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Jean-Luc Ponty - Civilized Evil CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 69 ratings

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3 stars As much as I deplore the backlash against "self indulgence" imposed by punk and perpetuated by the new wave, it did give the opportunity for some of the more adaptable virtuosos to streamline their sound without sacrificing inventiveness. This was the case with JEAN LUC PONTY at least here on "Civilized Evil". The pieces remain showcases for his violin and accompanists but they are far more tightly composed and played.

The improvement is notable from the get go, with "Demagomania" being a slice of fun-loving funk, and "Forms of Life" a contrasting exercise blending new age sensibilities. Even better are the trio that close the disk, as listenable a sequence as assembled by Ponty to that point, particularly the playful themes of "Good Guys Bad Guys" in which the fiddles and keys dance about each other hypnotically, and the meditative closer "Once a Blue Planet". These help to offset the occasional oversteps like "In Case we Survive" and "Happy Robots". Less reliance on the violin allows Ponty's work on other instruments and his assistants to contribute to a more organic and symbiotic sound. The shrillness of earlier releases is held more in check.

So here we have another artist who seemed rejuvenated by the 80s. While I'm still not a big fan, I have to give Ponty credit for largely steering clear of the evils of the day with his civil bow.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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