Jean-Luc Ponty “Imaginary Voyage”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#1028 in the Series) is Jean-Luc Ponty, Imaginary Voyage.

Some people might not realize how popular jazz-fusion was from the early 70s to early 80s. Acts like Jean Luc Ponty, Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Brand X, Jeff Lorber, Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Passport, Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour and Shadowfax were all over the place. Cripes, Spyro Gyra was a house hold name! (I was a bigger fan of “Spyrograph” myself)

It was really a fun time. Jean Luc Ponty was one of the leaders in this genre.  He was popping them out like crazy while playing in bands along the likes of Frank Zappa and the previously mentioned Mahavhishnu Orchestra.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand it’s still alive and well. My viewpoint being based around the fact that rock and roll radio embraced the sound much more easily during that time period. So it had a much better chance being heard.

I had the chance to interview him in 1983 when I was writing for Night Rock News Magazine. I don’t remember much of the conversation. I’m trying to find a copy of my piece. I do remember one quote! We were discussing a television special he had just recorded.  It was called ‘Fiddlers Three’ and featured Ponty along with Stephane Grappelli and Doug Kershaw.

Grappelli was quite the talent. Dougponty1 Kershaw, however, was more of a free-wheelin’ country fiddler. His quote was “Doug Kershaw couldn’t really play.” I could see he enjoyed playing with Stephane but he had no use at all for Kershaw.  It was a funny moment.

Enjoy some of the videos in the playlist below.  I was able to dig up most of side one and part of the side two suite.

Please note that the guitarist in them is a young Daryl Stuermer. He of course is the long time tour guitarist with Genesis.

Lastly, this, as are many of the page’s write ups were inspired by my late dear friend Jim ‘Hoss’ Gartland.  Good ol’ Hoss knew music but he never got a name right.  For years he’d refer to him only as ‘Luke Ponty.’ He really thought that’s what his full name was.  He had a way!

— Larry Carta

Track listing

All songs by Jean-Luc Ponty.

Side one

  1. “New Country” – 3:07
  2. “The Gardens of Babylon” – 5:06
  3. “Wandering on the Milky Way” – 1:50
  4. “Once upon a Dream” – 4:08
  5. “Tarantula” – 4:04

Side two

  1. “Imaginary Voyage” – 19:55
    • “Part I” – 2:22
    • “Part II” – 4:05
    • “Part III” – 5:28
    • “Part IV” – 8:00


  • Jean-Luc Ponty – electric and acoustic violins, organ, background Synthesizers
  • Daryl Stuermer – electric and acoustic guitars
  • Allan Zavod – electric keyboards and acoustic piano
  • Tom Fowler – electric bass
  • Mark Craney – percussion


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Posted by Larry Carta

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