Valery Ponomarev worked with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers for 4 years. With the Messengers, he performed at major concert halls, clubs, and festivals all over the world and recorded eleven record albums. He also made numerous television appearances with the Messengers in Europe, Japan, and Brazil. In the United States he has made television appearances on "To Tell The Truth," on the PBS network, National Geographic Today, and CNN. He performed at the Clifford Brown Memorial Concert in Wilmington, Delaware, 1991, which featured the music of the legendary Max Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet with Max Roach (leader) on drums, Harold Land, tenor sax, George Morrow, bass, Sam Dockery, piano, and Valery Ponomarev, trumpet.
Mr. Ponomarev returned to Russia in 1990, the first time after a 17-year absence, to participate in the First International Jazz Festival in Moscow along with many of the world's greatest jazz superstars. Since then Mr. Ponomarev has traveled regularly to Russia with American musicians, including Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Bobbie Watson, James "Sid" Simmons, Bradford Leali, Vincent Lewis, Byron & Robert Landham, Sean McGloin, Evelyn Blakey, joining local stars for concerts and tours of the major cities in Siberia, Moscow and St Petersburg.
As a solo artist, Mr. Ponomarev has completed two tours of Australia, China and numerous European tours, including a special tour with Harold Land featuring the music of Clifford Brown. He was also featured as a European superstar at the Charlie Parker in Paris Festival.
Mr. Ponomarev has also played concerts with Benny Golson, featuring Mr. Golson's music. He was also a member of the memorial "Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers" band led by Mr. Golson.
Mr. Ponomarev is frequently heard as a sideman in live performances and recordings.
He was featured in the movie "Frozen In Amber," a documentary about the contributions of Russian ex-patriots to art and the performing arts in the USA. "Messenger from Russia," a documentary by independent producer Jason Scadron about Valery Ponomarev's life, was aired on the National Geographic Today channel for the first time in March 2002 and most recently in January 30th & 31st 2003. "Trumpet-player from Russia" is a 54-minute documentary about Mr. Ponomarev's life produced by world famous writer Edward Topol and sponsored by Russian State filming company. It is in progress as of this writing.
Mr. Ponomarev has been written about very positively in many publications including: Oxford University Press, the Grove Encyclopedia of Music, Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD by Richard Cook & Brian Morton, All Music Guide to Jazz, Hard Bop Academy by Alan Goldsher, Top Brass by Bob Bernotas, Trumpet Kings by Scott Yanow, and many others.
Valery Ponomarev's group Universal Language performs in concerts, festivals, clubs, schools, and colleges.
Mr. Ponomarev's most recent recording, Beyond the Obvious, featuring Don Braden(tenor sax), Jerome Jennings (drums), and Dr. Martin Zenker (bass), came out in 2007.
Messenger, featuring Jimmy Cobb (drums), Martin Zenker (bass), James "Sid" Simmons (piano), Michael Karn (tenor sax), Valery Ponomarev (trumpet), was released on Reservoir Music Records, 2001 (RSR CD 166).
A Star For You, featuring Bob Berg (tenor sax), James "Sid" Simmons,(piano), Ken Walker(bass), and Billy Hart (drums), was released on Reservoir Music in late 1997 [RSR CD 150].
The group's previous CD Live in Denver [vj006] was recorded with Valery (trumpet), Francesco Bearsetti (tenor sax), Sid Simmons (piano), Kenny Walker (bass), Ben Riley (drums).
Universal Language has another four releases on the Reservoir record label:
A live recording at Sweet Basil's in NYC, recorded in July of 1993, Live At Sweet Basil's [Reservoir RSR CD 131] features Valery on trumpet and his quintet Universal Language: Victor Jones (drums), Peter Washington (bass), John Hicks (piano), Don Braden (tenor sax).
Profile [RSR CD 120] (December 1991) features Valery, Victor Jones (drums), Essiet Okun Essiet (bass), Kenny Barron (piano), and Joe Henderson (tenor sax).
Trip To Moscow (December 1988) [RSR CD 107], features Valery and Ralph Moore, with Larry Willis (piano), Dennis Irwin (bass), and Victor Jones (drums).
The group's first recording, Means of Identification was released in April 1987 [RSR CD 101], featuring Valery, Ralph Moore (tenor sax), Hideki Takao (piano), Dennis Irwin (bass) and Kenny Washington (drums).
Mr. Ponomarev's recordings have consistently garnered the highest ratings in the most reputable jazz publications.
Valery Ponomarev's book On the Flip Side of Sound was written both in English and Russian languages. It came out in Russia in 2001 and in English in America in August 2009. Right away the book generated countless rave comments from the best in business.
Valery Ponomarev worked in clubs, tours, festivals, and concerts with: Joe Morello quintet, Frank Foster concert band, Joe Farrell, Pepper Adams quintet, Paquito D'Rivera, Jack Mcduff, Harold Land, Lou Donaldson, Walter Bishop, Charles Mingus "Epitaph", Lionel Hampton orchestra (solo chair), Mercer Ellington orchestra, Paul Ellington orchestra, Warne Marsh, the Lee Konitz nonet, the Arturo "Chico" O'Farril Afro-Cuban Jazz Big-Band, and Benny Golson to name a few.
Panelist at International Jazz Educators Convention in New York, 1998, along with Wayne Shorter, Arturo Sandoval, Cassandra Wilson: "Jazz Around The World."
Teaching and lecturing
Master Classes in improvisation, ensembles, performance, jazz theory and history:
Annual Summer Workshop at the Vermont Jazz Center, Putney, Vermont
Conservatory of Groningen, Holland
Mr. Ponomarev is teaching at Jazz For Teens Wachovia, New Jersey Center for Performing Arts in Newark NJ every Saturday
The New School, New York City
L.I. University, New York City
International Art of Jazz, Inc., 5 Saywood Lane, Stony Brook, NY 11790
Festival of Music, Inc., Jazz program, 80 Westervelt Avenue, Tenafly, NJ 07670
Private instruction, clinics and lectures
Moscow Art School
Moscow Music College
Bachelor of Arts, State University of New York, Empire State College
Completed Don Sebesky's advanced composing and arranging course
Mr. Ponomarev speaks Russian and English fluently. He also speaks Italian well.