King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa
Studio album by Jean-Luc Ponty
Released May 25, 1970
Recorded October 6–7, 1969 at Whitney Studios, Glendale
Genre Jazz fusion, Avant-garde jazz
Length 43:42
Label World Pacific/Liberty
Producer Richard Bock
Jean-Luc Ponty chronology
Electric Connection
King Kong
Open Strings
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
All About Jazz (favorable)[1]
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]

King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (or simply King Kong) is an album by French jazz fusion artist Jean-Luc Ponty first released in 1970 on Liberty Records' World Pacific Records subsidiary label and later released on Blue Note. The album contains numerous selections Zappa had previously recorded either with the Mothers of Invention or under his own name, including:

In addition, the track "Music For Electric Violin And Low Budget Orchestra" includes the themes from "Duke of Prunes", from Absolutely Free, and "Pound for a Brown", from Uncle Meat.[3] Zappa excised those themes, and everything that followed them, when he later recorded the piece himself under the title "Revised Music For Guitar And Low-Budget Orchestra", which was first released on his 1978 album Studio Tan.

George Duke, who would eventually join Zappa and Ponty in the Mothers, is featured on piano on all tracks. Ernie Watts is featured on alto and/or tenor saxophone on tracks 2, 3, 4, and 6. Zappa himself plays guitar on track 4, and Mothers members Ian Underwood (tenor sax) and Art Tripp (drums) contribute on track 1, 5, and 6.


Rolling Stone's Bob Palmer called it "one of the most rewarding and boundary-obliterating collaborations" and said "Zappa, donning his Jazz Composer - Arranger suit, emerges as a first-rate practitioner of the art: his previous lack of acceptance by the jazz community is probably due to the same bizarre touches that endear him to his younger audiences. Here he is reminiscent of Charles Mingus, not musically (except for the Mingus-like melody and violin-tenor voicing of "Twenty Small Cigars") but in the way he examines and finds new expressive possibilities in his earlier pieces, and combines them with new music that refers to wide areas of experience without centring in any one stylistic bag."[4]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Frank Zappa unless otherwise noted.

Side One[edit]

  1. "King Kong" – 4:54
  2. "Idiot Bastard Son" – 4:00
  3. "Twenty Small Cigars" – 5:35
  4. "How Would You Like to Have a Head Like That" (Jean-Luc Ponty) – 7:14

Side Two[edit]

  1. "Music for Electric Violin and Low-Budget Orchestra" – 19:20
  2. "America Drinks and Goes Home" – 2:39


  • Jean-Luc Ponty – electric violin, baritone violectra
  • Frank Zappa – guitar
  • George Duke – piano, electric piano
  • Ernie Watts – alto and tenor sax
  • Ian Underwood – tenor sax
  • Buell Neidlinger – bass
  • Wilton Felder – Fender bass
  • Gene Estes – vibraphone, percussion
  • John Guerin – drums
  • Art Tripp – drums
  • Donald Christlieb – bassoon
  • Gene Cipriano – oboe, English horn
  • Vincent DeRosa – French horn, descant
  • Arthur Maebe – French horn, tuben
  • Jonathan Meyer – flute
  • Harold Bemko – cello
  • Milton Thomas – viola

Production notes[edit]

  • Richard Bock – producer
  • Frank Zappa – arranger, composer, conductor
  • Gerald Wilson – conductor
  • Ian Underwood – conductor
  • Leonard Feather – liner notes


  1. ^ Kelman, John (2011). "Jean-Luc Ponty | Electric Connection / King Kong". Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Huey, Steve (2011). "King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa - Jean-Luc Ponty | AllMusic". Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Palmer, B., Rolling Stone, August 6, 1970, p.33