Title - 'Better Late Than Never' (CD + DVD)
Artist - The Anderson Ponty Band
Yes, you heard it correctly! Two music icons have combined their musical talents to form a brand new supergroup - The Anderson Ponty Band! YES's original singer/songwriter for 35 years, Jon Anderson, who has also had a very successful solo career, has joined forces with international violin superstar Jean-Luc Ponty; himself a pioneer and undisputed master of his instrument in the arena of jazz and rock, to bring forth Better Late Than Never.
Better Late Than Never also showcases rearrangements of classic YES hits like 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart', 'Roundabout' and 'Wonderous Stories', as well as some of Jean Luc Ponty's beloved compositions, with Jon's lyrical vocals and melodies enhancing the music and creating a very special and unique sound - such as 'Infinite Mirage', a new song incorporating Jean Luc's classic tune 'Mirage'.
Together these two music legends have formed a musical synergy that is unparalleled here on Better Late Than Never. The double disc Digipak includes the 14 track audio CD, an hour long 10 song performance DVD (including artist interviews) and a 20 Page Booklet.
Listening to this new album, it's immediate that it is both an old school flashback and and up to date, refreshingly new collection of songs, all at the same time. After the 'Intro,' we move swiftly into 'One in the Rhythms of Hope,' a perky track that ebbs and flows on the undercurrent of a Caribbean wave, before the light and airy 'A For Aria.' But it's the arrival of the stunning, truly incredible, and fresh (oh so fresh) 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' that makes this new album ooze the quality that you know should be there regardless. It starts differently, to a point, acoustically, in a manner of speaking, before going through the usual music and vocal moments, but towards the end, well, it is spectacular. Anderson's vocals are not as far reaching as they once were for such a track, but the way he handles this song is pure musical brilliance to the art form. The quietly pensive 'Listening With Me' is next, and once again allows Anderson's current vocal range to come to the fore beautifully.
The Caribbean flavor comes fuller back on the 1969-reflections, 'Time and A Word,' a track that sinks its teeth right into the sand and sea culture of that far away region. The violin-inspired romp 'Infinite Mirage' is another delightful track, and one that embodies exactly what this new album, this collaboration of two of the world's ultimate musicians obviously set out to accomplish. Regarded as an innovator who has applied his unique visionary spin that has expanded the vocabulary of modern music, Ponty's worth is shown to the max on 'Soul Eternal,' but the dulcet tones of piano combined with acoustic guitar on 'Wondrous Stories' ensure that the track will become an instant favorite - again - with you, trust me.
Along with Anderson and Ponty are Baron Browne (bass), Jamie Glaser (guitars), Rayford Griffin (drums and percussion), and Wally Minke (keyboards), and together they - as The Anderson Ponty Band - come together stunningly on the simplistic 'And You And I.' The heavily violin and piano-orchestrated live track 'Renaissance of the Sun' is next and is itself backed by the superb, feisty new APB rendition of 'Roundabout.' As we head to the conclusion of the album, the fun, bouncy 'I See You Messenger' is yet another delightful cut, and then the album is finally brought to a close with the emphatic 'New New World.'
FYI: Now, just so we have this clear, APB's guitar player, Jamie Glaser, did ask all the fans of the band NOT to purchase an earlier-released version of this incredible album on Frontiers Records. That has since been withdrawn from circulation and so this one IS being sanctioned by the band. So, breathe easy, all you APB fans.