Giles Ponticello began studying piano at age 9 (mother was a piano teacher), but switched to guitar at age 10. Some of his musical influences include: The Beatles; The Youngbloods; James Taylor; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Santana; Jimi Hendrix; Traffic; Bob Dylan; Arlo Guthrie; Eric Clapton; Loggins and Messina; Little Feat; Pat Metheny; and George Benson.
His first band, at age 16, was named "Calico" (Erie, Pennsylvania). Calico performed for high school dances and college theaters, including the Gannon College Playhouse. Approximately 80% of their material was written by members of the band.
After relocating to Columbus, OH (1974) Giles began studying guitar at Jazz City Workshop under the direction of Don Hales (who performed with saxophonist Eddie Harris). Giles also taught guitar at Jazz City. He also attended the Ohio State University where he studied music and audio engineering. While at OSU he studied with faculty guitarist Tom Carroll. Giles became a member of the OSU Jazz Ensemble (under the direction of John Emche and Tom Battenberg).
Giles joined the OSU Jazz Ensemble in 1976 and continued to perform with them for 4 years as their only guitarist. During those years the Ensemble won several awards for college big band including: 1st place at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival (1978); best performance at the National Association of Jazz Educators convention in Philadelphia, PA; and the Downbeat Award (from Downbeat Magazine) for best college album (see album "Acorn's Tavern" on CD page). The OSU Jazz Ensemble performed in concert with special guest artist/flutest Hubert Laws, saxophonist Phil Woods, drummer Peter Erskine (of the jazz group "Weather Report"), among other top-notch performers.
In the late 1970's Giles began performing around central Ohio at hotels, clubs, restaurants, and festivals. He played with the Alum Valley Band, Janet's Planet and Murphy's Law, among others. Also worked with the group "Project One" to record an album entitled "It's About Time" (see CD page). The album was released in 1987 and includes 5 songs written by Giles.
Giles currently performs around the tri-state area at clubs, restaurants, festivals, weddings, parties and corporate functions. He performs as a solo artist and also as leader of the band, The Cats of Tonic. He also is a member of the Linda Dachtyl Blues Quartet. In 2008 he published an album of original material entitled "Near the Bridge". The album is available for purchase through I-Tunes and CD Baby (see CD page).
Some venues that Giles has played at include:
Audubon Center The Mattress Factory - Pittsburgh
The Buckeye Winery Newark Ohio
Columbus Arts Festival Middle Bass Island City Hall
Columbus Country Club Mirror Lake Cafe
Comfest Columbus, Ohio
Mohican Gardens Loudonville, Ohio
Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival The Morgan House - Lexington, KY
Cultural Arts Center - Columbus, Ohio
Moundbuilers Country Club Newark, Ohio
Detroit Yacht Club Detroit, Michigan
Dick's Den Mudflat's Bar - Galena, OH
Dock 580 New Albany Country Club
Disney Land Anaheim, California
Fat's Billiards Columbus, Ohio
North Bank Park -
Flat Iron Restaurant Park Street Tavern
Funny Bone Comedy Club
Patrick J's Clintonville, Ohio
Grandview Cafe Ruby Tuesday's - Columbus
Great Southern Hotel Screamin' Willie's
Holiday Inn Lane Ave Shadow Box Live
Jazz and Ribs Festival The Village Inn Kenyon College
Jazz Central - Dayton
Women In Jazz Festival - Dayton
The Lakes Country Club Columbus, Ohio The Woodlands Tavern
Lakeview Country Club Lorain, Ohio Dontes Jazz Los Angeles, Ca. Keystone Korner (San Francisco, Ca)
Northbank Park Columbus, Ohio
Oakland County Boat Club Keego Harbor, Michigan
O'tolles Irish Pub Gahanna, Ohio
Saugatuck Riverboat Saugatuck, Michigan
If you are interested in booking Giles Ponticello as a soloist or with the Cats of Tonic band, please use the following link: