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Ponga

Pongá

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Album Review

Entirely improvised from start to finish, this collection of what were essentially jam sessions (both live and in the studio) captures some moments of extremely heavy jazz. On Ponga, fusion giants Wayne Horvitz (keyboards) and Bobby Previte (drums) are joined by two relatively upstart Seattle musicians Skerik (sax) and Dave Palmer (keyboards). All four players had credible resumés when Ponga was assembled in the late '90s, but nothing they had done (especially recently) suggested the power and rare musicality of this eponymous debut. The music is difficult to describe and the word fusion comes to mind most often, but with so much wrongheaded jazz and barely salient prog titles often listed under the lowly rubric, well, it wouldn't be a fair description. The minimal "Awesome Wells" is a standout only for its spacious, bluesy texture that effectively gives the listener a break from the full-tilt progressive and noisy jazz that comes before and after. Cacophonous but utterly musical, Ponga is first-rate funk, experimental racket, and free jazz combined into one righteous package.

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Ponga, Pongá
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