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November 2000

Jimmy Ponder
Ain't Misbehavin'
HighNote Records

Ponder's guitar work on this album is warm and tinged with references to Wes Montgomery. On the opening "On Broadway," pianist John Hicks, bassist Dwayne Dolphin and drummer Cecil Brooks III step in behind the guitarist with a clipped, Wynton Kelly-Paul Chambers-Jimmy Cobb strut. "Sunny" is bluesy and slow, and Ponder's phrasing and tremolo recall B.B. King. "My One and Only Love" swings easy, with the guitar chords and low-register lines very reminiscent of Montgomery. Elsewhere, Ponder employs call-and-response phrases and octave-voiced lines that also recall the late guitarist.
The program is familiar: Besides the aforementioned it includes "I'll Remember April," "Who Can I Turn To," "Summertime," "Wave," et al. "All Blues," performed as a duet for guitar and piccolo bass, is rhythmically transformed via a subtle boogaloo beat. Tenor saxophonist Don Braden also plays on the album, demonstrating an expressive, fluid style in his limited appearances. Ponder, who worked with the late organist Charles Earland, has fine control of his instrument and secure rhythmic orientation. He should be heard more often.

Originally published in November 2000
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