Jean-Luc Ponty | The Acatama Experience – [Koch Records, 2007]
This is a very pleasant album! It’s a bit of a departure for Jean-Luc, in that it is much more of a straightforward free-form jazz album than any of his previous works. And, he did it in fine style! His performances on this album are excellent, as usual. And his personality (which has made most of his work shine in the past) is very clear and present in this work. It was nice to hear his old friend, British guitarist Allan Holdsworth perform with him again for the first time in over 20 years.
Even though Holdsworth only played on one song in this work, his original sound, touch and talent rang true in his performance. One pleasant surprise on this album was the inclusion of jazz guitar legend Phillip Catherine on 2 or 3 songs. I don’t think Catherine has ever played for Jean-Luc before. But, his cool, smooth electric guitar work added a saucy jazz flavor to the album. It was great to hear! Some of the songs could have been longer. The solos could have been a bit more extended.
But overall, this album is a refreshing and tasty release that is a necessary addition to anyone’s collection if you are a Jean-Luc Ponty fan! It is not a classic on the status of “Cosmic Messenger” or even the inventive “Individual Choice“….but believe me! This is an album you will enjoy very much! —D. Gorman