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John Pondel by John Pondel

Born in Chicago and raised in California, John Pondel began in music playing flute, accordion and clarinet. Later his older brother introduced him to the guitar at the age of 12. By the age of 20 Pondel was the first call guitarist for the Grammy winning Gerald Wilson Orchestra, playing with such legendary musicians as Harold Land, Snooky Young and Marshal Royal. As a studio musician and live jazz performer he has worked with most of the west coast luminaries including Tom Scott, Art Pepper, Al Jarreau, Warne Marsh and many others.

On his new self titled CD. he is playing with Scott Colley on bass, Marivaldo Dos Santos on percussion and David Binney on sax and flute. There is a relax mood all through this album, starting with the first tune "Make it Nice," a slow bossa with nice melodies and chord harmonies. Marivaldo percussion is subtle and perfect for this piece.

"Jake's Dilemma" has more of a samba feel. The light touch of John Pondel on guitar is a contrast to Scott powerful bass solo. The tune ends with a good exchange on bass and guitar before going back to the main theme. "Mr. Obvious" has a jazzy groove, but still with a Brazilian feel to it. The tune ends with excellent harmonized melodies on guitar and sax.

"HP" is a beautiful ballad with dreamy melodies on guitar, but the star on this one is Scott Colley with a deep, heartfelt bass solo. On "Waving not Drowning," the band return bossa groove of the first track. "Where the River Ends" is a relaxing tune with cool percussion work by Marivaldo Dos Santos. "The Jody Grind" is one of my favorites on this album, originally recorded in by Horace Silver. John Pondel version is almost as good as the original. Closing the album with energy, "In Ed Snipe Scott Colley" has the opportunity to shine again with his brilliant bass playing.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: John Pondel
  • CD Title: John Pondel
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Two for the Show Media
  • Tracks: Make it nice, Jakes Dilemma, Mr. Obvious, HP, Waving not Drowning, Where the river ends, The Jody Grind, Ed Snipe
  • Musicians: John Pondel (guitar), Scott Colley (bass), Marivaldo Dos Santos (percussion), David Binney (alto sax, flute)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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