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Fellow travelers unite: Prog-fusion supergroup the Anderson Ponty Band to play Riviera

When word came down that Yes founding member/vocalist Jon Anderson and revered jazz fusion violinist Jean Luc Ponty were forming a band and planning to record an album, my head nearly exploded. I never imagined the two artists – giants in their respective fields – working together, never assumed there’d be any common ground there, never pictured Ponty’s dense marriage of jazz and classical tropes sharing space with Anderson’s prog-folk melodic fantasies.

But one listen to the band’s self-titled debut, and I wondered what took them so long to get together, so organic, soulful and adventurous is their musical union. I assumed the album would be a superstar collaboration one-off, but oh so happily, the Anderson Ponty Band has announced a spring and summer tour, which (rather incredibly, let’s face it) includes a Buffalo-area date. Yes, progressive music lovers, the Anderson Ponty Band will play the Riviera Theatre (67 Webster St., N. Tonawanda) on Tuesday, May 17th at 8 p.m.

Jon Anderson tells the story of the pair’s meeting-of-the-minds as he only he can, in a press release announcing the current tour: “A breakthrough feeling came as I sang with Jean Luc’s music; to be in a band again is very exciting on many levels; we will play and sing our way around the world and have fun, for music is pleasure, music is all that is, music is God.” Wow. Who says that kind of thing these days? Beautiful.

For the tour, Anderson and Ponty will be joined by appropriately virtuosic musicians, including guitarist Jamie Glaser (Ponty, Chick Corea, Lenny White), bassist Baron Browne (Billy Cobham, Steve Smith’s Vital Information) keyboardist Wally Minko (Ponty, Pink, Gregg Rolie) and drummer Rayford Griffin (Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Michael Jackson).

Tickets ($39/$46.50 reserved) are on sale now, through, the Riviera Theatre box office, or via 716-692-2413.

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