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

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 May 1970 on Liberty Records' World Pacific Records subsidiary label and later released on Blue Note.

King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 25, 1970
RecordedOctober 6–7, 1969
StudioWhitney Studios (Glendale, California)
LabelWorld Pacific/Liberty
ProducerRichard Bock
Jean-Luc Ponty chronology
Electric Connection
King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa
Open Strings
Professional ratings
Review scores
All About Jazz [1]
AllMusic [2]


The album contains 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 (1967), and "Pound for a Brown" from Uncle Meat (1969).[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 shortly join Zappa in the Mothers, as did Ponty a few years later, is featured on electric piano on all tracks and acoustic piano on track 5. Ernie Watts is featured on alto and/or tenor saxophone on tracks 2-4 and 6. Zappa himself plays the guitar on track 4, and Mothers members Ian Underwood (tenor saxophone) and Art Tripp (drums) appear on track 1 and tracks 1, 5, and 6 respectively.


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 listingEdit

All songs by Frank Zappa unless otherwise noted.

Side OneEdit

  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 TwoEdit

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


Production notesEdit

  • Richard Bock – producer
  • Dick Kunc – engineer
  • Frank Zappa – arranger, composer, conductor
  • Gerald Wilson – conductor
  • Ian Underwood – conductor (track B1)
  • Ron Wolin – art direction, design
  • Leonard Feather – liner notes


  1. ^ Kelman, John (2011). "Jean-Luc Ponty | Electric Connection (1969) / King Kong (1970)". Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  2. ^ Huey, Steve (2011). "Jean-Luc Ponty - King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (1970) album review | AllMusic". Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  3. ^ Frank Zappa albums in which song "Music for Low-Budget Orchestra" has appeared at
  4. ^ Palmer, B., Rolling Stone, August 6, 1970, p.33

External linksEdit