Archive | December, 2015

YES LOG SUPPLEMENTAL LATE 2015: WHEN AN IMMOVABLE VIOLIN MEETS AN IRRESTIBLE VOICE: THE ANDERSON PONTY BAND

31 Dec

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ALSO “ALL ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE CRAZINESS OF STATS – THE CRAZINESS OF STATS II.”

This will be the special year-end experimental blog, while the laptop is away in the shop, I will be blogging about this off my tablet. Also, before heading over to some disclosed location near my aunt’s house in New Mexico, I’m going to try to improve on some of the images that I’ve posted in previously YES LOGS. Have you ever wondered who was the Susan Tamar Proper I mentioned in my 90125 YES LOG looked like? Well, through the magic of tablet wonders, I can finally take pictures of OLD pictures and post them up through here. ALSO I realize more than most, from private e-mails sent to me, that I have to update the Fragile and Relayer YES LOG entries to include the release of the Steven Wilson 5.1 surround sound updates. I have them both in my possession, and the Fragile one needs a whole new paragraph to itself, because it’s simply amazing with what Wilson has done with it, let alone finding those tasty long-buried treasures that go along with it as bonus tracks.

But that won’t be for a while, because I’m so scatterbrained sometimes that I forget where I leave the original materials.

 Back on November 20th, I took an impromptu risk of rushing straight from my office to the Saban Theater here in Beverly Hills, hoping my newest paycheck could take the strain of getting a ticket to the debut tour of Jon Anderson’s Marvel Music Team up Adventure with long time legendary violin play Jean-Luc Ponty in the formation of APB, and as luck would have it, there were plenty of balcony seats available and my wallet had no problem handling the weight of a nearly $70 ticket, plus whatever swag (ha ha, I got the last ball cap!!) was available since the tour was coming to a close the very next day of visiting my fair fine city.

Plus seeing Jon Anderson perform once again (of whom I haven’t seen since a solo show at the Roxy back in ’06) served an undeniable purpose: with the passing of Chris Squire earlier this summer. Who knows of what disaster or fatal consequences awaits around the corner for the rest of my musician heroes? All my heroes or people of whose works I’ve long admired are certainly reaching past the point of no return upon this mortal realm and I’m certainly duty bound to spend as much live time seeing them in performance as I possibly can. Just days ago, we lost a tremendous powerhouse of short story and teleplay proportions, George Clayton Johnson, who was the last surviving writer of the Twilight Zone series, as well as contributions to shows such as Star Trek and Kung Fu, and who is much lauded as the original visionary (along with William F. Nolan) of both classic movies, Ocean’s 11 & Logan’s Run. Gone on Christmas Day, he was a fan and supporter of my own comic book series, The Deposit Man, and I was lucky enough to had attend a 86th birthday party thrown in his honor at a mystery bookstore in Glendale, Ca.

So precious moments like those are hard to pass up. Make it a mission to spend as much quality time with your heroes as you possibly can. Jon Anderson has a remarkable gift and it’s almost humanly uncanny to have such amazing voice at his age as well still possessing the power to be one of humanity’s greatest role models. In an age strife with terrorism and crazed people embracing religious ideology as a tool for brainwashing, it’s refreshing that someone of such stature as Jon Anderson represents the perfect role model of peace and prosperity for those still willing to embrace it,….with a little help with some ganja from time to time.

Now Jean-Luc Ponty, I always heard of him, I’ve always known of his virtuoso status in the jazz rock community, but as far I was concerned, back in my day, Eddie Jobson was my hero of choice when it came to crazy violin tactics.

So let’s get some Wikipedia intel. shall we?

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Jean-Luc Ponty (born 29 September 1942) is a French virtuoso violinist and jazz composer.

Ponty was born into a family of classical musicians on 29 September 1942 in Avranches, France. His father taught violin, his mother taught piano. At sixteen, he was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, graduating two years later with the institution’s highest honor, Premier Prix (first prize). In turn, he was immediately hired by one of the major symphony orchestras, Concerts Lamoureux, in which he played for three years.

