Jean-Luc Ponty

Le Voyage: The Jean-Luc Ponty Anthology

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.

I hadn't heard anything by Jean-Luc Ponty aside from what he did with Frank Zappa and the Mahavishnu Orchestra and now I can't wait to check out some of the albums featured in this anthology. Not since listening Rainbow's Rising has an album with classical overtones moved me so much. Ponty is a genius and many fans of jazz, rock, and metal are bound to appreciate this 32 song collection.

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala ||