29 September 1942, Avranches, France. Ponty grew up in an intensely musical home environment. His father ran a local music school, teaching violin, and his mother taught piano. He was a proficient pianist and violinist while still very young and at the age of 11 he added clarinet to his instrumental arsenal. After studying classical violin at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, Ponty became a professional musician with the Concerts Lamoureux symphony orchestra but also developed an interest in jazz. For a while he divided his musical loyalty between the classical violin and jazz clarinet and tenor saxophone. However, he began to play jazz on violin, making this his chief activity from the mid-60s. Ponty played with numerous European musicians (recording with Stuff Smith), sometimes as leader (in the trio HLP, featuring Daniel Humair and Eddy Louiss). He visited the USA and UK, recording with Frank Zappa on the jazz rock album Hot Rats...
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