A1-80098 Individual Choice
Produced by Jean-Luc Ponty
Released on August 1983
US CHART POSITION #134 . . . US JAZZ ALBUMS CHART POSITION #2
. . . US JAZZ ALBUMS CHART POSITION #8 (1984)
Find it at GEMM
A1-80098 cover  

B eginning with Individual Choice, Jean-Luc Ponty chose to make most of the music himself. Doubling on violin and synthesizers, he combines icy but invigorating musical patterns with warm melodies. In theory, the music stays true to earlier Ponty albums, but in practice this is lighter and (in some ways) more immediate than a Cosmic Messenger or Mystical Adventures. Ponty is joined sparingly by familiar guests, including George Duke, Allan Holdsworth and the rhythm section of Rayford Griffin and Randy Jackson. Even in these cases the music remains mechanical, a synergy of sounds that seems to emanate from a single source. Individual Choice streamlines Pontyís patented approach to music; some listeners found the change refreshing and accessible, others cold and predictable. Me, Iíd pick a little from column A and column B: predictably refreshing. That said, Ponty does depart from his established idiom with the atmospheric ďEulogy To Oscar Romero,Ē which is more in line with the music of Vangelis. Despite the move toward computerfusion, Individual Choice will still connect with Pontyís legion of listeners. Itís an evolution of economy rather than a change of direction, the same destination but a new mode of transportation. This sort of fusion does bring new age into the equation, but Pontyís musical optimism likely resonated with new age listeners already. (I know this writeup is on the short side, but Iím running out of adjectives for Ponty.)

And later that same lifetime... Iíve decided there may be merit in periodically returning to the review for post-assessment, so here I am in the middle of June, oh for. The preceding captures many of the right adjectives, sometimes in the wrong order. Everything here does emanate from a fixed point (ponty), and it is effervescent computerfusion, an Om of elation broken into a mosaic or puzzle of well-defined pieces. Iíd ignore the rating on this one too; either you like Pontyís music or you donít, in which case Individual Choice supports that choice.

A1-80098 back cover
A1-80098 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. COMPUTER INCANTATIONS FOR WORLD PEACE    5:40
  2. FAR FROM THE BEATEN PATHS    5:58
  3. IN SPIRITUAL LOVE    7:00
  4. EULOGY TO OSCAR ROMERO    2:34
  5. NOSTALGIA    5:00
  6. INDIVIDUAL CHOICE    4:56
  7. IN SPITE OF ALL    5:57

    All music composed and orchestrated by Jean-Luc Ponty

CREDITS

JEAN-LUC PONTY -- synthesizers, violin, keyboard bass, rhythm computer, organ
George Duke -- mini-moog solo (3)
Rayford Griffin -- drums, percussion
Allan Holdsworth -- guitar (5,7)
Randy Jackson -- bass (2,7)
Peter R. Kelsey -- recording and mixing engineer
Gary Skardina -- drums recording
Bob Defrin -- art direction
Mark Hanauer -- photography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK 1983 Polydor LP POLD 5138  
US August 1983 Atlantic LP/CS 80098  
GER 1983 Polydor LP 817 189  
JPN 1983 Polydor LP 28MJ 3364 w. insert
US July 1987 Atlantic CD/CS 80098  

 

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