Jorma Kaukonen

of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna

Rock Guitarist

JORMA KAUKONEN is best known for his work in Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Kaukonen was a founding member of the popular psychedelic San Francisco-based band Jefferson Airplane, which scored two Top 10 radio hits in 1967 with “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”

Kaukonen learned to play guitar as a teenager in Washington, D.C., where he and future Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady formed The Triumphs. Kaukonen departed Washington for studies at Antioch College where friend Ian Buchanan taught him fingerstyle guitar playing. Buchanan also introduced Kaukonen to the music of Reverend Gary Davis, whose songs have remained important parts of Kaukonen’s repertoire throughout his career.

In 1962 Kaukonen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and enrolled in Santa Clara University. During this time he taught guitar lessons at Benner Music Company in San Jose. He played as a solo act in coffee houses and can be heard accompanying a young Janis Joplin on acoustic guitar on the 1964 “Typewriter Tapes”. Invited to attend a Jefferson Airplane rehearsal by founding member Paul Kantner, Kaukonen found himself entranced in the sounds of the electric guitar.

After many years in Jefferson Airplane and then Hot Tuna, Kraukonen recorded his first solo album Quah, which contained some of his most exciting finger picking work. Two notable projects featuring Kaukonen are David Crosby’s debut solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name and Warren Zevon’s Transverse City. In 1993, he collaborated with ex-Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten in recording numerous arrangements of “Embryonic Journey.” The resulting tracks were released as Embryonic Journey in 1994. In 1999, he played several gigs with Phil Lesh and Friends. In 2000, he appeared with jam band Widespread Panic during their summer tour. Recent solo albums include Stars in My Crown (2007) and River of Time (2009).

THU 10/20, 7:30pm click to purchase tickets

click to purchase tickets

“Time has aged Kaukonen’s voice into a warm, deep chestnut grain, his vocal approach to the songs ranging from an energetic whisper to a soulful drawl. Accompanied by his impressive guitarwork, which Kaukonen has honed to near perfection over the past five decades, [his muisc is] a near-perfect blend of Delta-inspired blues and dustbowl folk that is lively, thoughtful, and laid-back.” – Reverend Keith A. Gordon

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