While still a member of the orchestra in Paris, Ponty picked up a side gig playing clarinet (which his father had taught him) for a college jazz band that regularly performed at local parties. It proved a life-changing jumping-off point. A growing interest in the jazz sounds of Miles Davis and John Coltrane compelled him to take up the tenor saxophone. One night after an orchestra concert and still wearing his formal tuxedo, Ponty found himself at a local club with only his violin. Within four years, he was widely accepted as the leading figure in “jazz fiddle.

At that time, Ponty was leading a dual musical life: rehearsing and performing with the orchestra while also playing jazz until 3 a.m. at clubs throughout Paris. The demands of this schedule eventually brought him to a crossroads. “Naturally, I had to make a choice, so I took a chance with jazz,” he says. Critic Joachim Berendt wrote that “Since Ponty, the jazz violin has been a different instrument,” of his “style of phrasing that corresponds to early and middle John Coltrane” and his “brilliance and fire.

At first, the violin proved to be a handicap; few at the time viewed the instrument as having a legitimate place in the modern jazz vocabulary. With a powerful sound that eschewed vibrato, Ponty distinguished himself with be-bop era phrasings and a punchy style influenced more by horn players than by anything previously tried on the violin; no one had yet heard anything quite like Ponty’s playing. Critics said then that he was the first jazz violinist to be as exciting as a saxophonist. Ponty’s notoriety grew by leaps and in 1964 at age 22 he released his debut solo album for Philips, Jazz Long Playing. Then a 1966 live album called Violin Summit united Ponty playing live in Basel, Switzerland on stage with such notable string players as Svend Asmussen, Stéphane Grappelli and Stuff Smith.

John Lewis of The Modern Jazz Quartet invited Ponty to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1967, which led to a U.S. recording contract with the World Pacific label and the albums Electric Connection with the Gerald Wilson Big Band and Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio. That year also brought Sunday Walk, the first collaboration between Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and Ponty. Through the late 60s and early 70s and throughout jazz-loving Europe, Ponty achieved mounting critical praise and ongoing popularity.

In 1969 Frank Zappa composed the music for Jean-Luc’s solo album King Kong (World Pacific). In 1972 Elton John invited Ponty to contribute to his Honky Chateau album. Within a year – at the urging of Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention who wanted him to join their tour – Ponty emigrated with his wife and two young daughters to America and made his home in Los Angeles. He continued to work on a variety of projects – including a pair of John McLaughlin Mahavishnu Orchestra albums and tours (Apocalypse and Visions of the Emerald Beyond) until 1975, when he signed on as a solo artist with Atlantic Records.

For the next decade Jean-Luc toured the world repeatedly and recorded 12 consecutive albums, all of which reached the Billboard jazz charts top 5 selling millions of LP phonorecord album copies. His early Atlantic recordings like 1976’s Aurora and Imaginary Voyage firmly established Jean-Luc Ponty as one of the leading figures in America’s growing jazz-rock movement. He went on to crack the top 40 in 1977 with the Enigmatic Ocean album and again in 1978 with Cosmic Messenger. In 1984 a video featuring time-lapse images was produced by Louis Schwarzberg for the song Individual Choice. Along with Herbie Hancock, Ponty also became one of the first jazz musicians to have a jazz (fusion) music video.

Besides recording and touring with his own group, Ponty also performed some of his compositions with the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Radio City Orchestra in New York, as well as with symphony orchestras in Montreal, Toronto, Oklahoma City and Tokyo. In the late 80s he recorded a pair of albums, The Gift of Time and Storytelling for Columbia.

