Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jimmy Ponder - 1974 - While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Jimmy Ponder 
While My Guitar Gently Weeps

01. I Who Have Nothing 7:00
02. While My Guitar Gently Weeps 3:48
03. When Sunny Gets Blue 5:58
04. 25 Or 6 To 4 5:23
05. Poinciana 5:01
06. Funky Situation 6:58
07. Peace Movement 9:19

Jimmy Ponder; guitar, writer
Roland Hanna: piano, electric piano
Jimmy Johnson: drums
Montego Joe: percussion
Hubert Laws: flute, piccolo
George Marge: oboe, flute, clarinet
Marvin Stamm: trumpet, flugelhorn
Tony Studd: trombone
David Nadien: violin
Joseph Malin: violin
Paul Gershman: violin
Emanuel Green: violin
Marvin Morgenstern: violin
Charles Libove: violin
Paul Winter: violin
Harry Lookofsky: violin
George Ricci:cello
Charles McCracken: cello
Bob Cranshaw: bass
Wilbur Bascomb: bass

An excellent guitarist with a soulful sound and the ability to uplift any funky jazz date, Jimmy Ponder has appeared on many recordings during his long career, over 80 as a sideman and 15 as a leader. Ponder began playing guitar when he was 14 and considers Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell to be his two main early influences and Wes Montgomery later on. Offered a job with Charles Earland after having only played guitar three years, Ponder waited until he graduated from high school and then spent three years with the organist's group, recording several dates with Earland. He worked and recording with Lou Donaldson, Houston Person, Donald Byrd, Stanley Turrentine, and Jimmy McGriff and in the early '70s moved to New York (from Philadelphia), leading his own groups. Ponder has since recorded as a leader in the 1970s for Cadet, ABC/Impulse, TK, CBS, and Toshiba, in the '80s for Milestone, and in the '90s for Muse and HighNote. In the 21st century his albums included Ain't Misbehavin' (2000), Thumbs Up (2001), Alone (2003), What's New (2005), and Somebody's Child and Solo: Live at the Other Side, both released in 2007.

My teenage son has recently got into the Beatles. Nothing wrong with that of course and the Fab Four are certainly an important part of a balanced musical diet. I however am old enough to remember the UK punk era of the mid-late 70’s when the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and similar “dinosaur” acts were suddenly about as fashionable as flared trousers.

At around the same time I started a lifelong love affair with (what was then called) black music: soul, funk, jazz, disco, reggae and the host of micro-genres that followed…so in those formative years the Beatles just never seemed particularly relevant to anything in my musical life. The fact that they were later worshiped by Oasis only helped to further distance me from them.

That said, the influence of Messrs Lennon and McCartney – and to a lesser extent Harrison – runs through popular music like lettering through a stick of seaside rock; meaning that fans of soul, reggae and (especially) jazz will have more than a few Beatles cover versions in their collection.

Which brings us nicely to Jimmy Ponders’ reading of the George-penned classic, While My Guitar Gently Weeps. From the 1974 Cadet LP of the same name, this is a brooding-but-funky outing and the rather abrupt fade-out only leaves us wishing for an extended, freakier version.

(500 miles high)

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