Valery Ponomarev

Genres: Jazz
Decades Active: 1980s 1990s 2000s

Biography

20 January 1943, Moscow, former USSR. After studying music in Moscow and achieving great proficiency on trumpet, he turned to jazz, playing with various groups of young musicians. Mostly playing hard bop, he appeared at clubs and festivals in the USSR until the mid-70s when he defected. Within a year or so he achieved worldwide fame as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He toured extensively with the band, playing in the Far East, South America and Europe, with appearances at many festivals including the 1978 Middlesborough Jazz Festival in the north of England. A sparkling player with great verve and enthusiasm, Ponomarev’s talent was finely honed thanks to his sojourn with Blakey, and after leaving the Messengers he usually led his own groups, which included Universal Language.

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