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Jean-Luc Ponty - Tchokola CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.61 | 32 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Sometimes you take a chance on an album, hoping that it will surprise you. That's not the case here: there are no surprises here. Ponty simply takes the same formula for every song, starting with a light intro, which introduces the tempo and key signature, and then intersperses some violin solos, African chanting, or other sound effects. There really is little melody, certainly no choruses (except the title track), and the overall effect is feeling like you're hearing the same song 10 times over.

I'm definitely no expert on African-influenced music, but I also am confident that I can detect Disney-style sanitized music when I hear it. Where is the passion and excitement that can be heard in other African music? I don't know, but it's certainly not here. This album will fail to grab your attention, and when you strain to keep your attention fixed, you can't help but wonder if this is the guy who at one time rocked with Zappa and other notables or a Yanni clone.

There are a few notable highlights, included the contemplative melody of the title track, the bass solo in Mouna Bowa, the staccato feel to Bamako, and the heavy percussion of Cono. Unfortunately, Ponty's violin is usually the least interesting thing happening: a serious flaw when it is almost always the featured instrument. With little variety in tone and texture, the electric violin wears thin quickly.

Is this rock? Is this progressive? Probably not. That's not a dealbreaker, but it's also boring, over-sanitized, and without emotion, which means that I really can't think of any reason why you might have interest in this album.

Flucktrot | 2/5 |


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