King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Not just an album of interpretations, King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa was an active collaboration; Frank Zappa arranged all of the selections, played guitar on one, and contributed a new, nearly 20-minute orchestral composition for the occasion. Made in the wake of Ponty's appearance on Zappa's jazz-rock masterpiece Hot Rats, these 1969 recordings were significant developments in both musicians' careers. In terms of jazz-rock fusion, Zappa was one of the few musicians from the rock side of the equation who captured the complexity -- not just the feel -- of jazz, and this project was an indicator of his growing credibility as a composer. For Ponty's ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Not just an album of interpretations, King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa was an active collaboration; Frank Zappa arranged all of the selections, played guitar on one, and contributed a new, nearly 20-minute orchestral composition for the occasion. Made in the wake of Ponty's appearance on Zappa's jazz-rock masterpiece Hot Rats, these 1969 recordings were significant developments in both musicians' careers. In terms of jazz-rock fusion, Zappa was one of the few musicians from the rock side of the equation who captured the complexity -- not just the feel -- of jazz, and this project was an indicator of his growing credibility as a composer. For Ponty's part, King Kong marked the first time he had recorded as a leader in a fusion-oriented milieu though Zappa's brand of experimentalism didn't really foreshadow Ponty's own subsequent work. Of the repertoire, three of the six pieces had previously been recorded by the Mothers of Invention, and "Twenty Small Cigars" soon would be. Ponty writes a Zappa-esque theme on his lone original "How Would You Like to Have a Head Like That," where Zappa contributes a nasty guitar solo. The centerpiece, though, is obviously "Music for Electric Violin and Low Budget Orchestra," a new multi-sectioned composition that draws as much from modern classical music as jazz or rock. It's a showcase for Zappa's love of blurring genres and Ponty's versatility in handling everything from lovely, simple melodies to creepy dissonance, standard jazz improvisation to avant-garde, nearly free group passages. In the end, Zappa's personality comes through a little more clearly his compositional style pretty much ensures it, but King Kong firmly established Ponty as a risk-taker and a strikingly original new voice for jazz violin.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/13/1993
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • UPC: 077778953920
  • Catalog Number: 89539
  • Sales rank: 32,801

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jean-Luc Ponty Primary Artist, Violin, Electric Violin, Track Performer, Baritone Violin
George Duke Piano, Electric Piano
Gerald Wilson Conductor
Harold Bemko Cello
Donald Christlieb Bassoon
Gene Cipriano English Horn, Oboe
Gene Estes Percussion, Vibes
Frank Zappa Conductor, Track Performer
John Guerin Drums
Buell Neidlinger Bass
Milton Thomas Viola
Art Tripp Drums
Ian Underwood Conductor, Tenor Saxophone
Ernie Watts Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Vincent DeRosa French Horn, Descant
Technical Credits
Leonard Feather Liner Notes
Richard Bock Producer
Frank Zappa Arranger, Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Every Zappa fan needs this one

    Zappa was very much involved with this album and much of his work is not credited in the notes. Jean-Luc and Frank create a magical instrumental offering of Franks compositions.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews