Campus News

View Year

Guitarist John Jorgenson Performs for Juniata Artist Series

(Posted September 18, 2006)

John Jorgenson has played jazz, blues, country and rock with such musicians as Elton John, the Desert Rose Band and Bonnie Raitt.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Fans of country, rock and jazz will instantly recognize the virtuoso guitar musicianship of solo artist John Jorgenson, who will present a concert of eclectic music at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22 at Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus. For tickets and information about the Juniata College Artist Series, please call (814) 641-3608. General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID. Jorgenson first came to public attention as the guitarist in the Desert Rose Band, a mid-1980s country group led by Chris Hillman, a former member of the Byrds. The group, which charted five No. 1 singles, brought Jorgenson\'s musicianship into a national spotlight, enabling him to win three consecutive Guitarist of the Year Awards from the Academy of Country Music. After leaving the Desert Rose band, Jorgenson formed a guitar trio called The Hellecasters, a group that released three albums, one of which won Country Album of the Year in 1993. Long a sought-after session musician, Jorgenson joined Elton John\'s touring band in 1994 and accompanied the Hall-of Fame performer on tours until 2000. Jorgenson\'s work in pop circles has overshadowed his jazz recordings, but his has built a reputation as one of the top players of \"gypsy\" jazz in the world. Playing in the style of jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt, Jorgenson has released a series of albums featuring his original compositions as well as homages to Reinhardt\'s body of work, including \"After You\'ve Gone\" and Franco-American Swing.\" He also has performed Reinhardt\'s music for movies such as \"Gattaca\" and he played the legendary Django Reinhardt in the film \"Head in the Clouds,\" which starred Keanu Reeves and Penelope Cruz. His work as a session musician has allowed him to play on albums with Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Barbra Streisand, Luciano Pavarotti and many others. \"To say that John is a superlative guitarist is an understatement. He is simply great,\" says bluegrass banjo legend Earl Scruggs. Jorgenson also composed the song \"Back on Terra Firma,\" which was performed at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. His compositions also have been used in numerous film and television soundtracks. Jorgenson started his career playing bassoon with a chamber orchestra, but gravitated toward rock bands after touring Europe with the orchestra. Frustrated by the rock world, Jorgenson took a job at Disneyland, playing bluegrass mandolin, Dixieland clarinet and gypsy jazz. He met Hillman a few years later and started his country career. Other albums by John Jorgenson include \"Emotional Savant\" and \"Talking \'Bout Life.\"

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.