On 1991’s Epic-released Tchokola, Ponty combined his acoustic and electric violins, for the first time, with the powerful polyrhythmic sounds of West Africa. He also performed for two months in the U.S. and Canada with a cast of African expatriates he had encountered on the Paris music scene. In 1993 Ponty returned to Atlantic with the album No Absolute Time. Working with American and African musicians, Jean-Luc expanded on the explorations of Tchokola with a moving and soulful result. “There is a whole scene in Paris of top-notch African musicians,” he says. “I was very curious and wanted to educate myself in these rhythms, which were totally new to my ears.”

In 1995 Ponty joined guitarist Al Di Meola and bassist Stanley Clarke to record an acoustic album under the name The Rite of Strings. This all-star trio also undertook a six-month tour of North America, South America, and Europe that earned them intercontinental critical praise.

Ponty regrouped his American band in 1996 for live performances following the release of a double CD anthology of Ponty’s productions for Atlantic Records entitled Le Voyage. One of these concerts was recorded in Detroit, Michigan, in front of 6000 fans. It was released in February 1997 by Atlantic Records under the title Live at Chene Park.

In 1997 Jean-Luc Ponty reassembled his group of Western and African musicians in order to continue pursuing the new style of fusion music that he had begun to explore in 1991. Together they toured for 3 years from the Hawaiian Islands to Poland and in North America as well as in Europe. Ponty also performed a highly acclaimed duet with bassist Miroslav Vitous in December 1999. In January 2000, he participated in Lalo Schifrin‘s recording with a big band, Esperanto. In June 2001 Ponty performed duets with Vadim Repin, the young Russian star of classical violin, and at the Film Music Festival in Poland with American jazz violinist Regina Carter.

In August 2001 Jean-Luc Ponty released his studio CD Life Enigma on his own label (J.L.P. Productions, Inc.), a return to his concept from the 70s with very modern production. Ponty played all the instruments on some tracks and was joined by his band members for performances on other tracks: William Lecomte (keyboards), Guy Nsangué Akwa (bass), Thierry Arpino (drums) and Moustapha Cissé (percussion). Ponty gave a successful concert with his band in his native town of Avranches (in the French province of Normandie) on 21 September 2001. He was also honored during a special ceremony at City Hall, gaining recognition from his compatriots. He then embarked on a successful concert tour in the USA in October–November 2001. In May 2001 Ponty recorded a concert with the same musicians at the opera house in Dresden, Germany. This recording was released in July 2002 on a CD entitled Live at Semper Opera (J.L.P. Productions, Inc. – Navarre Distribution in North America and Le Chant du Monde-Harmonia Mundi in Europe).

In January 2003 Jean-Luc toured India for the first time, seven shows in six major cities for the Global Music Festival organized by Indian violinist L. Subramaniam. Jean-Luc brought along his bassist Guy Nsangué Akwa; both performed with Subramaniam’s band and drummer Billy Cobham who was also a guest star on that tour. Ponty also did an extensive tour across the U.S.A. in the autumn.

In 2004 the PAL version of Jean-Luc Ponty’s first DVD In Concert was released in Germany (Pirate Records 202756-9), in France-Italy-Spain (Le Chant du Monde/Hamonia Mundi 974 1195). The NTSC version was also released in 2004 in North America (J.L.P. Productions, Inc./Navarre Distribution JLP 004). It contains a live concert with his band filmed in Warsaw in 1999, mixed in Dolby 5.1 surround-sound audio and released with bonus materials including an 11-minute film of travels and backstage scenes. In some countries, In Concert is also available on CD.

Jean Luc Ponty & His Group toured in 2004 in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Lithuania (and in Mumbai, India in their first concert as a complete ensemble). Ponty also performed on a reunion tour with Stanley Clarke and Al Di Meola as violinist in the Rite of Strings from June to October 2004 in the U.S. and Canada.

In 2005 Ponty toured with a new project called Trio! in collaboration with Stanley Clarke on double bass and Béla Fleck on banjo.

