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Enigmatic Ocean [CASSETTE]

Jean-Luc Ponty Audio Cassette
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Label: Wea Corp
  • ASIN: B000002I92
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

1. Overture
2. Trans-Love Express
3. Mirage
4. Enigmatic Ocean, Pt. 1
5. Enigmatic Ocean, Pt. 2
6. Enigmatic Ocean, Pt. 3
7. Enigmatic Ocean, Pt. 4
8. Nostalgic Lady
9. Struggle of the Turtle to the Sea, Pt. 1
10. Struggle of the Turtle to the Sea, Pt. 2
11. Struggle of the Turtle to the Sea, Pt. 3

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fusion Milestone 5 Oct 2007
Format:Audio CD
Every now and then elements come together to create something special. This is a prime example. Some of Ponty's best compositions feature, played by a killer band. Ralphe Armstong, arguably Ponty's funkiest ever bass player, locks down the bottom end with the young Steve Smith on drums and provides a rock solid basis for the front line to blow over. Bringing in Allan Holdsworth (who never toured with Ponty) was an inspired move which only serves to drive regular guitarist Daryl Sturmer to greater heights. It isn't all flash though - as I say, the tunes work well in context even if mid 70s pitch wheel antics from keyboardist Allan Zavod have dated a bit. Did I mention the violin playing? Never better! All in all, great stuff and it sounds as if all concerned had a ball.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The struggle of the turtle to the sea 18 Aug 2012
By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
This was my album of the year way back in 1978, during my second year at Uni, when I must have played it I don't know how many dozens of times. Got it down off the shelf a couple of weeks back as car music for a drive down to Cornwall, and had one of those driving bliss experiences that come around from time to time. I have once more been playing it daily since. As I've got older, becoming more of a classical head, I've become very fussy about what jazz fusion I listen to these days, but this stands up there with the best of the best. Everything Ponty did before it seemed to be leading up to it, and nothing that came after it, at least what I've heard, came close. It is the perfect combination of superb, flawless and sophisticated compositions with one killer solo following on the heals of another, from a band, each member of which is at the top of his game, and is operating as a geometric sum of its parts. As I say, it is the compositions that lift this to a level above the typical improvisatory fireworks fusion album. With essentially three songs and two long form epics, there is a unity of mood and colour that creates a strong impression of a single flowing opus, with everything in just the right place. At the bottom is the highly imaginative drumming of Stevie Smith, always keeping the music on its toes with sudden, critical shifts of accent, yet without ever becoming overly obtrusive. Alongside is ex-Mahavishnu bassist, Ralphe Armstrong, who sustains an impeccably smooth yet propulsive funk beat. Alan Zavod's stunning keyboards do dual service with gloriously colourful orchestral washes, and sizzling solos. Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  46 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jean-Luc's masterpiece 7 Feb 2002
By Jeff Arenson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Enigmatic Ocean is Ponty's masterpiece and possibly the best Fusion CD ever. The line up is second to none; Holdsworth,Smith, Stuermer, Armstrong and Zavod all add to the amazing auditory tapestry that Jean-Luc has created. No single recording has ever combined Classical compostion, Jazz improvisation, Funky bass, and delivered it in a high energy rock context like Enigmatic Ocean has. Every tune on this disc is a highlight. "Nostalgic Lady" is Ponty and Holdsworth showcasing their talents in one of the non-suites. The music revolves around a bass line and a simple(By Jean-Luc standards)melody. Both soloists are amazing. "Mirage" features Ponty and keyboardist Zavod. The piece is one of Jean-Luc's best and both Jean-Luc and Alan are mesmerizing. "Enigmatic Ocean" is a suite and is one of the greatest things that I have ever heard. The piece opens with an intro and then a melody. From there Ponty, Zavod, Stuermer, and Holdsworth trade fours over the rhythm of the duo of Armstrong and Smith. Next a funky groove is established and Holdsworth and Ponty fly over it. Finally the original theme is brought back and the masterpiece ends. "The Struggle of the Turtle to the Sea" is another suite and is also unbelievable. The first movement contains a Zavod solo. The mood changes and Ponty does what he does so well. Next the mood changes again and Armstrong and Stuermer are both spectacular. Finally Holdsworth lends a hand in the outro. This piece is visual and one can picture the turtle reaching the beach and finally being freed into the sea. This is the best CD that Jean-Luc has released and will be until "Jean-Luc Ponty Live" is finally released by Atlantic.(The first one not Chene Park) GET THIS ONE NOW!!!!!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is pure ecstasy to listen to... 7 May 2001
By "jazzviolinist" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Can't believe there are no reviews on this recording. If you're even thinking about getting a Ponty CD, this or Cosmic Messenger is the one. This band sounds so good; it is really beautiful. This music is very satisfying; it is in my opinion some of the best fusion of the '70s. And there is no one, absolutely no one, who plays the violin like Ponty does here. His solos are fiery, passionate, virtuosic, and dramatic, and his tone itself is mesmerizing. The band surrounding him is tight, and they create a wall of electric sound that is pure ecstasy to hear. You also get two great guitarists in Daryl Stuermer and Allan Holdsworth; and Allan Zavod on keyboards is great, too. This is an very highly recommended recording (I'm not the only one who thinks so; many fusion fans would agree). Don't miss it!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Signature Jean-Luc 8 Dec 2002
By budnicky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It was Jean-Luc-Ponty who solidified my appreciation of jazz fusion and helped me to forever turn my back on the tired and noisy heavy metal garbage of the late seventies. I liked it loud and fast but wanted quality. Seeing Jean-Luc do this album in concert in October, 1977 made me an all time fan. The Enigmatic Ocean suite (especially part 3) showcases Ponty's genius as each part builds in energy to a level of musical brilliance that leaves you in awe. All the musicians on this album perform at Ponty's level and take their turn making you play the air wid 'em. Check out Ralph and Allan on the last track! This is the best fusion album of all time and is "Signature Jean-Luc."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Fusion CD of All Time 22 Dec 2009
By TUCO H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
With this 1977 release Ponty created the ultimate fusion album, something that went WAY beyond just a perfect melding of Jazz and Rock and Classical (and a healthy if small dose of Indian music and modern music brought over from JLP's stints in Mahavishnu and Zappa's Mothers) to also strike a perfect balance into the ambient dreamy soundscapes created by people like Jean-Michel Jarre on "Oxygene," Vangelis on "L'Apocalypse des Animaux," CAN on "Future Days" & Brian Eno on "Another Green World." This strand of the multi-level fusion only a man of Ponty's ambition would even dare attempt, had already borne excellent fruits on "Imaginary Voyage" and "Aurora," two previous classics that paved the way for the perfect album to follow. By this time Ponty was well into composing in textures like a painter and instructed Alan Zavod to concentrate on creating textures and colors on his synthesizers. In fact, the synths, the guitars and the violin concentrate on laying down textures and utmost attention is paid to sound quality and tone and the feel or 'impression' derived from this. The groovy repetitive ostinato basslines (by ex-Mahavishnu hold-over Ralphe Armstrong) that became a cliche on later Ponty albums are in perfect synergistic synthesis here with the rest of the music. Just enough ambience is provided in the textures and polyrhythmic grooves to put you in just the most perfect trancelike state needed, not too sleepy, not too funky, not too jarring or spastic, setting the perfect platform for the incredible solos designed to make your dream state take-off and soar to ever-higher plateaus, culminating somewhere in outer space. The entire album is highly impressionistic and closer to prog-rock in some ways than jazz rock, prog-rock being something Ponty had direct experience with, having played on the mind-blowing "Aria" album by Alan Sorrenti in 1972 where the entire album was conceived and executed in textures of a renaissance tapestry with banshee vocals and violin blending in and out. "Enigmatic Ocean," as the title suggests, is like the soundtrack of a film that was never made, maybe even a Jacques Cousteau film, but without 1 second of down-time or let-up or 'incidental music,' every second is accounted for. Ponty could have retired after this album and still be considered a legend. No one played violin with this level of virtuosity and perfection of sound and style ever before and, with the exception of L. Subramaniam, no one has since.

