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Jean-Luc Ponty - The Jean Luc Ponty Experience - With The George Duke Trio [Aka: Live In Los Angeles] CD (album) cover


Jean-Luc Ponty


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.55 | 17 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars This album sounds nothing like the shiny electric world beat and new age influenced music that Ponty would end up playing later in his career. These jams were recorded in the late 60s and show Ponty playing a jazz-rock style that was growing out of the roots of hard bop and soul-jazz. A good way to describe this style would be an even mix of RnB/jazz, rock jam sessions and avant-garde jazz. This style was kicked off by Miles Davis and his sextant when they would often suspend the beat and allow the drummer and soloist to interact in a freer rhythmic sense. Other major influences on this rock influenced fee jazz were John Cotrane and Ornette Coleman, but in more indirect ways than Miles.

By the late 60s, when this album was recorded, many artists were playing in this style including Jack Dejohnette, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Tony Williams, as well as some rockers such as King Crimson and Henry Cow. This is not a style that Ponty would stay with for long, that it is why this is a unique album for Ponty fans to check out.

Most of these songs start out with a nice bluesy hard bop groove, but as the soloists kick in drummer Dick Berk starts to take things to another level. Most of Ponty's solos are good and show how much his early playing was influenced by sax players like Ornette and Trane. He even has breaks in his lines that are similar to a horn player's breathing patterns. Ponty's solos are good, but keyboardist George Duke's solos are incredible. Duke really connects with Berk and creates dense layers of rhythmic variation and sheets of sound that parallel some of the best work by Tony Williams and Herbie Hancock. The difference is that Duke and Berk add a bit more rock style noise and energy to their energetic flights. It helps that Duke is playing an almost distorted electric piano instead of a more subtle acoustic piano.

This is a great album that captures a unique style of jazz that only lasted for a few years, but was an influence on music in general for many years to come.

Easy Money | 4/5 |


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