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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

AndersonPonty Band Better Late Than Never

The album title refers to the fact that Jon Anderson (he of Yes fame) and Jean Luc Ponty have been discussing an album together for around thirty years and this finds them in the right places and at the right time. The result is fascinating but it takes some time to begin to get into.

To many, Jon Anderson has a Marmite voice. Some love his melodious vocals and sense of melody but others find his virtual falsetto annoying and uncomfortable. The reality is that with right material and the right partners he is magnificent but stray off that path and he is quickly deep in the mire.

Jean Luc Ponty is a musician of rare breadth. Capable of playing in the jazz, rock, Blues or classical worlds and a history that includes Frank Zappa, John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola as well as a massively successful solo and band career with his own jazz compositions but once again he needs to be playing with sympathetic musicians to bring out his best.

The rest of the band are brilliant players in their own right including Jamie Glaser on guitars, Wally Minko on keys, Baron Browne on bass and Rayford Griffin – the list of the artists these guys have played with would be longer than this article.

A lot of this album is sublime. Andserson's vocals are well matched to Ponty's range on the violin and as ever his compositions are superb.
Intriguingly, one of my favourite tracks is a version of Yes' 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' where Ponty's violin brings a huge rhythmic benefit to the track.
Ponty's own 'Mirage' gets a working over on 'Infinite Mirage' to great effect

When the pace slows, as on 'Wonderous Stories', it falters a little – moving this number into a jazz form doesn't quite hit the mark.


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