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Jean-Luc Ponty
Jean-Luc Ponty was born September 29, 1942, in France.  His father taught violin.  His mother taught piano.  He learned both violin and clarinet from his father.  Ponty was admitted to the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris at age 16 with the goal of becoming an orchestra conductor.  Two years later he graduated with the Premier Prix, the school's highest award. Ponty was immediately hired by one of the major symphony orchestras, Concerts Lamoureux.
While still a member of the orchestra, Ponty began playing clarinet with a jazz band that performed at local parties. Ponty's interest in jazz grew, expecially the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane.  He took up the tenor saxophone.  But ponty really wanted to play his main instrument, the violin, in a jazz setting.

Three years after being hired by Concerts Lamoureux, Ponty took a chance and left the orchestra to work full-time in the field of jazz.
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The Best of Jean Luc Ponty
Jean-Luc Ponty in Concert
The Best of Jean Luc Ponty
In 1967, John Lewis of The Modern Jazz Quartet invited Ponty to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival.  Jean-Luc's first -ever American appearance received thunderous applause.  He signed a U.S. recording contract with World Pacific.  His reputation grew, and he was soon in demand by recording artists worldwide.

In 1969, Frank Zappa composed the music for Jean-Luc's solo album King Kong.  In 1972 he played on Elton John's Honky Chateau album.  The Mothers of Invention invited Ponty to tour with them.  It was through his contact with progressive rock that Ponty began experimenting with electronics and electric instruments.  By 1973 Ponty had emigrated to the U.S. with his wife and daughters.  In 1975 he signed on as a solo artist with Atlantic records.   This gave Ponty the opportunity to form his own band.  There's a video of Ponty from around this time at the bottom of the page!

Over the next ten years Ponty recorded a dozen albums, all of which reached the top 5 on the Billboard Jazz charts.  Besides touring with his own group, Ponty performed some of his compositions with the New Music Ensemble of Pittsburgh, the Radio City Orchestra in New York City and several major symphony orchestras.

In 1990 and 91, Ponty combined the sounds of his acoutsic and electric violins with the polyrhythmic sounds of West Africa.  He had met several African musicians who had moved to Paris, and decided to collaborate with them.  "There is a whole scene in Paris of top-notch African musicians," Ponty said.  "I was very curious, and wanted to educate myself in these rhythms, which were totally new to my ears. "  The result was the collaboration album Tchokola.

Since that time Ponty has continued to work, performing and recording with jazz greats, with his African ensemble, and even played duets with Vadim Repin, the young Russian classical violin star.
At first, the violin was a handicap.  Almost nobody felt that the violin had a place in jazz.  Ponty listened, particularly to the powerful sound of the horns in jazz bands.  Using them as an example, he tried that sound on his violin.  People were amazed.  Critics said that he was the first jazz violinist to be as exciting as a saxophonist.  At age 22 he released his debut solo album, Jazz Long Playing.  In 1966 he produced a live album with, Stephane Grappelli and Stuff Smith.    The album was called Violin Summit.
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Jean-Luc Ponty Collection - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Jean-Luc Ponty Collection Lead Sheets for 22 Compositions. Performed by Jean-Luc Ponty. Artist Books. Size 9x12 inches. 80 pages. Published by Hal Leonard. (672509)
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Volume 1 - How To Play Jazz & Improvise - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com Volume 1 - How To Play Jazz & Improvise By Jamey Aebersold. For singers, vocalists, drums, bass, guitar, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, piano, keyboard, organ, saxophone, trombone, trumpet harmonica. Jamey Aebersold Improvisation Play-A-Long. The culmination of Jamey's 35 years as the world's leading jazz exponents. Level: beginner, intermediate, advanced. Book with CD. Published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz. (V01DS)
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Jamey Aebersold's Jazz Ear Training - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Jamey Aebersold's Jazz Ear Training By Jamey Aebersold. For singers, vocalists, drums, bass, guitar, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, piano, keyboard, organ, saxophone, trombone, trumpet harmonica. The BEST method for learning to train your ear. Level: beginner, intermediate, advanced. Book with CD. Published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz. (JETCD)
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Jazz & Blues - Violin - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Jazz & Blues - Violin (Play-Along Solos) Arranged by Jack Long. Violin solo book and accompaniment CD for violin solo. With standard notation and chord names. 32 pages. Published by Hal Leonard. (HL.841444)
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Jazz Violin - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Jazz Violin By Matt Glaser & Stephane Grapelli. Jazz. Composed 12-31-1981. 144 pages. Published by Oak Publications. (OK63750)
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Jean-Luc Ponty Jazz Violin
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Bowing, Bowing
Caracas
Elephants in Love
Great Jazz Violin from by Jean Luc Ponty