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An excellent guitarist with a soulful sound and the ability to uplift any funky jazz date, Jimmy Ponder has appeared on many recordings during his long career, over 80 as a sideman and 15 as a leader. Ponder began playing guitar when he was 14 and considers Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell to be his two main early influences and Wes Montgomery later on. 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 '70s moved to New York (from Philadelphia), leading his own groups. Ponder has since recorded as a leader in the 1970s for Cadet, ABC/Impulse, TK, CBS, and Toshiba, in the '80s for Milestone, and in the '90s for Muse and HighNote. In the 21st century his albums included Ain't Misbehavin' (2000), Thumbs Up (2001), Alone (2003), What's New (2005), and Somebody's Child and Solo: Live at the Other Side, both released in 2007. ~ Scott Yanow