Saturday, June 11, 2016

Jean-Luc Ponty - 1978 "Cosmic Messenger"

Cosmic Messenger is an album by 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 as Ponty's 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 you.

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. 

Track listing

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.


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  2. Another great album, thank you.

  3. Thank you very much Sir ,This Is a great one Indeed.

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