Jean-Luc Ponty recorded for a number of labels prior to his signing to Atlantic in the early '70s. He joined forces with Japanese keyboardist Masahiko Satoh, the great bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo, and drummer Motohiko Hino for this studio date. "Golden Green" is best known from his 1976 meeting with Stéphane Grappelli; this longer version features Ponty's expressive violin, an understated electric piano solo by Satoh, and the virtuoso playing of Pedersen, with Masuo sitting out. Both "Astrorama" and "Nuggis" were performed by Ponty the following year at the Berlin Jazz Festival, though on this session, they are joined in a long medley. "Astrorama" is a tense, slashing work that starts with a bluesy riff before launching into avant-garde territory. As they wrap the piece up with a thunderous flourish, the quintet segues directly into the brisk, funky "Nuggis," with Satoh and Masuo frequently playing unison passages with the leader. Satoh's original "And So On" finds him taking a long solo on grand piano with the rhythm section, with Ponty making a late entrance to engage in a fiery exchange with the composer. Astrorama will be of great interest to fans of Jean-Luc Ponty.
by Ken Dryden