a reader in the U.S. | 11/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Much like Anders, I am not an impartial observer when it comes to James Willis Ponder. Having said that, this CD does groove with Pittsburgher Gene Ludwig at the Hammond organ...and Cecil Brooks III plays flawlessly throughout. It topped out the Jazzweek chart at #9. My only "beef" with this one has to do with the fact that this was recorded 3 years ago, and it is not neccesarily what is new. Yes, by the way, there is a recording with Jimmy, Greg Bandy, Jeff Grubbs, Howard Alexander, Tony DePaolis, and more "in the can". This will wait while "What's New" has its deserved day in the sun and be ready for release on High Note in early '07 . In the meantime DIG THIS! AND DIG JIMMY'S OTHER RECORDINGS, TOO."
Heart & Soul by a compassionate groovemaster
Anders Jonasson | Bankeryd Sweden | 09/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a one of the most persistant Ponderfans,I must admitt that this review is by no means objective.
This recording been sitting in the can for 3 years that is a shame.Here Ponder is joined by drummer Cecil Brooks III who has been on many earlier Ponder recordings and by Hammond B3 veteran Gene Ludwig. Ludwig is a very solid player and he sounds the way hammondB3 should sound in a jazz context he is very respected in the souljazz community but perhaps yet somewaht unknown to the general jazz audience....Ludwig might not have the same hypnotic beat and groove like Dr Lonnie Smith who also plays with Ponder)but he and Ponder is sure groovin along together. Regarding Dr Lonnie...Jimmy once said that Dr Lonnie is so good that it is scary!!!
Ponder is at his best here...bluesy single lines..lyrical octaveplaying..beautiful chordal playing..by the way Ponder is one of the very few if not the only that can play both downstroke and backstroke with his thumb.
Some of the tunes are
TNT-typical Ponder groove blues
Polka Dots & Moonbeams-played beautifully..
God Bless the Child-who on earth would play this "ballad" in a swing groove version..well Ponder did..he did the same thing with Jobims bossa "Wave" on an earlier recording...this works nicely and in fact here is one of Ponders most groovy solo.
Whats New- Just some beautiful unbeleiveable guitarplaying he is ending his solo with an outstanding chordal solo
I know that Jimmy and Doug has some new recording in the pipeline shortly....that is something to look forward to as well. Amen!!