Music Discoveries of the Week - JazzWax

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May 22, 2012


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Ponty had a varied musical history, moving from bop, to free jazz, to fusion, collaborating with people like George Duke and Frank Zappa before joining McLaughlin and then forming his own jazz-rock band. He then moved to a sequencer based music (new age fusion?) before collaborating with London-based African musicians on projects such as the "Tchokola" album, which contains some of his most satisfying work.

Bill Kirchner

One of the great unsung jazz records of the 1960s was Ponty's 1967 "Sunday Walk" (MPS) with pianist Wolfgang Dauner, bassist Niels-Henning Orsted-Pedersen, and drummer Daniel Humair. It was one of the earliest signals that European jazz had fully blossomed and that Europe finally had rhythm sections that were on a par with the very best American ones.

"Sunday Walk" was later licensed in the U.S. by Prestige and issued as "Critic's Choice."


Willie's new album is brilliant, and the highly jazzy "My Window Faces the South" might be the cherry on top. Willie has always been a wanderer between the genres, think of his blues collaboration with Wynton Marsalis four years ago, or remember the tender "Stardust", his 1978 declaration of love to American popular song.

John Cooper

The Pratt Brothers - a cover made for radio.

Rab Hines

A nice, eclectic selection Marc, thank you.

Little Willie John - a perennial favorite around here - brings to mind an excellent and underknown work by a recent Jazzwax feature; James Brown.

If any of your readers can get hold of Brown's 1968 release "Thinking About Little Willie John and a Few Nice Things" on the King label, I think they'll find it worth the effort. It hasn't been issued on CD to the best of my knowledge.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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