Daniel Humair

Humair, Louiss and Ponty, Vol. 1

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Drummer Daniel Humair's name might be listed first on this double CD, and organist Eddy Louiss may be the dominant voice, but it is the inclusion of violinist Jean-Luc Ponty as part of the trio that really makes it quite historic. Recorded in Paris in 1968, the live set features Ponty at the beginning of his career, before he came to the U.S., teamed up with the George Duke Trio, joined forces with Frank Zappa, became part of the second Mahavishnu Orchestra and had his long string of fusion albums for Atlantic. Not quite 26 at the time, Ponty is featured on the date mostly playing standards including "You've Changed," "Summertime" (which is taken double time), "So What," "Bag's Groove" and "Oleo." Sometimes his violin sounds a little like a saxophone and it is clear, even at this early stage, that Ponty had a great deal of potential in jazz. Louiss' organ is fairly original, breaking away from Jimmy Smith to hint at the avant-garde and modal music in spots while always swinging. Humair is excellent in support. The program, never before available in the U.S., is quite intriguing and enjoyable. Since it is very doubtful that Jean-Luc Ponty can be persuaded to play straight-ahead jazz again (his musical tastes have long been elsewhere although his musicianship is still in prime form), this two-fer is a must for jazz violin collectors.

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