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Jean-Luc Ponty: Life Enigma

Glenn Astarita By

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With his first solo release in seven years, famed jazz-fusion/world music violinist, Jean Luc Ponty also utilizes various digital instruments along with assistance from others on selected works. Here, the violinist contends that Life Enigma parallels a musical style that he explored during his late '70s Enigmatic Ocean and Cosmic Messenger outings. Expertly engineered, Ponty's latest features his often-crystalline performances on the "Zeta" electronic violins, as we would be hard pressed to have heard anything as immaculately recorded, thanks to modern technology and all the companion bells and whistles. Hence, the sound quality is simply stunning throughout!

Ponty injects sequenced synths and electronic percussion into his repertoire while overdubbing his streaming and thoroughly sonorous lines atop West African grooves on "Two Thousand-One Years Ago" and elsewhere on this outing. Simply put, Ponty's tuneful fabrics of sound are framed upon memorable melodies and pulsating percussion movements, although the majority of these works contain programmatic style undercurrents. Essentially, the esteemed artist's latest endeavor is all about layered keys, bustling percussion, and gently climactic passages amid jazz-based sub-themes. Otherwise, the violinist's listener friendly production should garner widespread appeal, yet if you're expecting some of the innovative pyrotechnics and high-octane jazz-fusion witnessed on some of his previous sessions you might be disappointed.


Track Listing: Two Thousand and One Years Ago; Signals From Planet Earth; The Infinite Human Caravan; Lonely Among All; Firmament; Pizzy Cat; Life Enigma; Even The Sun Will Die; Love At Last Sight; And Life Goes On.

Personnel: Jean Luc Ponty: 5-string electric violin, keyboards, electronic percussion/drums, synclavier, MIDI electric violin, effects and electronic woodblock; Guy Nsangue Akwa: electric bass; William Lecomte: piano; Thierry Arpino: drums and shaker; Moustapha Cisse; percussion.

Title: Life Enigma | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Jlp Productions

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