Jon Anderson, the 71-year-old singer-songwriter for English progressive rock giants Yes from its earliest days in London in 1968 until 2004, is touring for the first time with famed French fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty to form The Anderson-Ponty Band.
“This band is so incredible. These guys are so special,” Anderson said in a telephone interview from Detroit, where his new group was to perform that night.
They’re promoting their debut album, the live, 14-song “Better Late Than Never,” recorded at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado, in September 2014.
The album contains rearrangements of such Yes songs as “And You and I,” “Wondrous Stories” (the title song from the second LP), “Time and a Word,” as well as the biggies – “Roundabout,” and their only No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, 1983’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” The album also has instrumentals from Ponty’s catalog that have been enhanced with new lyrics from Anderson.
The band is showcasing those songs on the tour that stops on Nov. 20 at the landmark Art Deco Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Other songs will be “New Country,” perhaps Ponty’s most familiar tune, and “State of Independence,” from Anderson’s teaming with Greek electronic music keyboardist Vangelis.
Anderson first asked the 73-year-old Ponty about pairing up and making music four decades ago, when Ponty was touring with Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention in 1973. He tried again when Ponty was with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1975.
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