Jean-Luc Ponty | Artist
Jean-Luc Ponty is a French jazz violinist and composer, born 1942 in Avranches, France. In the rock world, Ponty was an in-demand jazz-rock fusion violinist who worked with Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever and Elton John. Ponty was born into a family of classical musicians, his father teaching violin and his mother teaching piano. At sixteen, he was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, graduating two years later with the institution's highest honor. He was hired by the Concerts Lamoureux symphony in which he played for three years. Ponty was then leading a dual musical life: rehearsing and performing with the orchestra while also playing jazz until 3 a.m. at clubs throughout Paris. John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet invited Ponty to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1967, which led to a recording contract and the albums Electric Connection (1969) and Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with the George Duke Trio (1969). In 1969 Frank Zappa composed the music for Ponty's solo album King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (1970), then in 1972 Elton John invited Ponty to contribute to his Honky Chateau album. At the urging of Zappa, who wanted him to join the Mothers of Invention tour, Ponty emigrated with his wife and daughters to the USA and made his home in Los Angeles. There he worked on a variety of projects including the Mahavishnu Orchestra albums Apocalypse (1974) and Visions of the Emerald Beyond (1975). For the next decade Ponty toured the world repeatedly and recorded 12 albums, all of which reached the Billboard Jazz Charts top five, selling millions of albums. Standout albums include King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty & Stéphane Grappelli, Enigmatic Ocean, Cosmic Messenger, The Rite of Strings and Live (1979).
Artist Website: ponty.com
Featured Albums: Jean-Luc Ponty
Related Artists: Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Stéphane Grappelli, Return to Forever
Video Clips: Mirage, The Gift of Time, Live in Australia