A switch back to Atlantic finds Jean-Luc Ponty continuing to dabble in West African waters while re-establishing his earlier solid base in repeating sequenced patterns. The electronics are back, for Ponty splits his time between the electric violin and various synthesizers and sequencers while Abdou M'Boup and Sydney Thiam add African percussion, which often takes a back seat to the electronics as the rhythmic basis for the music. This time, though, the material Ponty has composed isn't as compelling as it had been in the past; at times, Ponty sounds like he is very competently treading water (though "Blue Mambo" has a compelling groove). Yet despite all of the changes Ponty has put himself through, his music still has a Continental elegance that cannot be mistaken for that of anyone else.
If I could rate this album, I had put in a progressive jazz-rock
Jean-Luc Ponty has been extremely satisfied with his international touring quintet, which not only excels in performances of his latest compositions, but also brings new life to older works. Earlier in his career, the violinist became enamored with the use of banks of synthesizers plus digital delay for special effects on his instrument, as well as the prominent presence of an electric guitarist. But this quintet, heard in a brilliant 1999 concert in Warsaw, is considerably stripped down, featuring keyboardist William Lecomte, electric bassist Guy Nsangue Akwa, drummer Thierry Arpino, and percussionist Moustapha Cisse.
Here is Ponty's radical break with his past, one that further tightened his control over his craft while ironically liberating his muse. In laying out his attractive new music on synthesizers and sequencers, emphasizing revolving ostinato patterns, Ponty rejuvenated his melodic gift, and as a result, even in this controlled setting, his violin solos take on a new freshness and exuberance…
Sibelius's Symphony No.3 was composed in 1907. It is the link between the romantic intensity of his first two symphonies and the more cold complexity of his later symphonies. Symphony No.7 was completed in 1924 and is notable for having only one movement. The Swan of Tuonela is a tone poem based on the Kalevala epic of Finnish mythology. The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and Yevgeny Mravinsky pair these with Debussy's Nocturnes Nos.1 & 2.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
Dreamy. Ethereal. Beautiful. These are the words that first spring to mind whenever I listen to A Taste for Passion by Jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Not only is the music incredibly powerful and memorable, but the playing itself is magnificent. Ponty has a way with musical phrasing that allows him to experiment with a myriad of different styles and approaches, yet somehow make it all fit together like a perfectly-cut jigsaw puzzle. One moment you're being swept away by otherworldly, melodious pieces such as ''Stay With Me'' and the album;s title track, and the next minute you may find yourself grooving out to one of the album's Jazz- aimed masterworks such as the wonderful ''Sunset Drive''. There really isn't much to dislike here, unless you want to get picky and say that much too much musical ground is covered. Granted, it may have appealed to more people has the music stayed in one area for the most part, but then we wouldn't have the wonderful, eclectic masterpiece that we have today.
Jean-Luc Ponty recorded for a number of labels prior to his signing by Atlantic in the early '70s, but this 1970 session in Japan was among his most challenging albums to acquire until it was finally reissued in the fall of 2011 in Japan. He joined forces with Japanese keyboardist Masahiko Satoh, the great bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo, and drummer Motohiko Hino for the studio date.
The occasion for this trio to work together was a 2010 concert that celebrated violinist Jean-Luc Ponty's 50th anniversary as a recording artist. Both the violinist and Stanley Clarke had collaborated before (a previous electric trio set with Al Di Meola, the Rite Of Strings was issued in 1995), but neither had collaborated with French jazz guitarist Bireli Lagrene prior to that evening. In playing for a mere 20 minutes, they created the impetus for D-Stringz – though it took two years for them to clear their schedules and get into a Brussels studio. These ten tunes are an assortment of standards and originals. The album is an acoustic, straight-ahead date that employs flawless swinging bop and post-bop, as well as 21st century takes on gypsy and soul-jazz and funk.