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Old 06-28-2010, 07:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
Juicious Maximus III
 
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Default Jean-Luc Ponty - Enigmatic Ocean (1977)

So!

This thread is for discussion Ponty's 1977 release Enigmatic Ocean. It was the Prog & Fusion Album Club homework assignment for week 25, but of course everyone can join in the discussion.

This is what I wrote about the album when I suggested it :

Quote:
Originally Posted by tore
Jean-Luc Ponty - Enigmatic Ocean (1977)



This is an excellent album from the french virtuoso jazz-rock violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Before this solo record, he played with Frank Zappa on various albums like f.ex Over-Nite Sensation and Apostrophe ('). He was also a member of the much acclaimed fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra led by John McLaughlin where he played on albums like Apocalypse and Visions of the Emerald Beyond.

About Enigmatic Ocean, well .. what to say? It's generally regarded as one of Ponty's finest efforts and, according to the Wikipedia article, it reached #1 on some jazz billboards 1977. Having listened to it, I can see why. Unlike some fusion out there, Ponty composes and plays with a style which is pleasant, easy to like and easy to get into. If jazz rock and fusion is your thing, you will like the album from the first listen on. Although there are no guarantees in life, this one comes pretty close.
So, what do you think about it?
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So, I've already stated some opinions on the album. I think I can supplement it with a bit more.

I kinda like the groove of this album. I like the way the way the melodies play on top of a traditional drum beat and riff like it for example does in Mirage. The simple riffs and traditional time signatures make this a sort of standard fare when compared to fusion masters like Return to Forever or the Zappa compositions he's recorded earlier, but it makes the album real easy to get into and it's really well done I find. I like the fact it's a jazz rock album I can put on and immediately connect with on the first listen. I definetly have room for this kind of stuff in my collection.

Overall, I find the tracks to be quite similar stylistically, though some are a bit funkier than others etc. The good thing is I find them all enjoyable and when I listen to this album, I usually just put on the first track and take it from there. There are no super-standouts for me on this one. For example, I like Trans-Love Express, Mirage, and Enigmatic Ocean Pt. 2 and Nostalgic Lady with a same-ish amount of appreciation. Neither do I think any songs really reach the height of amazing brilliance, but the fact the quality is so consistent makes it easy for me to rate this as a "very good" album.

What do you guys think?
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Old 07-02-2010, 09:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i pretty much agree with your last post. i could see myself getting into jazz rock. i have just given it one listen but there will surely be more to come. awesome recommendation! if i remember i will give some more detailed impressions later.
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Old 07-03-2010, 06:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yup, I think this album could really serve as an entry into the world of jazz rock and perhaps also fusion One thing which is interesting once you start getting a bit more into jazz rock/fusion is that there are not really that many names around or .. some famous ones crop up quite often. Before this album, I already knew Ponty from Zappa albums, Mahavishnu orchestra and another brilliant album he did with Al Di Meola and Stanley Clarke (other famous guys) called Rite of Strings. For me, since I mainly know him as someone who plays for other people, it's really fun to see what sort of composition he plays on his solo albums. It's cool that it's so good!

I think I like his album even more now than I did when I wrote that last post. Although immediately attractive, it's still getting a little better with each listen. Some day I will suggest the Rite of Strings album with Meola and Clarke for homework as well because that is also brilliant.
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