|Live At Chene Park|
|Produced by Jean-Luc Ponty|
|Released on December? 1996|
|US CONTEMPORARY JAZZ ALBUMS CHART POSITION #15|
|Find it at GEMM|
[high resolution scan]
I have to chuckle every time I hear the emcee’s hearty “Hell-ooo Detroit!” during the introduction. I mean, what’s Jean-Luc Ponty doing in Detroit? Then the opening “Infinite Pursuit” blasts out from the speakers and it dawns on me: he’s here to rock! I own more than a few Ponty albums, including many that represent the original source of these songs, and on none of them do Ponty’s backing band burst out like they do here. Baron Browne’s popping bass, Jamie Glaser’s intricate guitar lines and Michael Barsimanto’s drums leap out like underfed lions at the onset of this performance, and the result is truly electrifying. Of course, there is the inevitable warm ennui that comes from listening to Ponty’s music over a period of time; for me, it occurred with “Faith In You” and continued through to “After The Storm.” At this juncture, Ponty decides to flood the arena with “The Gift of Time,” and the result is pure transporting joy. The equally airy “Eulogy For Oscar Romero” follows, and the two create a calm oasis. Toward the close, Ponty rediscovers his earlier gusto with “Elephants In Love” (always a pleasure to hear) and “A Journey’s End.” It should be noted that the concert sticks to Ponty’s ‘80s releases, this despite being recorded in 1996. Browne is most familiar with this material (having appeared on the original albums), and it’s fair to say that Live At Chene Park is his shining moment with Ponty. Matching the violinst note for note on “Caracas,” running at full stride on “Infinite Pursuit,” Browne’s aggressive bass playing is beautiful to behold. While I wouldn’t call Live At Chene Park a must-own release (listening to live releases is like hearing your friends tell you what a great time they had without you), the suggestion by some critics that this is a dull performance is way off base. The studio albums might have sounded mechanical, but this performance manifests Ponty’s music in flesh and blood.
|82964-2 picture sleeve|
JEAN-LUC PONTY -- 5-string Zeta MIDI violin, 6-string Violectra
MICHAEL BARSIMANTO -- drums
BARON BROWNE -- electric bass
JAMIE GLASER -- electric guitar
CHRIS RHYNE -- keyboards
Peter Kelsey -- recording engineer
Michael O'Reilly -- mixing engineer
Brenda Rotheiser -- art direction & design
Claudia Ponty -- video stills
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