Big time guitarist likes small stage


Intimacy of BG venue suits Jorgenson’s global music.
From packed coliseums with Elton John in the 1990s to headlining the Django Reinhardt festival in Paris a
few years ago, John Jorgenson has played nearly every major venue around the world in his 30-plus year
career that includes three Guitarist of the Year awards from the Academy of Country Music and most
recently a Grammy in 2008.
But despite the sold-out crowds, throngs of autograph seekers and the luminary status that comes with the
"big" venue, Jorgenson prefers the ambiance of a small stage and the energy of an intimate
audience that can only be found in such as space.
"Rock music is perfect for a big space… our music suits slightly smaller spaces better,"
Jorgenson said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Nashville. "Interaction with the
audience is key to having a great show. You have to have the energy exchange between the performer and
the audience, otherwise the show can only be so good."
The John Jorgenson Quintet returns to Grounds For Thought on July 9 for a free concert at 8 p.m., adding
a second chapter to their packed and exhilarating show in 2008 and precursor to their upcoming
appearance as the Black Swamp Arts Festival closer in September.
Prior to the concert Jorgenson will be live in the WBGU 88.1 FM studio on Warped Frets between 4 and 5 pm
that same day to perform live and discuss his career. The radio show spot can be heard live over the
airwaves or accessed live via web-cast at
From fiery Django Reinhardt-influenced gypsy jazz instrumentals to emotional waltzes, the John Jorgenson
Quintet continues to rekindle a musical fire rooted in the elements of early 20th Century European jazz
music but also fusing flavors of traditional music from around the world.
"It has the improvisational element of jazz, it has the technical elements of classical music, it
has the energy of rock, it has the acoustic string band sound of bluegrass (and) it mixes in so many
different things that I like and so many different things that I have played over my career,"
Jorgenson said in a 2008 interview.
In addition to Jorgenson on lead guitar, clarinet and bouzouki, the quintet features violinist Jason
Anick, rhythm guitarist
Kevin Nolan, drummer Rick Reed and bassist Simon Planting.
Jorgenson said that over the past year has added the bouzouki, an eight-stringed instrument native to
Greece and popular in Irish music, to incorporate elements of traditional Greek music to his live show
and recordings, yet another flavor of world music in his already diverse and cosmopolitan repertoire.

"I’m not super traditional all the time with this type of music, no matter how hard I try my other
influences are going to come out," he said in 2008. "I am just embracing them and including
them. There is a lot of room for improvisation in this music."
In addition to touring around the world, Jorgenson and his quintet are also working on a new album that
will be very similar to their live show, stripped down and energy packed.
Audiences at Grounds For Thought can expect to hear several songs from that recording, slated for release
this fall.

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