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Jean-Luc Ponty & His Band: The Acatama Experience

The career of French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, 64, is a tale of two lengthy phases. By his early 30s, he’d played with his hero Stephane Grappelli; recorded and toured with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa, and put an exclamation point on a 15-year solo career by recording his 1977 masterpiece Enigmatic Ocean. On his latest CD, The Acatama Experience, Ponty looks back to this youthful growth period, if only for a few minutes.

Guitarist Allan Holdsworth’s signature legato soloing on “Point of No Return” recalls the Enigmatic Ocean supergroup (Holdsworth, guitarist Daryl Stuermer, keyboardist Allan Zavod, bassist Ralph Armstrong and drummer Steve Smith). The rest of The Acatama Experience largely recalls the latest 30-year phase, during which Ponty transformed himself from an important cog to the wheel itself.

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