An excellent guitarist, and sometimes vocalist, with a soulful sound and the ability to uplift any funky jazz date, Pittsburgh native Jimmy Ponder has appeared on many recordings during his long career, over 80 as a sideman and 15 as a leader. Ponder, a self taught musician, began playing guitar when he was 14 and considers Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell to be his two main early influences and Thornel Schwartz later on. After hearing Montgomery, he would abandon the use of a pick and, like his mentor, play with his thumb. Offered a job with Charles Earland after having only played guitar three years, Ponder waited until he graduated from high school and then spent three years with the organist's group, recording several dates with Earland. He worked and recording with Lou Donaldson, Houston Person, Donald Byrd, Stanley Turrentine and Jimmy McGriff and in the early 1970's moved to New York (from Philadelphia), leading his own groups. Ponder has since recorded as a leader in the 1970's for Cadet, ABC/Impulse, TK, CBS and Toshiba, in the 80's for Milestone and in the 90's for Muse and his current label HighNote. Ponder currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA.
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