Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Violin Virtuoso

After tracking his career for over 40 years, we finally saw Jean-Luc Ponty, a classically trained violinist who turned to jazz in the 1960s, at The Shedd in Eugene. My first exposure to the talented Frenchman came when he recorded and performed with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention.

Ponty, a pioneer and undisputed master of the violin in both jazz and rock, is widely regarded as an innovator who has applied his unique vision, expanding the vocabulary of modern music. In 1975, he founded his own band, selling millions of albums that all reached the top of the charts in the U.S.

With front row seats, we were up close and personal with his band, a quintet consisting of keyboards, guitar, bass and drums. The show featured a straight set -- including a memorable drum solo -- followed by an encore, and Ponty and his band delivered the goods over the course of the two-hour show. C’est magnifique!

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