It took 30 years but Jon Anderson of Yes and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty have finally cleared their schedules long enough to work on an album together.
This collection fuses Anderson’s vocal style with Ponty’s violin. It’s a curious blend of Yes classics and new compositions, laced with themes from Ponty’s Enigmatic Ocean and A Taste For Passion.
Former Ponty guitarist Jamie Glaser returns with Wally Minko on keys, Baron Browne on bass, and Rayford Griffin on drums. The Yes tracks include “Roundabout,” “Owner Of A Lonely Heart,” and “Wonderous Stories.” Anderson sings better than ever with well-earned maturity, playfulness, and richness. The band displays humanity and power as Ponty’s celestial violin soars and punctuates exquisitely.
The abundance of covers may induce chronic eye rolling. Ponty also recycles “Renaissance” from The Rite of Strings, but each artist adds flavor to the other’s work, as on “Infinite Mirage.” “One In The Rhythm Of Hope” combines these thumbprints to create something fresh. Of special note is the superb playing of unsung guitar veteran Jamie Glaser.
A clean slate would have proved more interesting, but Better Late Than Never is pleasingly familiar.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s March ’16 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.
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