In 2006 Ponty reunited “Jean Luc Ponty & His Band” and toured in the U.S., Chile, Venezuela, Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, The Middle East and India; they also recorded a new studio album called The Atacama Experience with guitarists Allan Holdsworth and Philip Catherine performing on a few tracks.

In April 2012 Ponty reunited with guitarist Al Di Meola and bassist Stanley Clarke for the second set of a concert at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris to celebrate five decades in music. The first set featured Ponty with a string orchestra behind him. The concert was very well-received.

In September 2012 along with violinist Mark Feldman, Ponty co-produced the debut album of Scott Tixier, writing the liner notes for that Sunnyside Records release.

Jean-Luc Ponty has been an avid user of 5-string electric violins (with a low C string) since 1977. He sometimes also uses a 6-string electric violin called the Violectra, with both the low C and low F strings (not to be confused with the violectra he played from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s that had the usual 4 strings but tuned an very-unusual octave lower). Ponty was among the first to combine the violin with MIDI, distortion boxes, phase shifters, and wah-wah pedals. This resulted in his signature, almost synthesizer-like sound.

In 2011, Ponty was invited by bandleader/keyboardist Chick Corea to join the group Return to Forever for a series of concerts throughout the year. The group is labeled “Return to Forever IV,” as it is the fourth incarnation of the group. Ponty had first recorded with Corea on his 1976 solo album My Spanish Heart.

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Anyway, the show and the new album, Better Late Than Never were/are magnificent. The day after this extraordinary 3 hour live extravaganza let out, I went to seek out the album (I didn’t have it and my local store, FreakBeat Records here in Sherman Oaks had been sold out of it for some time) at various record store and finally latched onto a copy at Amoeba Records off the Sunset Strip. I never thought they would stop playing and both headliners showed amazing stamina (although I did hear that Anderson’s voice gave out at the very end of the next day’s final show) throughout. Some of the backing band had playing with Ponty for quite a while. Anderson gave a touching tribute to Chris Squire in a slightly darker version of “And You and I” that was punctuated in fine form by keyboardist Wally Minko. Anderson also demonstrated that he had a comedic side to him when every time Anderson would make light of ‘pilfering’ some of Ponty’s material off the internet so that he would write lyrics to them. The album and live show features brand new renditions of Yes classics, Roundabout, Wonderous Stories, Time & A Word,”Owner of A Lonely Heart” as well as some inventions of Ponty’s past material, a few new collaborations between Ponty & Anderson, as well, a new song composed by Anderson with both of his sons, called “I See You Messenger” which is quite catchy. Besides who better to sing “Owner of a Lonely Heart” than Anderson without making it sound too retro goofy? Seeing Jon Davison jump into it at every encore, let alone witness to see Steve Howe perform it at the current crop of Yes shows just doesn’t look, hear, and seem quite right.

The new latest album was recorded in Aspen, Colorado – which probably meant….

Yeah, you guessed it. Ganja. Plenty of LEGAL ganja to go around, as I can only surmise.

Now it’s time for the year-end round-up:

The stats. The craziness of stats.

I contributed 16 posts this years – although many did not click with most people. Some are here for the Yes party gatherings, the reminiscences of Harry Perzigian, and hopefully some remain to cling on to what I want to say about the television biz and the comic book shit I try to create for the world.

The top ten blog entries for 2015 are (not counting my Home page/ Archives & About pages:

