Thursday, October 22, 1987
The Michigan Daily
By Timothy Huet
Jean Luc Ponty's father must
have been both surprised and pleased
1 by his son's musical evolution. The
senior Ponty was one of the greatest
classical violinists in Europe and
trained his young son in the
tradition. The boy bloomed under the
cultivation of his father and soon
became a consummate classical
violinist. But as the younger Ponty
matured, he developed a penchant for
He has nurtured that penchant
into a prolific and celebrated career.
Ponty has become the most
accomplished artist among that rarest
breed of musician: jazz violinists.
Yet, he has never lost touch with his
roots. The demanding training of the
classical tutelage shows through
clearly in the precision and clarity of
Ponty's compositions. His music
blends these restrained classical
strains with the more free-flowing
elements of jazz and instinctual
rhythms of pop. To this mixture is
added the nuances and styles of
collaborative musicians of extremely
diverse backgrounds but consistently
The result is nearly impossible to
describe. This hybrid synthesis defies
standard categories of classification.
There is not yet, and may never be, a
vocabulary to convey this maverick
style. But it is not a style to be
dissected with a critic's formularized
jargon - it is a whole, seemless
These peculiarities add to the tra-
ditional difficulty a writer encounters
in attempting to communicate the
nature of an instrumental work. The
musician's instrument explores areas
that are inaccessible to the critic's
pen. Rather than bastardizing an
artist's work, a critic must satisfy
herself of himself with portraying
the music's effect.
The effects of Jean Luc Ponty's
work are as various as the influences
per-ceptible in his music. Some of
the more pulsating jazz pieces can
infuse one with a nervous energy.
The more classical, serene
compositions can cleanse listeners of
this energy and seduce them into a
hypnotic trance. Listening to a
Ponty album is to venture upon an
aural and emotional journey with
many turns and twists.
But, alas, one cannot express the
ineffable. To partake of the
experience at its most subtle, one
should witness the master live
tonight at 7:30.
Ponty will be
the Power Center
Tickets are $16.50.
Jean Luc Ponty expanded the realm of the violin by incorporating it with
Clinton cuts with a feminist edg
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