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Jean-Luc Ponty is a French contemporary jazz violinist. He was born in the city of Avranches (France) on September 29, 1942. He trained as a professional violinist at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. His interest in jazz was driven by the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. He has played with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and also with Frank Zappa. He is well known for his electric violin, which gives him a special imprint, almost like the sound of a synthesizer.
Jean-Luc Ponty is the son of a violin teacher, with whom he began his apprenticeship of the instrument before he entered the Conservatoire de Paris.
In 1967 he visited the Montreal Jazz Festival. After that, he worked with Stéphane Grappelli, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa. The special imprint of his violin made him a popular jazz fusion artist of the 1970s.
After collaborating in 1972 with Elton John on his album Honky Chateau, Ponty started using his now known electric violin, with the lowest C string. In the late 1960s and mid-1980s, he began to use Violectra, a modified four-string electric violin with an octave lower. Subsequently occupied another version of the Violectra, six strings, and with the lowest C and F notes.
Ponty was a pioneer in the combination of the violin with MIDI, distortion boxes, wah-wah pedals, among others, which allows him to obtain a sound similar to a synthesizer.
Between mid and late 2004 he met with the formation of The Rite of Strings, with whom he toured the United States and Canada. In the following years they have met sporadically. In 2005, he formed the fusion jazz supergroup Trio! with Stanley Clarke and Béla Fleck. Among his most outstanding albums are Imaginary Voyage (1976), Aurora (1976), Cosmic Messenger (1978), Mystical Adventures (1982), Individual Choice (1983), Open Mind (1984), Fables (1985), The Gift of Time (1987) and Storytelling (1989).
In 2007, he launched The Atacama Experience. Between that year and 2009 he has been touring all over the world presenting his new production.
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