Jazzing it Up with Jean-Luc Ponty

An ancient instrument, the violin has long been associated with Classical music. And while the instrument has branched out into Country, Bluegrass, and Celtic music under the guise as a fiddle, true music aficionados saw little use for a violin outside of the Classical music arena.

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But award winning musical pioneer Jean-Luc Ponty has changed all that.

On June 23 Ponty and his talented band of musicians gave a performance at the Bear’s Den Showroom in the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino in Niagara Falls, New York that brought the house down.

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Born in a home of musicians, Ponty was Classically trained on the violin and had even earned a spot in the orchestra in Paris after graduating from the Conservatory. But playing clarinet and tenor saxophone in a Jazz band opened up a whole new world for Ponty and he eventually fused his two musical worlds of violin and Jazz into one – a world he has been sharing with fans for over four decades.

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Choosing to let his violin and the music do the talking, Ponty spoke very infrequently – only giving occasional lists of song titles and introducing the band.

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Telling fans it was all about the music, Ponty and the band played music from the albums of the seventies and eighties. In true Progressive Jazz fashion the pieces – often played in medleys – provided ample opportunity for the band members to shine including a drum solo that went on for several minutes making full use of the nine drums and seven cymbals on display.

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The traditional violin has only four strings, Jean-Luc Ponty’s violin has five strings; but when he plays, he makes the instrument sound as if it had a dozen strings.

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After playing for over an hour and a half, fans still clamoured for more and were awarded with an encore. And they would have stayed for more…much more.

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