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Jimmy Ponder: 1946-2013

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Jimmy Ponder Soul-Jazz guitarist Jimmy Ponder was well known to serious jazz lovers for his recordings as a leader and appearances as a sideman on 80 albums. His unique bluesy sound, which incorporated Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
1925 - 1968
guitar
's approach of playing octaves with the thumb, has influenced other guitarists.

Ponder's playing was described as aggressive rhythm-and-blues figurations with swift and lucid chromatic bop lines. Jimmy released 21 albums since 1969 as a leader on the Muse, Highnote, Cadet, Explore, and LRC labels. He reached the Billboard Top Jazz Album charts with his best selling releases Ain’t Misbehavin’ at #16 in 2000 and All Things Beautiful at #38 in 1978.

Ponder began his national career playing with fiery organist Charles Earland
Charles Earland
Charles Earland
1941 - 1999
organ, Hammond B3
and saxophonist’s Lou Donaldson
Lou Donaldson
Lou Donaldson
b.1926
saxophone
soul-jazz ensembles. As an in demand sideman Ponder recorded with Etta Jones
Etta Jones
Etta Jones
b.1928
vocalist
, Richard "Groove" Holmes
Richard
Richard "Groove" Holmes
1931 - 1991
organ, Hammond B3
, Jimmy McGriff
Jimmy McGriff
Jimmy McGriff
1936 - 2008
organ, Hammond B3
, Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
Donald Byrd
1932 - 2013
trumpet
, Ray Bryant
Ray Bryant
Ray Bryant
1931 - 2011
piano
, Stanley Turrentine
Stanley Turrentine
Stanley Turrentine
1934 - 2000
sax, tenor
, B.J. Thomas, Dr. Lonnie Smith
Dr. Lonnie Smith
Dr. Lonnie Smith
b.1942
organ, Hammond B3
, Irene Reid
Irene Reid
Irene Reid
1930 - 2006
vocalist
, and others. He performed with Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
1917 - 1993
trumpet
, Stanley Turrentine, Groove Holmes, the Thad Jones
Thad Jones
Thad Jones
1923 - 1986
trumpet
/Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
Mel Lewis
1929 - 1990
drums
Big Band, Hank Crawford
Hank Crawford
Hank Crawford
1934 - 2009
sax, alto
, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff
Jack McDuff
Jack McDuff
1926 - 2001
organ, Hammond B3
, and Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
Sonny Stitt
1924 - 1982
saxophone
.

Jimmy Ponder, who was born on May 10th 1946 in Pittsburgh, grew up in the Beltzhoover neighborhood and began playing professional at age 11.

Quotes about Jimmy Ponder

Live at the Other End by Jimmy Ponder is not only engaging for its entire 55 minutes' running time, it's downright dazzling, and not only in technical acumen—which it certainly is—but in its pure singing musicality....is one of the finest solo jazz guitar records in the canon, period." —Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

“When you count up the years and numbers, few if any authentic jazz guitarists have sustained as long, consistent, fruitful or interesting a recording career as Ponder. His many efforts for the Muse and High Note labels have set high standards for musicality with integrity" —Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

“Pittsburgh is a blessed with so many great musicians. Jimmy Ponder continues this great tradition by being one of the finest jazz guitarists in the country." —Tony Mowod producer/jazz host

“One of the great pioneers of the guitar coming out of Pittsburgh — he and George Benson." —Roger Humphries
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