View Full Version : John Jorgenson article
... but who cares. One of my favorite musicians. Thought some of you might enjoy reading this one.
The article (http://www.newsreview.com/issues/chico/2005-01-27/music.asp)
Jorgenson really distinguishes himself from any other current Django knock-off. His attention to detail is compounded by a lyric sense of line, and a fresh "next generation" twist on the Gypsy-jazz genre.
(Read Elton John's quote about him on his personal website (http://johnjorgenson.com/html/frame/FShistory1.html) for an unbiased endorsement...)
If you don't have a copy of his most recent Franco-American Swing (http://johnjorgenson.com/html/frame/FSplugin1.html), run, don't walk to your next music outlet to get this. I've had the privilege of contracting the John Jorgenson Quintet for our local 2005 Jazz in June (http://jazzinjune.com) Concert Series, and can't wait to experience the band up close and personal.
Mando content: He's even a heckuva mandolin player, too. He toured with Elton on both guitar and mando. (An Ovation USA M68, by the way...)
I had the enormous pleasure of seeing John with his hot club backing him up- including Brian Sutton on rhythm who is a fairly astonishing manoucher himself- last December. It was one of the most thrilling musical experiences I've had. JJ doesn't just replicate the performance of Django (which he does, note for note, AND everything in between) he completely brings the music alive. It's totally accessible and thoroughly virtuosic at the same time. You'd be scratching you're head tying to figure out how ANYONE can do that, but you're too immersed in enjoying yourself to think about it. A bit disappointed that he didn't have his mando that night - on the other hand you should hear him wail on the clarinet! Blows the roof off!!
Ted, you're in for a treat come June.
Brad you're absolutely right. While the "Djymnastics" of the spectacular Django players out there can be like watching a fireworks display, there are so many "oohs and ahhs" the listener can endure...
The constant showcase of arpeggiated hyper-riffs can get old after while (no matter how cleanly executed), but Jorgenson blends beautifuly, a super-human athleticism with "listener-accessible," linear motif.
That his music is mostly original songs (that DON'T betray the gypsy tradition) is an exceptional gift he offers to the world.
I think it's his background in woodwinds that gifts him with a keen sense of line that escapes many guitarists. His well-rounded journey through a vast number of musical experiences, including a European chamber orchestra (as a bassoonist!), blazing electric guitar quartet rockabilly with the Hellecasters, and recently an 18 month tour with Elton John prior to "being" Django makes him one of the most versatile musicians on the planet.
Did I mention I bought an Ovation Mandocello after watching him (superbly) play it after an in-store Ovation Clinic he did for one of my stores?
I saw the JJ band with Bryon Sutton recently in Chapel Hill. You're right on the mark as to the lyrical quality of their performance- even my non-musician wife ("I listen good") was blown away by the music & she usually just rolls her eyes & endures acts that don't have vocalists.
In addition to his current release, "After You're Gone" (late 80s) has a good bit of hot swing- including some mando- Unfortunately, it's listed as sold out on his website, but get it & take a listen if you can.
I can't remember who played mando on that albumn- it may have been JJ.
I liked After You've Gone (on cassette, haven't been able to locate a CD), especially the acoustic numbers. However,
the Franco-American album puzzled me. Why, for instance,
does he play all guitars?
I fervently hope he goes into the studio with Sutton,
another depressingly impressive guitar player
(the guitar is my main instrument).
He is also a terrific BG mandolin player. Has some of the best cross picking stuff I've ever heard.
I have After You're Gone (a signed copy!), and on mando it's none other than the Dawg hisself.
Another article (http://www.mammothtimes.com/articles/2005/02/03/this_week/good_times/johnjorgenson.txt)
John Jorgensen and many other world class Gypsy Jazz players including Angelo DeBarre will be at Djangofest LA on Feb 25,26 and 27. I saw them in Oct. at Djangofest Northwest.Truly amazing. Being the sole representative of the Mando at jams, I was lonley but very well recieved. Unlike most jazz festivals, there's lots of djamming. Unlike bluegrass festivals, IT'S ALL DJAZZ!
Those of you midwest fans who like to plan your summers well in advance, a heads-up on a FREE concert appearance in Lincoln, Nebraska of the John Jorgenson Quintet, Tuesday, June 14th as part of our "Jazz in June" Series.
To make this even sweeter, we are currently solidifying negotiations for a FREE guitar clinic the night before (7/13) through my stores; not only with John, but the whole band!
Even if you're not within driving distance, airfare is cheap. Take a few days off work and come visit our sleepy little college town. June in Nebraska is beautiful. Even more so with the JJQ!
Hey howdy -
I don't often post here as I have been busy as of late...
Last month I attended the NAMM show and had the privilege of seeing Jorgensen at the Shubb/Saga private party and as well at the Saga booth during the conference. This guy has the most conviction and talent of any Djangofile I've been privileged to see play live and I have seen quite a few.
I have a new website: http://www.WorldWideTed.com that has all sorts of info on me, including my new solo CD which includes me playing my Flatiron Performer F and a borrowed 2 point Lawrence Smart Mandolin as well as electric and acoustic guitars, electric and upright bass and organ.
I have just posted photos from NAMM including shots of the John Jorgensen band and several images of Rigel and Collings mandos snapped at the show. Of course there are all sorts of other images too at: http://www.worldwideted.com/SnapJpgs/namm/FrameSet.htm
(Sorry for the shameless self-promotion but the url is relevant and insteresting.)
I've got a question. I'm familiar with the Django style but have never attempted to play it myself. Is the Django style an improvisational form of jazz or do Gypsy jazzers tend to play previously composed breaks?
Lots of Gypsy jazz players cut their teeth on Django solos, and most of them can quote them. For example, at the video section of djangobooks.com you can hear Fapy LaFertin (one of the modern greats) play Minor Swing starting out with Django's solo (the 1st one from 1940, I think) and moving into his own thing. But it is an improvised form of music, in that nobody just recites Django solos all night...
Think "spontaneous composition"- it has been said that Django was really a composer, and I agree- his solos are often as perfectly built as any Bach piece! Then again, Bach was known as a shredding improviser too, so there ya go... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif