Stanley Clarke, Al di Meola, Jean-Luc Ponty: The Rite of Strings (1995) 2007

The Rite of Strings

Track list:

01. Indigo
02. Renaissance
03. Song To John (dedicated to John Coltrane)
04. Chilean Pipe Song
05. Topanga
06. Morocco
07. Change of Life
08. La Cancion De Sofia
09. Memory Canyon


Stanley Clarke – bass;
Al di Meola – guitar;
Jean-Luc Ponty – violin

Recorded: Studio 56, Hollywood, California; April, 1995
Release Date: July 17, 1995
Label: Gai Saber

Producer: Stanley Clarke, Al di Meola, Jean-Luc Ponty
Engineered and Mixed by: Dennis MacKay
Additional Engineering: Jeff Graham
Technical Assistant: Richard Tozzoli

Cover Design, Illustration and Photo by: Luis Siquot


Any time the likes of Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola and Jean-Luc Ponty are assembled, there is a good chance the results are going to be impressive.

Clarke and DiMeola had played together in the legendary Return to Forever, producing some of the most intense playing in all of fusion; Jean-Luc Ponty had also made several excellent, very diverse recordings.

The chops of these three musicians are pretty much unsurpassed in the industry, which in itself makes Rite of Strings worthy of a listen.

The real treat, however, is in the song selections.

Three of DiMeola’s more recent compositions are here, including the uplifting “Chilean Pipe Song.”

On this song, Clarke and Ponty’s dual-bow sound provides a nice backdrop to DiMeola’s introduction before DiMeola and Ponty state the melody together.

Ponty has always been one of the more interesting violinists, mostly because he experiments with the instrument’s tonal possibilities.

His plucking introduction to “Renassaince” and the strumming on “Change of Life” are evidence of this.

Clarke’s finest moment comes on his own beautiful “Topanga,” on which his bow playing is enough to evoke tears.

This is a classic recording that should not be missed; the integrity, musicianship, compositions, and improvisations are all first-rate.
~Robert Taylor[]