Posted June 4, 2009 in

“Smokin’ hot” has been used to describe John Jorgenson’s playing style over the past couple decades. Now the accomplished guitarist (who’s also proficient on nine other instruments) is literally that. The merchandise section of features his private label Franco-American premium blend organic coffee for sale alongside various CDs and DVDs. Although the Jorgenson name might not ring an immediate bell, you’ve probably heard his handiwork somewhere. During the late ’80s, the Redlands native (and U of R grad) co-founded the Desert Rose Band with former Byrd Chris Hillman. They notched a dozen top 40 country singles (including two No. 1s) and Jorgenson snagged the Academy of Country Music Award for Guitarist of the Year three times. Since then, he’s been an in demand studio session man for everyone from Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn and LeAnn Rimes to Bonnie Raitt, Bob Seger and Peter Frampton, plus dozens more. From 1994-2001, Jorgenson was Elton John’s guitarist of choice in the studio and on tour. Nowadays, he specializes in the gypsy jazz style made famous by Django Reinhardt in the 1930s and heard on solo albums like 2007’s Ultrasponane. Astute movie buffs will recall Jorgenson’s portrayal of Reinhardt in the 2004 flick Head in the Clouds, starring Penelope Cruz and Charlize Theron. Earlier this year, Jorgenson won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance thanks to his ensemble contribution on “Cluster Pluck,” from Brad Paisley’s Play: The Guitar Album. Proceeds from the RCC concert go toward the school’s guitar curriculum program.


John Jorgenson Gypsy Jazz Quintet at Riverside Community College Digital Library Auditorium, 4800 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, (951) 222-8000; Tuesday, June 9, 7:30PM, $6 students and seniors, $8 general, available at door only.


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