JEAN-LUC PONTY — Imaginary Voyage

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JEAN-LUC PONTY - Imaginary Voyage cover
3.51 | 14 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1976

Filed under Fusion
By JEAN-LUC PONTY

Tracklist

A1 New Country
A2 The Gardens Of Babylon
A3 Wandering On The Milky Way (Violin Solo)
A4 Once Upon A Dream
A5 Tarantula

Imaginary Voyage
B1 Part I
B2 Part II
B3 Part III
B4 Part IV

Total Time: 38:15

Line-up/Musicians

Electric Bass – Tom Fowler
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Daryl Stuermer
Keyboards [Electric], Piano [Acoustic] – Allan Zavod
Percussion – Mark Craney
Producer, Arranged By, Composed By, Violin [Electric, Acoustic], Organ, Synthesizer [Background Synthesizers] – Jean-Luc Ponty

About this release

Atlantic – SD 18195 (US)

Recorded at Kendun Studios, Burbank, California – July and August 1976

Thanks to js, snobb for the updates

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JEAN-LUC PONTY IMAGINARY VOYAGE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
"Imaginary Voyage" is just one of thousands of funk and progressive rock influenced jazz fusion records that came out in the mid-70s. The songs on this album are good and the musicians are excellent, but give it a spin and boredom is likely to set in before the album is finished. One of the first problems with this record is that it came out in 1976 instead of the earlier part of that decade. If this record had come out before '74 the music would have been fresh and innovative and it would have shown in the musician's playing. Instead, by '76 these guys had already been playing this style, or similar styles, in various bands for more than half a decade. The fact that these guys are on familiar territory shows in the spotless but risk-free solos.

Another problem with this record is the production. For some reason, as the decade wore on, producers felt a need to make jazz fusion into some sort of modern muzak, or fuzak as it has often been referred to. The compression on here is so tight that all the highs and lows in the volume have been taken out leaving a bland sameness. The equalization also aims for that washed-out middle ground. It's a shame because any attempt at high energy playing just doesn't come across on the speakers.

There are two songs on here that deserve special mention, one bad and the other good. "New Country" is the bad, it consists of a pounding disco beat topped with hoe-down fiddle music, need I say more. The good is "Imaginary Voyage" part II which is one of those mysterious Scriabin-like chord progressions that used to be popular with John McLaughlin and people who worked with him in the early 70s. This is a style of jazz-fusion that unfortunately has faded over the years.

This isn't a bad record, but it could have been a lot better if the producers hadn't tried to so hard to squelch everything, and if the musicians would have been willing to take a few risks.

Members reviews

Sean Trane
As with most of Ponty’s solo album (in the second part of the 70’s anyway), we are always dealing with a relatively soft jazz-rock , not far from ECM jazz but also not that far away from elevator music if the artiste is not careful with his musical intentions.

Apart from the highly problematic opener (meaning I hate it ;-) which is a disco-like jig, the album, this album is a typical Ponty album of the second half of the 70’s and has the same flaws as those: generally a directionless instrumental jam-like (although staying very concise) atmosphere but with some of the era’s synthesizers (which have aged much worse than their previous generations) and a sense of too little ideas stretched out too long creating a sense of déjà-vu. From the first side of the vinyl, I will single out Babylon and Milky Way as highlights, but none of the tracks (bar the opener) are anything else but good.

The second side is taken up by a frankly too-long 20-min title track with the better moments being the closing ones. The problem is that with this instrumental JR/F is that you are never really sure on which track you are unless you have played them albums countless times. Unfortunately for Jean-Luc, I get tired of the album quicker then I stop counting.

Certainly not his best album, but you could get into this one as well, as most of his albums from that period resemble each other. Nothing groundbreaking or essential, but pleasant if a little pointless; Désolé Jean-Luc, on en a un, on les a tous!

Ratings only

  • theaterd
  • KK58
  • Steve Wyzard
  • esset55
  • historian9
  • yair0103
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • Croteau
  • kostasprog
  • Zarathustra
  • Hawkwise
  • zorn1

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