Individual Choice

Individual Choice

Jean-Luc Ponty's decision to gear his sound toward synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines on 1983's Individual Choice was perfectly in keeping with the musical zeitgeist, but it was a huge departure from his previous work. Sure, there'd been a fair amount of synth on his earlier albums, but it was mostly used in the context of freewheeling jazz-rock solos played by the likes of Allan Zavod or Chris Rhyne. Here, the synth lines are largely preprogrammed by Ponty for a complex electronic latticework that leans more toward Tangerine Dream than The Mahavishnu Orchestra. The same goes for the rest of the electronics that Ponty employs on Individual Choice. But for all his newfound fascination with electronic empowerment, he doesn't forget that he's a violinist first and foremost; the vibrant solo on the opening cut, "Computer Incantations for World Peace," makes that clear from the outset. He also shows he hasn't forgotten how to play with others, as contributions from guitar hero Allan Holdsworth and keyboard wizard George Duke expand the album's scope.

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