Released by: EarMusic
Release date: 25th September 2015
Genre: PROGRESSIVE ROCK
Jon Anderson – Vocals
Jean Luc Ponty – Violin
Jamie Glaser – Guitars
Wally Minko – Keyboards
Baron Browne – Bass
Rayford Griffin – Drums and percussion
02. One in the Rhythm of Hope
03. A for Aria
04. Owner of a Lonely Heart
05. Listening with Me
06. Time and a Word
07. Infinite Mirage
08. Soul Eternal
09. Wonderous Stories
10. And You and I
11. Renaissance of the sun
13. I See You Messenger
14. New New World
When I first learned of the union between Jon Anderson and Jean Luc Ponty I was intrigued to hear what these two master musicians would conjure up, but I was sceptical… As it happens, this album Better Late Than Never couldn’t be more aptly titled.
I was interested to note that Jean Luc Ponty was initially approached by Jon Anderson regarding collaboration at some point in the 80’s and after listening to it, I am surprised that it has taken them until 2015 to produce this masterpiece. I am unaware of when exactly the prospect of the two working together was first suggested, and what other projects they were involved in at the time and while I am delighted that it has finally come to fruition, I can’t help wondering what musical brilliance we may have missed out on in the interim.
Violin master Jean Luc Ponty perfectly complements Jon Anderson’s unique voice and musical style. Anderson’s voice, which is instantly recognisable is sounding fantastic and the enthusiasm they have working together is clearly expressed in the music.
Five Yes songs have been covered and “jazzed up” on this album including an amazing version of Roundabout but perhaps predictably, my favourite of these covers is Owner of a Lonely Heart. I listened to it in trepidation as the original is an absolute classic, but so is this. The addition of violin on this track only adds to its brilliance.
Although this release is generally Progressive Rock (and that’s a loose enough term in itself), there are vague elements of Jazz going on here. The track Time in a Word has a bit of a jazz-reggae fusion, which seems a bizarre concept, but it works, they are having fun with this… There is also a verse of The Beatles “She Loves You” thrown in for good measure.
Infinite Mirage is a new track based on a classic tune by Jean Luc Ponty, a melodic song, it is possibility the best demonstration on this album of Jean Lucs’ superior ability and natural affinity with the violin.
Other highlights for me are One in the Rhythm of Hope and Listening With Me; both songs have captivating lyrics, gentle percussion and exquisite violin. This is easy listening but deep thinking music.
While Jon Anderson and Jean Luc Ponty have had the vision to undertake this project, the high calibre of all the musicians involved in the production must be noted, the compositions are simply stunning. There are no weak tracks here, this album gets a big yes from me and I hope the next one is not so late in coming…
The Anderson Ponty Band will be commencing a world tour this autumn.
Written by: Karen Hetherington