very well, even having the opportunity to do some solo parts (with the exception of drummer Casey Scheverel, whose playing is particularly very good in "Imaginary Voyage Part IV" on which he uses two bass drums in his playing). I think that Ponty enjoys playing with very good musicians and he is not "selfish" as he gives them space to "shine" and some freedom to improvise. This is what I can hear in this album. "No Strings Attached" is a solo electric violin musical piece on which he used a lot of electronic effects. The album is full of energy, sometimes heavy and also with a lot of melodies . At the end of the CD, one wants to have a second live CD from this band, but unfortunately this is not the case. I hope that one day Ponty could release an expanded and remastered version of this very good live album which has a very good recording and mixing.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This great live album was my first contact with Ponty & fusion at all. A chap in college in 1993 gave this LP to me because he "had all this music in their original versions". Well, thanx a lot, Henrique, wherever you are! This was my first step outside the rigid boundaries I'd constructed to ... (read more)

Report this review (#627991) | Posted by moodyxadi | Tuesday, February 7, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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