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JEAN-LUC PONTY Imaginary Voyage (1976 UK 6-track LP on the green & orange Atlantic label very much like Mahavishnu of the era but with Ponty leading the way also starring Daryl Struermer Allan Zavod Tom Fowler & Mark Craney. The picture sleeve shows just a bit of light shelf wear & the vinyl is clean with only a few faint paper scuffs not affecting play K50317)
Top Customer Reviews
Jean-Luc Ponty made the instrument cool with his participation on one of the coolest rock albums made, Frank Zappa's HOT RATS of 1970. After this brief spell in the limelight, we assumed he returned to his jazz roots, inspired by Stephan Grapelli. Then suddenly in 1976, just as jazz-rock hit its maturity, radio presenters such as Alan Freeman and Derek Jewell (on Radio Three's 'Sounds Interesting') were playing tracks from a new Ponty solo album -- IMAGINARY VOYAGE. Of course, they didn't have time to play more than a couple of tracks, but helpfully, the first two tracks on this album were very radio-friendly. Even if you knew the album well, those were the two tracks you selected when you wanted to make compilation tapes.
That remains my view today, pretty much. Actually one of the advantages of CD is that, if you've always been a lazy type, you get to hear what was Side Two on the LP that you could never be bothered to turn over. Of a similar structure to Focus's MOVING WAVES, the LP put five concise tracks on Side One, and then a single extended instrumental piece on Side Two.
This is all crossover jazz-rock stuff. If you like early Bill Bruford (e.g. ONE OF A KIND) or Return to Forever (NO MYSTERY), you'll find much to like about IMAGINARY VOYAGE, although this album doesn't quite meet the same standard.
The backing musicians include the usual high-calibre performers of the 1970s: e.g.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The entire album is a tour-de-force. New Country is so good, Ponty's play puts most of Nashville to shame. My favorite cut is the aptly named Once Upon A Dream, a mesmerizing tune with a great deal of background musical tension that can induce a dream-like trance.
The title cut starts out part Yes, part Return to Forever and gives way to the mystical wanderings of Ponty's violin and organ before winding up with an inspired dose of harder-edged guitar driven jazz-fusion.
The only drawbacks to this CD are its relative brevity (under 40 minutes) and the almost non-existent liner notes. Otherwise, I recommend this musical dreamscape to any Ponty fan who has not yet heard it and to the musically adventurous who have not yet heard him.
(As an aside, I had heard about this album from watching "Soundstage," an old PBS show from long ago, when they had an episode called "Fiddlers Three," featuring Doug Kershaw, Itzahk Perlman and Jean-Luc Ponty. A wonderful show, showing three different types of violin performances: Ponty, so smooth and even in using the bow, even in fast songs, it seemed like he wouldn't break a sweat. Perlman played classical music, his movements so precise, sharp and clean, carefully and exacting in his bow work. Kershaw played Cajun country music, all elbows and movement, the strings on his bow breaking from his sawing motions on the violin, it appeared so sloppy compared to the other two but sounded so good. At the end, all three combined on one song, playing various parts in their own style. A great show with great talent using the same instrument but playing diverse ways.)