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Jean-Luc Ponty - Enigmatic Ocean CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.26 | 365 ratings

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3 stars Ah, fantastical titles - Mystical Adventures, Imaginary Voyage, Aurora - promise to lift us above the hubbub to another plane of musical experience - and for some clearly they deliver. As one of the better known fusion artists and rightly acclaimed for his use of violin in this idiom, PONTY gets a fair bit of attention in a sub genre that probably appeals more to people with legitimate musical training. To the rest of us the music does not do justice to the thematic ambitions.

A case in point is the closing suite, "Struggle of the Sea Turtle". I mean, as well played and even engaging as some parts are, especially the first couple, this is really just a guy playing some technically accomplished fiddle with solid accompaniment. Turtles are among my favourite animals and I'm feeling a bit cheated because it's more like the flight of the bumblebee or something.

In any case, this is an improvement over "Imaginary Voyage", with a tighter band performance and more focus on revisiting and bolstering themes. The requisite "hit" this time is the sultry "Trans Love Express", and "Nostalgic Lady" is another example of Ponty's crossover appeal. While the title cut certainly has good moments, in the end it's an oddly amorphous and overly long tribute to GENESIS more than a jazz-rock fusion piece.

In case you haven't figured it out, I rarely wade into jazz rock waters as I find the style a bit too enigmatic and irreconcilable with its themes, but it's worth dipping your toes into the icy waters of Ponty's ocean.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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