After ten years away from recording, Jerry Goodman returned at the height of the new age trend of the mid-'80s. The violinist, a former member of the Flock and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, fit right in on the Private Music label, which was devoted to new instrumental music played on electric as well as acoustic instruments, in contrast to the Windham Hill model of strictly acoustic instrumentation. (In 2000, Goodman's three-album Private Music catalog was licensed and reissued by One Way.) Fans of the original Mahavishnu lineup may have expected a jazz fusion effort with Goodman's amplified violin soaring above all; instead, On the Future of Aviation contains pop-style compositions in which individual virtuosity is only a part of the overall conception, and on which Goodman seems to be playing guitars and synthesizers as much as violin. But if this is not a fusion record, neither is it a typically laid-back new age album. Rather, it fits in with Private Music labelmate Yanni's approach to new age, lively synth-based instrumental pop that draws upon many musical styles to create a hybrid. The most striking piece is "Orangutango," which typically mixes a tango rhythm with jungle sounds, exotic percussion, and a buoyant melody. As long as listeners are willing to encounter a stimulating composer rather than the violin soloist of old, they will enjoy Goodman's return to active duty.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann