Thursday, September 29, 2022

Open Strings Eternal: Jean-Luc Ponty 80

Jean-Luc Ponty - Flipping, pt.1

All righty then, it's time we wrapped up September -- and said "so long" to summer -- with this milestone Maestro's big b'day.

He's been around a long, long time, and in the process he's become perhaps the premier exponent of his instrument in this era.

Beginning in the mid-1960s, he brought a kind of be-bop tinge to his phrasing that almost instantly and singlehandedly brought the violin into the post-bop era.

He first recorded with legends Stuff Smith and Stephane Grappelli, but quickly fell into a partnership with Frank Zappa, who would influence him to emigrate to the US.

Recordings with FZ and as a leader followed, and eventually he ended up as part of Zappa's touring group for a time in 1973.

Of course he wouldn't be Zappa if he didn't lose his best players to bigger, more commercially successful bands, so it was inevitable that our birthday boy would split Zappa to join John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1974.

Then he made more records as a leader, and immediately became too huge to be someone else's violinist any longer.

He's led his own multi-platinum bands ever since, and for a time was the rare Jazz artist whose music could cross over to more lucrative pastures on the charts and so forth.

He's still at it, and as far as I know he still tours and records both on his own and with others, playing with everyone from Return to Forever to Jon Anderson.

We shall celebrate the colossus of the violin, Mr. Jean-Luc Ponty, on his big day with a big set that is nearly 50 years old and was in need of a refresh.

This one has circulated for a long time with all sorts of flaws, so I took the time this past week to freshen it up and set it into a more listenable, less bootleggy state.

In addition to JLP, watch out for keys whiz Jasper van't Hof, who just blows up the room using only an electric piano and some sort of organ for dynamite sticks.

Jean-Luc Ponty Quartet
Die Glocke
Bremen, Germany
01 Circles/Open Strings
02 How Would You Like to Have a Head Like That?
03 Flipping, pt. 1
04 Flipping, pts. 2 & 3

Total time: 1:05:36

Jean-Luc Ponty - violin 
Jasper van't Hof - keyboards
Henry Texier - bass
Aldo Romano - drums

mono FM reels from an unidentified WDR broadcast
somewhat declicked, volume adjusted and retracked -- with some dropouts repaired -- by EN, September 2022
301 MB FLAC/direct link

So there goes September with five white guys! I'll return in a couple of days to put the deep freeze on that pattern... as the great Don Cornelius might say, you can bet your last money on it.

Now head over to the big archive folder and listen to Jean-Luc -- born this day in 1942 -- make it so for these 65 minutes of funky fusioneering, will ya?--J.


  1. Thank you so much for this and for your Miles Davis Tokyo 1975 Remaster, which I've been playing a lot.

    1. you're welcome

      don't tell anyone, but this version of Miles 1.22.1975 is better, best and least lossy one that exists thusfar:

    2. What a wonderful surprise! Thank you EN!