It took forever, but one of the best live fusion album's of all time is finally out on CD. Recorded in 1978, this landmark statement from electric violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and his hot band covers a batch of their essential tunes from the first few albums, with a stunning mix of progressive firepower and jazz subtlety.
Ponty's violin soars on the opening segment of "Aurora", which is soon followed by an extended bass solo from Ralphe Armstrong while the rest of the band digs into a dreamy groove. The two part suite is a joy to hear in a live setting, coming across even more mystical and symphonic than the studio version. Parts 3 & 4 of "Imaginary Voyage" is up next, littered with majestic flights from Ponty, a rich guitar solo from Joaquin Lievano, and some stunning Moog passages from keyboard player Allan Zavod. Part 4 goes for a driving rock feel, with a funky rhythm and Jamie Glaser's rampaging, distorted guitar solo, which is one of the highlights of the set. Some eerie synth passages and a virtuoso solo from Ponty finish off this piece. The intoxicating "Mirage" follows, another dreamy number that sees the band locked into a repeated rhythm while Ponty and Zavod take melodic solos. Speaking of solos, the violinist gets center stage on "No Strings Attached", an unaccompanied journey where his violin passages are all jacked up with digital delay and sequencers. You've never heard a violin solo like this one! The set ends with the complex fusion of "Egocentric Molecules", a real workout for drummer Casey Scheuerell, that also features some amazing solo spots for Lievano, Armstrong, and Ponty.
This is a must have for prog and fusion fans alike. Now you can cast aside that old LP or cassette, and enjoy this classic on CD for years to come.