Actually Steven Kindler makes the violin sing like no other artist I have ever heard.
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I am not familiar with Eileen Ivers but Ponty's Cosmic Messenger is an old favorite of mine. Steven Kindler has done at least 2 albums which may or may not still be available. He has also played on one or two of Suzanne Ciani's albums as well. I believe one of his albums was with Teja Bell and I believe it was called Dolphin Smiles. Hope this helps.
Ponty is best when playing as a sideman with John McLaughlin.Try Mahavishnu Orchestra-Visions Of The Emerald Beyond-.Mclaughlin,like Miles Davis,has a unique talent to bring the best out of anyone he plays with.Jerry Goodman(first Mahavishnu line-up)on violin is another example;I think he is generally better than Ponty.But both are not much to write home about as leaders by comparison.
Ponty's output has been huge (in quality and quantity). The MPS records before Zappa, the Zappa period, the work with McLaughlin and the first few solo discs that followed brought him alot of well deserved acclaim. Then his records started becoming safe, cliched and predictable. Steve Kindler, Didier Lockwood, and Scarlet Rivera followed a similar path opting to put out mostly Kenny G flavored Yanni-ized products that fail to challenge or stimulate fellow mucisians or other well informed listeners.
Jeff Gauthier's work (tho' probably not everyone's cup of meat) has contributed to alot of beatifully recorded and anything but banal discs, (The Mask, Infernal Memo, Present, or Alex Cline's, The Other Shore). Mark Feldman is another great violinist who has really been going for it musically, he often takes on radically diverse roles as a player and has recorded with John Zorn, Michael Formanek, New and Used, Dave Douglas, Percy Jones (yup, the Brand X bassist), and as a leader.
I haven't heard Eileen Ivers, but believe that all the other violinists metioned in this thread are capable of delivering awe inspiring performances that would make a this one is better than that one type of ranking seem useless and inappropriate. A popularity poll ONLY measures popularity.
PS- Sorry if this reads like a snobby rant, hope everyone has a great Christmas
I agree with Duanegoosen's assesment of the fusion violin genre, with the glaring exception of Didier Lockwood. He is the exception in this list, and in no way, shape, or form reminds one of Kenny G-anything. It has been clear to many over the last ~25 years or so that Lockwood's level of playing is what Ponty had dreamed of being.
Don't take my word for it; compare Lockwood's album "Surya" to anything that Ponty has done and even the most musically-challenged ears will clearly determine the difference (I have run this experiment myself with listeners countless times over the years). Although this does not directly address the Ponty-Ivers comparison, I needed to respond ($0.02) to the Lockwood reference. Happy holidays to all.
PS - I still like Mark O'Connor's work with the Dixie Dregs. Wonderful presentation live.
Didier Lockwood has put out some timeless groundbreaking stuff. New World, Surya, and the Lockwood/Vander/Top/Widemann record are brilliant. I'm a huge fan, but Kid, 1234, Pheonix 90, and the DLG 96 releases are corny, rife w/ metronomic disco beats, and have Yellowjackets written all over em'. I wish it wasn't true as much as anyone.
Haven't heard Ivers, but will check her out.
I second Bmolly's comments about O'Conner & the Dixie Dregs.
Everyone should own a Dreg's recording, my favorite is "Bring'Em Back Alive" with Allen Sloan,MD on violin.
Another great fiddle recording is O'Conner & Stephane Grapppelli doing "Tiger Rag," on the Grappelli/Grisman Live WB BSK3550.