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LIVE REVIEWS

Jean-Luc Ponty at The Cabot

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Jean-Luc Ponty The Atlantic Years The Cabot Beverly, MA August 24, 2018 A perfect match was found between the intimate setting at the Cabot's newly renovated 850 seat, former 1920's art-deco period theater in Beverly, Ma. and the soaring, melodic and mesmerizing sounds of masterful electronic jazz-rock French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. The venue offered the perfect fit, creating an atmosphere for a listener's audience ready to appreciate the extraordinary talents of this highly respected, classically ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jean Luc Ponty Band at the Boulder Theater

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Jean Luc Ponty Band Boulder Theater Boulder, Colorado June 13, 2017 One thing we learned Tuesday night: Enigmatic Ocean (Atlantic, 1977), Jean Luc Ponty's fourth album for Atlantic Records, is his favorite. And why not? It made it to number one on the jazz charts in 1977. Plus, it's pretty good. The Jean Luc Ponty Band brought their Atlantic Years tour through Boulder last Tuesday, recreating the music from what is most likely ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Anderson Ponty Band at the Boulder Theater

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Anderson Ponty Band Boulder Theater Boulder, CO May 4, 2016 Some collaborations are inevitable; Ella and Louie, Tedeschi and Trucks, peanut butter and chocolate. Others are not so obvious; Plant and Krause, Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson, pineapple and pizza (OK, maybe some people will disagree on that last one). Sometimes these seemingly unlikely pairings can be even more fun than the obvious ones because of unanticipated and serendipitous results. The Anderson ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Stanley Clarke/Biréli Lagrene/Jean-Luc Ponty: D-Stringz

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As sometimes happens in life, the best experiences are those that come as an unexpected surprise. The formation of the acoustic trio D-Stringz, featuring violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, guitarist Bireli Lagrene, and bassist Stanley Clarke, was almost by accident, as they were all on the same bill back in 2012, in Paris, playing with different ensembles. As luck would have it, the sparks and mutual interest was there and guided by producer Francois Lacharme, this project came to light.

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jean-Luc Ponty: Open Strings

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Artists are often defined--and pigeon-holed--by the music that's had the best distribution, not necessarily their best music. Not that any of the fusion discs that Jean-Luc Ponty recorded in the mid-'70s are bad; far from it. But the music the Frenchman released, before he moved to the United States, reveals a different formative period for the violinist, in stark opposition to electrified music of Imaginary Voyage (Atlantic, 1976), the Afro-centric explorations of Tchokola (Columbia, 1991), or the consolidation of The ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jean-Luc Ponty: Electric Connection / King Kong

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Having already released King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (Pacific Jazz, 1969) as part of its remastered reissue of Blue Note's 1976 two-disc compilation, Cantaloupe Island (BGO, 2006), which brought together King Kong and The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with The George Duke Trio (World Pacific, 1969), it's a little curious that England's BGO Records would reissue King Kong again as part of a two-fer with the French violinist's one and only big band intersection, Electric Connection ...

INTERVIEWS

Jean-Luc Ponty: Strong As Ever

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As a violinist in the changing music world of the 1960s and 1970s, Jean-Luc Ponty was it. He was a pioneer on the instrument, plugging in to be heard with screeching guitars and blaring horns. He not only had the chops-busting harmonic and rhythmic language of bebop down pat, but he had virtuoso abilities from his classical training. He combined them during a time of upheaval, in music and in society, in groups like Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jean-Luc Ponty: Canteloupe Island

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Originally released in 1976, Blue Note's Canteloupe Island brought The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with The George Duke Trio (Pacific Jazz, 1969) and King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (Blue Note, 1970) together as a two-album set. Long out-of-print, BGO's remastered reissue contextualizes the French violinist's later work. He may have dived deep into the fusion pool with albums including Aurora (Atlantic, 1975) and Imaginary Voyage (Atlantic, 1976), and explored African rhythms with Tchokola (Epic, 1991), but ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jean-Luc Ponty: The Acatama Experience

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It's been six years since Jean-Luc Ponty last released a studio disc. Contrasting with the more heavily produced Life Enigma (JLP, 2001), The Acatama Experience places greater emphasis on the violinist's working band. It's also a record that consolidates his early years as a straight-ahead player with his 1970s fusion and later forays into funk and African rhythms. And it's a true merging, not just an unfocused mix of diverse styles. Legendary bop pianist Bud Powell's “Parisian ...

FILM REVIEWS

Al Di Meola/Jean-Luc Ponty/Stanley Clarke: Live at Montreux

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Al Di Meola/Jean-Luc Ponty/Stanley ClarkeLive at Montreux 1994Eagle Rock Entertainment2005

It was at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1994 that Al Di Meola, Jean-Luc Ponty and Stanley Clarke played as a trio for the first time. Clarke and Di Meola had been part of Return to Forever and while they were comfortable in the familiarity of knowing each other, Ponty reached in and became a perfect fit. That language of understanding is seen to ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jean Luc Ponty: In Concert

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There's a reason jazz-fusion has a bad reputation. It frequently takes the simple, graceful sway of group themes and solos and allows the latter to dominate in icky extended masturbatory excess. At the same time, the melodies are often an afterthought, an excuse for noodling and aimless technique demonstrations. Jean Luc Ponty once apprenticed with Frank Zappa, who knew a thing or two about complex musicianship paired with equally complex compositions. In the intervening decades, he's slipped into the same ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jean Luc Ponty: Live at Semper Opera

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Few would debate violinist Jean Luc Ponty’s pioneering ways within the early 70s fusion movement, whereas the artist did introduce a novel approach to melding the violin with the jazz vernacular. Decades pass, and Ponty continues to hone his craft via recent world beat efforts amid programmatic rhythmic foundations and utilization of synths. However, this outing recorded at a Dresden Germany located Opera House represents Ponty’s quintet at its finest! Marked by the stunningly beautiful 32 bit recording processes, the ...