  1. “One Mourning Later in the Extraordinary After of Harry Perzigian” had a whopping total of 563 individual reads. But I digress on this one, because it seems as this page is downloaded numerous times by friends and family member who knew Harry and just want to park their asses on it for all eternity, and then there are the naysayers who stumbled across it by Google searches waiting to settle old scores with enemies. There will be an annual blog on every April 29th in commemoration of Harry’s passing, OF THAT I guarantee you.
  2. YES LOG 2014: IF ONLY THESE SUBWAY WALLS BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH COULD TALK had a total of 133 reads this year. This was the blog that changed my life forever when I found my best friend convulsing like a flopping fish in his apartment, dying of cardiac arrest. It was also a sort of review of Chris Squire’s last musical foray with Yes.
  3.  YES LOG SUPPLEMENTAL 2015: WHERE HE WAS COMING FROM OR WHERE HE GOES, WE ONLY KNOW HE ALWAYS LEAVES US WITH SOUND – a total of 88 reads. A memoir of the passing of Chris Squire, the best bass player who has lived. Period.
  4. YES LOG 1979: YOU COULDA BEEN A GOLDEN AGE CONTENDER with a total of 56 reads. An imaginary what if story if the first collaboration between Roy Thomas Baker and the classic Yes line up saw fruition instead of having it scattered in bits and pieces across compilation albums and best of releases.
  5. YES LOG 1974: INVENT THE FUTURE THAT INVENTS THE HUMAN RACE- a total of 42 reads. Wow, last year, my reminiscence of my favorite all time Yes album on the bottom of the totem pole, this year, no doubt to more people being able to find the current Steven Wilson 5.1 mix, it’s gained some traction. Good, I’m glad.
  6. YES LOG 1989: AND AS THE VITAMIN PACKED VULTURES CIRCLE SLOWLY AROUND THE SOLANA BEACH SKY- a total of 32 reads. Nostalgic look back at the era of Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe, and dating my roommate’s gorgeous sister, Jennifer.
  7. YES LOG 1999: WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE SMOKING- YOU ALL MUST BE HIGH ON JUDAR RHYTHM- a total of 27 reads. Another nostalgic look at Billy Sherwood’s wonderful writing contribution to the Ladder album and the former movie star’s house I used to reside in Sherman Oaks.
  8. THE HEROES OF K-SCOPE MUSIC III: AKA GAZPACHO: THE PERFECT NORWEGIAN INGREDIENTS FOR A PERFECT PROG SOUP SERVED COLD: a total of 23 reads. Yes is not the only band I discuss on here. I have a passion for nearly every band on the Kscope Label, and the new Gazpacho album, “Molok” is indeed my number one album of 2015. I have another Kscope music entry for Bruce Soord and the Pineapple Thief in the blog pipeline to post. Watch for it next month.
  9. YES LOG 2011: STRAP IN FOR THE BUMPY BRENTWOOD RIDE with a total of 20 reads. An overview of Yes’s Fly From Here. NOT one of Harry Perzigian’s favorite Yes albums suffice to say.
  10. YES LOG EARLY 1972: TELL THE MOON DOG, TELL THE MONUMENT THAT FRAGILE IS HERE with a total of 19 reads. Yes, tell the March Hare that a new edition is near – with an update on the recent released Steven Wilson 5.1 surround sound remix along with some thoughts of what classic Yes album Steven Wilson should remix next year.

My blog received a total 2882 views all year round, beating last year’s total of 784 views.  Fuck, you do the math. I left my calculator at home.

My top ten countries of where I’m being read are:

USA – 1722 views

The UK – 186 views

Germany – 134 views

France – 118 views

Canada 98 views

Brazil – 64 views

Australia – 49 views

Netherlands – 30 views

The European Union – 25 views

and Russia – 24 views.

My top five referrers were:

Search Engines

Facebook

deadline

yelp

Goggle

Top five clicks:

WordPress.com

Wikipedia.org

dprp.net

bloovis.com/music/lamb.html

sandtheband.com

The top five subjects that people search for on my blog are:

harry perzigian

harry perzigian death

harry perzigian obituary

rikki howard

moving pictures of cunnilingus (HEY alright!!)

And there you have it, a vast improvement over last year’s offerings. Many good times to come in 2016: will be back with more Kscope Heroes, Yes stuff,  more Deposit Man secret stories, and we’ll finally be meeting a new character soon enough, courtesy of me and a new artist I discovered from Columbia who goes by the name of Rodolfo Valenzuela of which I’m very super excited to share with you all.

