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Born into a family of classical musicians, Jean-Luc Ponty (pictured right) was not completely at home until he discovered jazz in the clubs of Paris in the early '60s. There, exiled jazzmen from the United States played with French musicians, and Ponty first took up the violin, an instrument foreign to the improvisational medium still ruled by the brass, bass and piano. He went on to release his debut solo album at the age of 22, and was invited to the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1967, where he first attracted the attention of American stars like Frank Zappa, and later Elton John, John McLaughlin and others. After two more decades of performing, the production of more than a dozen albums, and a foray into the music of West Africa, Ponty is accepted as the pioneer of jazz-fusion electric violin. Catch him at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 2, at the N.C. Museum of Art. Tickets are $20 for reserved seats and $15 for general admission; for details, call the museum box office at 715-5923.

DiamondDiamondDiamondBeautiful people Jon Spencer (Pussy Galore, Blues Explosion) and indie trophy wife Cristina Martinez bring the latest incarnation of Boss Hog to the Cat's Cradle, Saturday, June 3. Released on In the Red Records, Boss Hog's latest album, whiteout, features hard rhythms, fat riffs, funky-chic organ and Beck/Beasties dance beats. For once, Martinez's "singing" works with the tracks as she sings/speaks through their most club-oriented batch of songs to date. While Martinez gives interviews bemoaning the fact that she's seen more as a sex object than an artiste, her nekkid self is on the album cover. (There's a full rut-mode leopard bikini tour poster as well.) So just what are you selling, girlfriend? For information about the show, dial 967-9053. --Angie Carlson

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