Interview: Jean Luc Ponty’s The Atlantic Years tour coming to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
By: Kevin Wierzbicki AXS Contributor May 30, 2017
Few players have a resume that can match that of Jean Luc Ponty, and when it comes to violinists, no one can hold a candle to what Ponty has achieved over the last 50 years or so. A player of rock, jazz, jazz fusion and more, Ponty lists Frank Zappa, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Stephane Grapelli, Elton John, Chick Corea and Jon Anderson of Yes among his many collaborators. But Ponty has also released an incredible run of solo albums over the years, including many for the vaunted Atlantic Records label.
Ponty has just begun a national tour that’s dubbed The Atlantic Years tour, a venture that’ll see him feature songs from albums like Imaginary Voyage, Cosmic Messenger, Enigmatic Ocean and other albums he released on Atlantic in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. That tour, with all the sidemen who played on those iconic albums, visits the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona on June 9. In advance of the show we had a chance to chat by email with Ponty who told us how the tour came about and what he still hopes to accomplish before he retires. Ponty’s commentary below is given exclusively to AXS.com.
AXS: It’s quite the accomplishment to bring together the members of your band from the late ‘70s for your Atlantic Years tour. When the idea struck, did you already know where all of these players were, and did you have to do any cajoling to get any of them on board with the idea?
Jean Luc Ponty: I have always kept in touch with these musicians and there was absolutely no need to cajole any of them.
AXS: How much rehearsal did you have to do to dust off some of the older material?
JLP: We already did an Atlantic Years tour in South America a few years ago, but we had to wait till everyone was available to do it in the U.S., which is the case now. So just a few days was enough to refresh everyone’s memory. But what is special is the fun we experience being together again, almost giving us the illusion that we are still as young as we were. LOL!