Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Cosmic Messenger

One of the venues I loved to see music at in San Diego was the the late Open Air Amphitheater at San Diego State. Long since torn down.

I saw so many great shows there including Little Feat with Lowell George, Stanley Clarke and this spectacular performer, Jean Luc Ponty. I think that the year was 1978. Memory is foggy but I think that I went to the show with my Scottish friend Pat Campbell and his then wife Terry.

What I remember the most was Ponty setting up an echoplex and repeating psychedelic violin notes into the ether for a seeming infinity. And an amazing guitar player accompanying him, Allan Holdsworth. Ponty may have played the new Enigmatic Ocean album that night.

Ponty played with so many great people, from Mahavishnu to Zappa, Dimeola to Corea, the French artist is a consummate player and performer, not afraid to push the boundaries. 

The late Holdsworth was equally innovative and brilliant. He lived quietly in North County, died of heart disease in 2017, he and Marc O' Conner vying for the local crown of greatest musician no one knew was around.

My friend Pat, who now lives in England, turned me on to a lot of great music, including Ponty and Gong and Ian Dury. Big influence on my musical taste, thankful for his friendship.


Blue Heron said...

Rock on Robert!

I remember that gig. You tried to blag us getting in by telling the guys on the gate I was JLP.
Possibly the one we drove to in 2 cars and passed the joint to Buzz on the freeway?
My favourite JLP show was at the La Paloma in Encinitas. Must have been the first time I saw him.
Immediate convert.. But I was a huge Holdsworth fan at that time so sure enjoyed that one too.
Also loved Tom Fowler on bass. Steurmer, the original guitarist went on to play with Genesis AFAIK.
Step backward or what?

I'm afraid I am in agreement with Jerry on his John McLaughlin assessment.
I had the"My Goal's Beyond" LP and loved that acoustic stuff.
Saw him with Mahavishnu in '74 but obvs can't remember a thing about it.
Went to see him again at the Brighton Dome early 2000s.
Now the Dome has one of the best acoustics of any venue I've ever been to.
It was all so twiddly that I had to leave half way through. Quite uncomfortable.
Why play three notes when you can play 33? Wasn't fun. Wasn't soulful. Wasn't funky.
Shame as I wanted to like it so much.
Love always

Blue Heron said...

Matter of taste I suppose. Johnny Winter was too fast and played too many notes for me. John McLaughlin was not.

Blue Heron said...

Saw J.L. Ponty with Mahavish....Sao Paulo /Montreaux Jazz fest, 1977. He shredded.

yes, Dylan, but don't forget Keith, tho' rumor has it that he's been dead for about 10 years, but still plays , somehow defying the laws of gravity