Of special note on this album is the incredible playing of Daryl Steurmer on lead guitar: every solo he plays is on fire, super-intense and super-fast without losing melodic grace and tone quality in the process (even if it's just a guitar straight through an amp sound, it's still a hell of a tone and sound), McLaughlin inspired but daring to go beyond. Steurmer is so great here he even manages to upstage the genius of Allan Holdsworth as co-lead. Using only Holdsworth's more ambient-friendly sound would have been a mistake on Ponty's part because, as amazing as Holdsworth is, Ponty's band of this period absolutely required the extra balance of rock-edge Steurmer's fiery sound provides to achieve album-length shambhala.

If Steurmer's high-water mark on guitar wasn't enough, you also have drummer Steve Smith's greatest performance preserved for posterity here. Having heard the unbelievable drum solos played by Mark Craney during the previous tour on the Hamburg 76 bootleg live album, I have always wondered if Craney had not left to join Tommy Bolin's band, would "Enigmatic Ocean" be even better than it already is, maybe a little less robotic? And the closer I listened, the more I've had to shake my head, laugh and answer with a definite NO because Steve Smith's playing here might just be the most impossible-to-improve ever laid to tape, not just in its extreme technique but also its perfect integration within the sound of this band.

The perfect band with the perfect sound who just happened to have the most perfect compositions to play is what this album documents. Even "Romantic Warrior" by RTF didn't manage the compositional consistency, melodic accessiblity or impressionistic ambience of "Enigmatic Ocean."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Mention Of Allan? 25 Oct 2001
By AustinTeddy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
After being turned on to Jean Luc in the summer of '75 when loaned Imaginary Voyage I was an instant fan. I loved the lineup on that album. I jumped on E.O. the second it was released. On the first listen I heard a guitar playing that was like nothing I heard before. My introduction to Allan Holdsworth. I have great respect for Stuermer but his playing pales in comparison. Just listen to the tradeoffs on "Struggle of the Turtle to the Sea". Pick up "Tony Williams Lifetime: The Collection" or "Bill Bruford One of a Kind" and you will see...there are guitarists...and then there is Allan Holdsworth (coincidentally Allan began as a child playing violin. I'm sure JLP knew that). Thank you Jean Luc for great music and talent scouting extrodaire.
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