Jean-Luc Ponty

Jazz in Paris: Jazz Long Playing

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These 1964 sessions marked jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty's recording debut as a leader. In spite of his choice of instrument, he was mainly influenced by bop musicians (especially saxophonists and trumpeters) rather than fellow Frenchmen, swing violinist Stéphane Grappelli. At this stage in his career, he chose mostly compositions by European musicians of his generation, along with tunes American jazz compositions that had stood the test of time. His angular playing in Martial Solal's "Une Nui Au Violon" contrasts with his later venture into jazz fusion, while his dash through Charlie Parker's "Au Privave" is almost immediately halted to first showcase drummer Daniel Humair then flautist Michel Portal before he takes center-stage with a blazing solo. He also is quite comfortable in a ballad setting, with a warm treatment of Django Reinhardt's "Manoir de Mes Reves," though it is on his own turf, as it isn't played anything like Grappelli's recording with the legendary guitarist. The violinist's sole original is "YTNOP Blues," which opens with a pizzicato vamp then showcases bassist Guy Pedersen and pianist Eddy Louiss before Ponty finally opens things up with a slash-and-burn solo that evokes a bit of Stuff Smith influence for a moment. The only misfire is a dull treatment of "I Want to Talk About You" which is plagued by Louiss' dated sounding organ. Reissued as a part of the Jazz in Paris series in 2000, this valuable introduction to Jean-Luc Ponty has already lapsed from print.

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