East Coast / West Coast Battle of the Smoothies

8 Dec

 Fruit-Smoothies

(Momentarily busy with comic book projects – so in order to feed the blog parking meter, here’s a special presentation of some annoying thing I used to do on the old Delphiforums – but rest assured there will be a couple of special year-end blogs detailing those special projects and one on my thoughts of the latest Anderson Ponty band concert I recently attended here in Los Angeles).

I hope no one’s teeth will start hurting after I start this thread:

But I want to explore the culinary habits of both coasts since I have lived my life split down the middle in New Jersey/New York and San Diego/Los Angeles.

There were times when I couldn’t pick a spot to settle down but now with my affirmation in employment currently vested at an entertainment company I don’t intend on making plans of flocking my trendy little nest any time soon.

LA, I’m here to stay unless those Al Quesdillas or whatever they’re calling themselves these days succeed in blowing the town to pieces, then I would have a big problem. (Editors’ update: keep watching this space.)

I want to examine the current rages in popular food delicacies. Would you think that it is strictly a west coast thing or an east coast thing? Mid-Westerners can chime in too.

Let me start with smoothies. Definitely a west coast thing. One of the deciding factors that contributed to my hauling ass out to the west coast was setting up shop close to a smoothie bar.

Because New Yorkers don’t know how to make the damn things.

Out here in LA, we have two major franchises that specialize in providing the enjoyment of a fresh fruit smoothies one is Jamba Juice: jambaLogo

http://www.jambajuice.com/

and the other is Dr.Robeks: logo

http://www.robeks.com/Library/Document01.asp?PT=D&PID=192

although I think they’re both one and the same because they use a lot of plain frozen non fat yogurt to give their smoothie products buoyancy and consistency. Both companies train their employees to make their delicious products as if it came off on an assembly line – they pour the juice into the blender, add the fruit, a couple of scoops of the frozen yogurt and some ice and they take it over and whip it in a variety of different ways, but I always enjoy it when the ‘associate’ has to beat the crap out of the blender in order to make it look like what just as you see it in the pictures. Sometimes the lid goes flying off and the smoothie goes flying all over the place. I usually find that hysterical because that means they’ve got to start all over again to make my smoothie. I’m easily amused by the petty misfortunes of others. I don’t why, guess I learned that from listening to Jackie the Jokeman.

Dr Robeks

Besides the smoothies, you can get nutrition bars, snacks, sandwiches, pretzels, and soups. Get a few shots of wheatgrass- but keep away from washing it down with a citrus drink, otherwise you’ll cancel out the work that the wheatgrass is supposed to do for your body.

You can also make smoothies out of peanut butter which reminds me of a little prank I know, but I don’t have time to get into that right here…but what really prompted me to bring up the subject of smoothies was this new item Dr. Robeks has introduced to their menu:

Pomegranate Juice and smoothies. Read about it here.

http://216.239.53.100/search?q=cache:NC6dXpLH8E8C:www.pomwonderful.com/flashsite/PDFs/NewsandPress/PressReleases/PR_2002_August.pdf+pomegranate+juice&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

Now I always thought that the Pomegranate was a villain that the Creeper once fought. However, it’s based on a russian fruit that you crack open and eat the little pebbles or seeds inside that contain the fruit. They taste tart like a cranberry. Heck, if you put them side by side, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, if was a cranberry or a pomegranate.

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But that doesn’t explain where Ditko got the idea to use the Pomegranate as a Creeper villain. Maybe Ditko was a little heavy into the antioxidants himself, and not the good kind either. (Editor’s note: sorry, I got it confused with the Hellgramite. IT was the Hellgramite that the Creeper used to fight. NOT the Pomegranate).

So have any New Yorkers had any positive ‘pomegranate ‘ experiences since this Pom Wonderful was introduced to the market? Are New Yorkers aware that there is such a product?