Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jean-Luc Ponty - 1996 Anthology "Le Voyage"

Le Voyage: The Jean-Luc Ponty Anthology is a compilation album by French Jazz-Fusion artist Jean-Luc Ponty, released in 1996.

Ponty has worked with Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin, has provided brilliant violin work as a session player, and has had a terrific run as a bandleader. This two-disc set dips into Ponty's Atlantic Records releases, tracing the development of Ponty's particular brand of jazz fusion and providing a very nice look at his career as a bandleader. A few of the cuts seem a bit watery and thin, but this has more to do with the original recording and mixing than the performances or mastering -- Rhino's mastering department has provided the usual quality of production here. Jean-Luc Ponty is a notable performer in the jazz arena, one who has a clear vision and strong ideals when it comes to his music -- he likes to test his boundaries and explore new possibilities. A notable collection.

Le Voyage is Jean Luc-Ponty's anthology, and it is a powerful expression of music. The songs all interweave violin, guitar, and synthesisers exquisitely to form a melodic and harmonic whole. The genres of music traversed here include jazz, rock, classical, and noise. The violin playing, which is Ponty's strength, is unusual, unique, aggressive and punctuated. This fits in really well in a jazz/classical framework. Combined with the highly proficient and technical guitar wizardry (by artists some of whom I've never heard of), it blends in rock and related genres perfectly. Throw in organs, synthesisers, clavinets, and you have electronic noise that lurks in the background and slithers on the side, capturing your attention either way. There are no vocals here, and that makes this all the more unique.
The stand out tracks include Mirage which features an amazing performance by Allan Holdsworth on lead guitar and a processed violin (?). This track is appropriately titled and the subtle electronic noise overtones shimmer on the musical landscape. The interplay between Holdsworth and Ponty is spectacular. Egocentric Molecules also features some amazing guitar-violin-synthesiser interplay. The track No Strings Attached has a bass line that is reminscent of Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 1 and again, the noise is what caught my attention. Computer Incantations for World Peace also is interesting from an electronic noise standpoint.

Track listing

All songs by Jean-Luc Ponty.

 Disc 1
1. "Question with No Answer" – 3:29  
2. "Bowing-Bowing" – 4:53  
3. "Echoes of the Future" – 3:11  
4. "Aurora, Pt. 2" – 6:15  
5. "Waking Dream" – 2:26  
6. "Renaissance" – 5:48  
7. "New Country" – 3:09  
8. "Enigmatic Ocean, Pt. 2" – 3:37  
9. "Enigmatic Ocean, Pt. 3" – 3:43  
10. "Mirage" – 4:54  
11. "Egocentric Molecules" – 5:49  
12. "Cosmic Messenger" – 4:41  
13. "Ethereal Mood" – 4:04  
14. "I Only Feel Good with You" – 3:17  
15. "No Strings Attached" (live) – 6:02
Disc 2
1. "Stay with Me" – 5:36  
2. "A Taste for Passion" – 5:25  
3. "Once a Blue Planet" – 4:05  
4. "Forms of Life" – 4:49  
5. "Rhythms of Hope" – 4:03  
6. "Mystical Adventures, Pt. 4" – 0:47  
7. "Mystical Adventures, Pt. 5" – 5:06  
8. "Jig" – 3:58  
9. "Final Truth, Pt. 1" – 4:55  
10. "Computer Incantations for World Peace" – 5:41  
11. "Individual Choice" – 4:57  
12. "Nostalgia" – 5:03  
13. "Eulogy to Oscar Romero" – 2:34  
14. "Infinite Pursuit" – 5:59  
15. "In the Kingdom of Peace" – 4:04  
16. "Caracas" – 3:51  
17. "Forever Together" – 5:46

Personnel: Jean-Luc Ponty (autoharp, violin, electric piano, organ, synthesizer, bass synthesizer, keyboard bass, electronic percussion); Joaquin Lievano, Peter Maunu (guitar, guitar synthesizer); Daryl Stuermer, Dan Sawyer, Martin Atangana, Allan Holdsworth, Scott Henderson , Jamie Glaser (guitar); Allan Zavod (piano, Clavinet, organ, keyboards, synthesizer); Patrice Rushen (piano, Clavinet, organ, synthesizer); Chris Rhyne (piano, keyboards, synthesizer, bass synthesizer); Wally Minko (piano, keyboards); Mokhtar Samba (drums, cowbells, timbales); Norman Fearrington, Ndugu, Ray Griffin (drums, percussion); Mark Craney (drums); Abdou M'Boup (cowbells, shaker); Paulinho Da Costa (percussion).

 Recording information: Bill Schnee Studio, North Hollywood, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Chateau Recorders, North Hollywood, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Cherokee REcording Studios, Hollywood, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Home Studio, Santa Monica, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Kendrun Recording Studios, Burbank, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); la Tour Di'Ivoire, Los Angeles, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Music Grinder, Hollywood, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Ocean Way Recording, Hollywood, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Paramount Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Santa Barbara, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Studios, Davout, Paris, France (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Village Recorders, West Los Angeles, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993); Westlake Audio, Los Angeles, CA (05/25/1975-03/??/1993).



  2. Thanks, Stan, great one. Gonna listen with curiousity

  3. Yet another fine share. I'm only now exploring the fusion recordings of Jean-Luc Ponty and this will be a great place to share. My thanks.