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Jean-Luc Ponty: Live

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Album Review

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 Nsangué Akwa, drummer Thierry Arpino, and percussionist Moustapha Cisse. A perfect example is "Rhythms of Hope," first recorded for Ponty's album Mystical Adventures; Ponty's dazzling solo is followed by Akwa's intricate, yet never excessively flashy bass solo. The lively "Jig," which was also first appeared on Mystical Adventures, proves less is more, with Lecomte's piano chops fueling Ponty's flights along with the bassist and the twin percussion team. Cisse's elaborate bongo solo is the centerpiece of the catchy "Caracas." "Memories of California" is a solo feature for the leader as he plays pizzicato on a MIDI violin with synclavier for the first half, before switching to playing arco in a stunning duet with Lecomte. The prominent West African flavor of "Mouna Bowa," jointly written with his bassist and premiered on Ponty's CD Tchokola, has grown even more impressive over time. "Enigmatic Ocean (Part II)," a portion of one of the several suites debuted by Ponty during the heyday of his Atlantic years in the 1970s, also takes on a new flavor with the additional percussion. The blazing finale is an updated interpretation of "Open Mind," which is a hoedown worthy of comparison to Ponty's "New Country," though with an inescapable West African beat. The only thing that may puzzle Ponty's fans is why so many of the numbers were also heard on his previous live CD, Live at Semper Opera, recorded in 2001 and released in 2002, even though the versions are different. But it is really of no matter, as longtime fans of the talented violinist will want to pick up this exciting performance, as well as the companion DVD of the Warsaw concert.

Customer Reviews

Great Album -- Wrong iTunes Review

This album was recorded in December 1978, not 1999, and the musicians are incorrectly identified in the review. If you liked the Cosmic Messenger album, then you should love this live album, since it has the same amazing players.

what is this gys talkin' about

the guitar players are Jamie Glazer and Jacylin Laviziano - Bass player is Ralphie Armstrong..........saw this tour on Long Island back in the day

Classic performance in its time!


Born: September 29, 1942 in Avranches, France

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '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...
Full Bio