Jean-Luc Ponty , born September 29, 1942, in Avranches, is a violinist and composer of French jazz.
First prize of classical violin, in 1960, at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance of Paris, his attraction to jazz is due to the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. In 1967, he won the Django-Reinhardt Prize, awarded by the Académie du Jazz, and appeared on the 50-year-old Django-Reinhardt double-CD, released by Nocturne in 2005. He denies any influence of Stéphane Grappelli, whom he nevertheless greatly appreciated. . This French musician gained a real international reputation, first through his collaborations with Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin then, from 1975, inventing a very personal career, made of his great classical culture, his will to popularize his fields of expression, finally his taste for experiments and stylistic intermingling that earned him in France many scoffers, even and especially among the ex-most ardent admirers of the "Coltrane violin" they had initially seen in him.
Note that the virtuoso guitarist Daryl Stuermer played with him before joining Genesis in 1978 and Phil Collins for his great and prolific solo career.
A pure bebop violinist in his early days, faced with the difficulty of surviving in the limited space and recognition offered him by his "first version" career, he gives in to the American sirens that were, for him, George Duke and Frank Zappa, deviating then to a more popular music, rock, losing many of his "purists" having enjoyed seeing him play in Parisian clubs, such as Le Chameleon, in the 1960s. However, his electronic experiments were successful, the l artist gaining recognition from a wider audience - as proof of Mahavishnu Orchestra concerts at the Montreux Jazz Festival - soon enjoying enough aura to form his own bands, leading in turn some talented instrumentalists, such as Patrice Rushen, Allan Zavod, Allan Holdsworth, Dan Sawyer, Leon Chancler ...