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The Best of Jean-Luc Ponty

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Reseña de álbum

Shame on the generally classy Sony Legacy division for not clearly specifying on the cover that this hour-long collection only chooses from three of the jazz fusion violinist's albums he recorded for their label circa 1987-1991. The majority of his career, and where he made his biggest commercial splash, was for the Atlantic label from 1975-1985, which is represented in both a double- and single-disc compilation on Rhino. That said, even though these were not his most groundbreaking years, Jean-Luc Ponty continued to mesh electronics with his established fusion and, on 1991's Tchokola, added African percussion to the mix. While that wasn't totally successful, it showed the musician was attempting to expand out of what was quickly becoming a repetitive rut. The rootsy beats also contrast with his chilly electronic approach, adding a warm, human feel to his typically frigid sound. This anthology also touches on his more techno leanings, like the intro to "In the Fast Lane" and the totally overdubbed solo piece "Spring Episode" (that amazingly seems like he's playing with a full combo), as well as the more worldbeat percussive tracks, making it an excellent sampler from these years. And since the three albums were spotty, this becomes a perfect one-stop summation of their highlights. Sure, there are moments of aural wallpaper where Ponty coasts on a smooth bed of funk-lite as he doodles away on violin. But Ponty's least-inspired work remains unique and stimulating because his style is so distinctive. So even though this isn't as satisfying a summary as Rhino's Very Best Of since his songs aren't as well conceived or varied as his work covered in the previous compilations' years, it's a welcome addition to his catalog. With its tasty closing Chopin classical piece, it's a superb listen for those wanting a taste of what the fusion jazz violinist was doing during the late '80s/early '90s, without springing for the individual discs.


Nacido(a): 29 de septiembre de 1942 en Avranches, France

Género: Jazz

Años de actividad: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

It has been a long, fascinating odyssey for Jean-Luc Ponty, who started out as a straight jazz violinist only to become a pioneer of the electric violin in jazz-rock in the '70s and an inspired manipulator of sequencers and synthesizers in the '80s. At first merely amplifying his violin in order to be heard, he switched over to electric violin and augmented it with devices that were associated with electric guitarists and keyboardists, like Echoplex machines, distortion boxes, phase shifters, and...
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