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  July 2007  
 
Jean Luc Ponty interview page 3

Smitty:  Yeah, I can just imagine.

JLP:  But at the same time, of course, it’s worth discovering new cultures like the desert and city, I took a vacation after performing in Santiago, in the capital of Chile, and people are so warm and extroverted, it’s great. It’s great to play for all different audiences like this—same music, same band—and see all these different reactions around the world.

Smitty:  Yeah.  Talk about maybe one or two of the most fascinating things that you’ve experienced in your travels around the world, you know, with people and the music and the experience.

JLP:  There are so many that someday I’ll have to write a book.

Smitty:  (Laughs.)

JLP:  Because it’s tough to remember just one.  I would say a big surprise would be Japan, for instance, because the audience can be so quiet during the show.  I mean, the first time I played there with my band, I thought they didn’t like us, I thought we were bombing, because they would applaud very politely and the applause would die pretty quickly, so after the show, after the last piece we go backstage and the promoter was like smiling and saying “Wow, that’s a big success.”  I said “Oh, was that a big success really?”  “Yes, they want you for an encore.”  So we went back onstage and suddenly they turned into a rock crowd.  Everybody came to the stage and it was like a switch, they went from very polite, very soft, to being totally crazy.  (Both laugh.)  And, in fact, there was almost a riot when we walked out of the theater because they were all pushing to get autographs.  So that was the most surprising reaction I ever saw, honestly.  Then in India, for instance, people react like in Africa.  They react almost more during the performance, during the piece, while you play, than after.  (Laughs.)

Smitty:  Ahh.

JLP:  It’s a different culture.

Smitty:  Yeah, that’s different, wow.  Well, that’s a very cool thing to have such an international experience and get to do what you love, play music, you know?

JLP:  Absolutely.  I feel very blessed.  Absolutely.

Smitty:  But when you write that book, I’ll definitely buy one.  (Both laugh.)

JLP:  I’ll send it to you.  (Both laugh.)

Smitty:  Very cool.

JLP:  But I guess I’ll have to slow down touring to find time to write a book.

Smitty:  Yeah, well, keep good notes, man, I’ll tell ya, because you’ve enjoyed some very cool experiences and you’ve touched every corner of the world with your great music, and that’s a beautiful thing.

JLP:  Thank you, yes.

Smitty:  So you mentioned Koch, you know, you signed with Koch a couple of years ago, and so how’s that going?  You enjoying yourself at Koch?

JLP:  Yes, I mean, we’re just starting.  This is the first album they’re releasing, although they also released the small catalog that I started on my own label five years ago, but this is really the first new album and so far it’s great because I have the impression of people who are really music lovers and knowledgeable about music.

Smitty:  Yes.

JLP:  And so when I visited the company in New York while I was doing the mastering, I had the same feeling as in the sixties when, you know, you would meet people in the music business who were themselves like either musicians or really lovers of music, and so it’s a good feeling.

Smitty:  Yes.  Did you meet my friend, Dave Wilkes?

JLP:  Of course.

Smitty:  Yeah, he’s a great guy.

JLP:  Because, in fact, he’s responsible for signing me there.

Smitty:  Yeah, he’s a great guy and Chuck Mitchell, all those guys.  There are some wonderful people over there at Koch.

JLP:  Chuck Mitchell is great.  He just arrived from Verve.

Smitty:  Yes.

JLP:  And we’ve had a great rapport so far.

Smitty:  Yeah, well, you’ve got some great people.  You’ve landed in a very cool spot.

JLP:  I think so.  I agree with you. But I’m glad you confirmed my feelings.  (Both laugh.)

Smitty:  Yeah.  Yeah, I’ve worked with Dave for quite a while and we’ve had some good times, so yeah.

JLP:  Great.


 
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