French jazz fusion artist Jean-Luc Ponty, released in 1978.
Cosmic Messenger is more elegant, European-flavored jazz-rock from the French virtuoso Jean-Luc Ponty,
and pretty much in the same mold as his previous Atlantic albums but
with gradually tightening control over every parameter of performance. Ponty's
analog-delay special effects on the title track are spectacular, and
the album is loaded more than ever with revolving electronic arpeggios
own involvement with the ARP synthesizer grows. But there is still
plenty of his fluid, slippery electric violin soloing to be heard within
the tight structures of these pieces, and the tunes themselves are
often pretty good. In addition, this fusion express finds its way into
the funk on "The Art of Happiness," and there are some tricky rhythmic
experiments on some tunes.
"Cosmic Messenger" was the folow up to "Enigmatic Ocean". On it Jean-Luc
has a collection of songs but there isn't a suite/concerto like on
"Imaginary Voyage" or "Enigmatic Ocean". This doesn't mean that the disc
was bad because it still is very good. Jean-Luc,once again, surrounds
himself with world class musicians and does create some incredible
music. "Cosmic Messenger" is a Ponty showcase piece. It is ethereal in
nature and Ponty does show a different side to his writing than on his
previous discs. "Egocentric Molecules" is a hyperdrive tune that has
guitar, bass, and violin solos in it and is incredible. If you can find
the live version of this or see Jean-Luc play this you will be stunned.
The bass line and soloing by Ralphe Armstrong is unbelievable. The rest
of the songs on the disc are more examples of Ponty's ability to write
and imrovise in his own brilliant style. If you are a Jean-L:uc fan or
want to discover the world of Ponty "Cosmic Messenger" is a disc for
This CD has spellbinding rhythms in the more ethereal tracks - the kind
of relatively slow-paced tracks that artfully establish early on that
'moment of connection to the music' that somehow liberates the
listeners's soul as the artist's vision behind the musical track comes
to life and we are transported to another place. On the whole it's a
unique blend of the familiar and the exotic - the ethereally exotic
rhythms wedded to the lucidly logical melodic lines. This often-tried
experiment is, here, quite successful. Other tracks are high energy -
very inspired, and all are infused with a brilliant,
pleasingly-structured, readily-identifiable sense of jazz fusion.
Stylistically this may be Ponty's singularly most cohesive work. Given
his output, that spans well beyond his most prolific stint during the
1970's and '80's, that may well be saying something. I haven't heard
everything by him, but, if your looking for something else that, IMHO,
gives "Cosmic Messenger" a run for it's money, may I suggest "Mystical
Adventures" - another knockout of his. If you look at it like I do, an
unresolved toss-up of this magnitude is nothing but a blessing for music
fans in general, fans of Jazz fusion in particular or anyone curious to
know just what a five string electrified violin can do. I also enjoy "A
Taste For Passion", "Civilized Evil" and "Enigmatic Ocean". In any
case, Ponty is arguably THE world champion of the five string
electrified violin. Not that this instrument is the only feature of
merit on the album. Ponty, in this time frame, surrounds himself with
truly comparable talent on percussion, an incredible electric bassist
and, here, two superb lead guitarists. I don't truly know for myself yet
if this is Jean-Luc Ponty's best album, but, so far, I can say it's my
favorite. Highly, highly recommended.
All songs by Jean-Luc Ponty.
"Cosmic Messenger" – 4:38
"The Art of Happiness" – 4:33
"Don't Let the World Pass You By" – 6:23
"I Only Feel Good With You" – 3:05
"Puppets' Dance" – 3:40
"Fake Paradise" – 5:41
"Ethereal Mood" – 4:03
"Egocentric Molecules" – 5:44
Jean-Luc Ponty – Five-string electric violin, electric violin, organ, lead synthesizer, orchestron, acoustic violin.
Ralphe Armstrong – Electric bass, fretless electric bass.
Joaquin Lievano – Electric guitar, acoustic guitar.
Peter Maunu – Electric guitar,acoustic guitar, guitar synthesizer.
Casey Scheuerell – Drums, percussion.
Allan Zavod – Electric piano, polyphonic synthesizer, lead synthesizer, grand piano, organ.