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date: 11 November 2019

Ponty, Jean-Luc locked

  • Jeffrey Holmes

Extract

(b Avranches, France, Sept 29, 1942). French jazz-rock violinist. He electrified the violin and extended its capabilities with electronic devices such as phase shifters and synthesizers, melding early classical training and virtuosity with an ever-expanding jazz vocabulary to explore the capabilities of the violin. The son of classically trained parents (his father was a violin teacher and his mother a piano teacher), Ponty was performing in one of France’s premiere symphony orchestras, Concerts Lamoureux, by his late teens. He also performed on clarinet and then tenor saxophone, influenced by the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Ultimately he chose to perform jazz on the violin. His horn-like approach brought critical acclaim and led to early recording collaborations with the veteran jazz violinists Stephane Grappelli and Stuff Smith. He soon worked with the Gerald Wilson Big Band and the George Duke Trio, which led to projects with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Frank Zappa, and Elton John (...

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