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Jean Luc Ponty Remembers Didier Lockwood

The French violinist honors his fellow countryman and violinist (2/11/56 - 02/18/18)

Didier Lockwood
Didier Lockwood

It was a shock when I learned that Didier Lockwood passed away so suddenly and so unexpectedly in February 2018. He was 14 years younger than me and emerged on the French jazz scene after I moved to California in 1973. I discovered his playing while I was on tour in Europe a few years later. We had a day off in the Netherlands and Magma, a famous progressive rock band from France, was playing in a club in Amsterdam. I knew the leader of that band, drummer Christian Vander, so I went. They had a young violinist who was playing really well in that avant-garde rock style with a good stage presence—Didier. I wasn’t able to get backstage and therefore didn’t meet him. Shortly after, I was visiting Stephane Grappelli in Paris and mentioned that I’d just heard this new violinist named Didier Lockwood. Stephane said that he’d heard him but was not so impressed. I insisted that Didier sounded good with that band. Stephane then said that he would check him out again. He sure did, and eventually he helped Didier’s career take off in jazz.

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