Jean-Luc Ponty

Last Set, Vol. 3

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Before Jean-Luc Ponty switched to playing fusion, the young violinist was focusing very heavily on bop. His third LP with Trio HLP, also featuring drummer Daniel Humair and organist Eddy Louiss (both of whom had previously worked with Ponty), comes from a series of live performances at Cameleon in Paris taped in 1968. The somewhat over-modulated sound makes one think that this French disc is a bootleg. The disc opens with a slash-and-burn interpretation of Sonny Rollins' "Oleo," highlighted by Humair's long solo. Charles Mingus' strutting anthem "Nostalgia in Times Square" is primarily Ponty's vehicle, though it is mislabeled on the record jacket as Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island." The next title is identified as the aforementioned Mingus work, but it is neither "Nostalgia in Time Square" nor "Canteloupe Island"; it is the most far-reaching track on the album. The closing blues, "3 + 2 = 1," is by George Gruntz, with whom Ponty appeared on his rare Noon in Tunisia album. This cooking number gives equal solo space to all three players. Although a two-CD set drawn from the trio's sessions at Cameleon was issued by Dreyfus in 1997, only one track ("Oleo") was reissued from this LP. Serious fans of Jean-Luc Ponty will have their work cut out for them trying to track down this long unavailable French LP, as well as the two earlier volumes.

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