Date:   12/6/2008

John Jorgenson - from touring with Elton John to performing at Thrasher Opera House!

The internationally acclaimed John Jorgenson Quintet will perform at the Thrasher Opera House on Saturday, December 6 at 7:30 p.m. The Quintet features guitarist John Jorgenson, a founding member of the Desert Rose Band, the Hellecasters, and six-year member of Elton John's band.


Jorgenson is best known as one of the pioneers of the American gypsy jazz movement. He has performed with some of the most respected European proponents of this style, including Bireli Lagrene and Romane.  Jorgenson’s playing has been included on a CD with Babik Reinhardt and Jimmy Rosenberg and on another featuring Angelo Debarre and Moreno.  In 1988 Curb Records released Jorgenson's “After You've Gone” CD, a collection of Reinhardt- and Goodman-styled 30's swing, featuring guest artists Darol Anger and David Grisman. His more recent recorded output includes his first Gypsy Jazz tribute, ""Franco-American Swing" (2004), and "Ultraspontane" (2007), a 12-track collection in the tradition of the hot jazz that blazed through Europe in the 1920s and 30s.


Growing up in Southern California, Jorgenson was playing both the piano and clarinet by age 8 and was playing professionally at 14.  Learning first to play rock guitar, Jorgenson absorbed other guitar styles as quickly as he discovered them. This broad musical palette has enabled him to play with artists as diverse as Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, Bonnie Raitt, and Benny Goodman. He is an "A-List" session player working in LA, Nashville and London and has appeared on numerous platinum-selling and Grammy-winning CDs.


Jorgenson first came to national prominence in the mid 1980's with The Desert Rose Band, which he co-founded with Chris Hillman (The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers). The band earned five # 1 singles and during this time Jorgenson won the Academy of County Music’s "Guitarist of the Year" award three consecutive times.  Following the Desert Rose Band, Jorgenson formed another award-winning group, the virtuosic guitar trio The Hellecasters. That group went on to produce three acclaimed CDs, winning both "Album of the Year" and "Country Album of the Year" from the readers of Guitar Player Magazine for “Return of the Hellecasters” in 1993.


Because of his international reputation as a gypsy jazz player, Jorgenson was twice asked to recreate Django Reinhardt's music for feature films including Head In The Clouds. Released in 2005 and starring Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz, Head In The Clouds features Jorgenson as Reinhardt, complete with burned hand and gypsy moustache.


The quintet includes Kevin Nolan, Charlie Chadwick, Jason Anick, and Rick Reed. Nolan was formerly the rhythm guitarist for the Robin Nolan Trio and has played at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Samois-Sur-Seine gypsy festival. Nashville resident Chadwick has been playing in the studio and clubs with the area's finest musicians, as well as backing several national country artsists.  Jason Anick started playing violin at age 6 and by age 12 had met Stephane Grappelli and performed for President Clinton at Martha's Vineyard. Rick Reed hails from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and has toured and recorded with national jazz, country and bluegrass artists including Alison Brown, Rick Vito and the Hot Club of Nashville.


Jorgenson and his band make music that is equally romantic and ecstatic, and played with virtuosity and soul. Buzz McClain of the Washington Post exclaims that Jorgenson “literally wrote the book on gypsy jazz guitar.” And Phil Elwood of the San Francisco Examiner raves that Jorgenson’s music is spirited, romantic, and breathtakingly distinctive” and calls the Quintet “impeccable.”


This program is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. 


In addition, a grant awarded by the Alliant Energy Foundation is helping to support our “Arts in Action Holiday Series”; a collaborative effort between the Thrasher Opera House, Crossroads Market of Green Lake, Shurfine Foods and the Green Lake County Food Pantry, to help fill the food pantry during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.


Every month, the Green Lake County Food Pantry provides emergency assistance to hundreds of families and individuals in need, which means that the shelves need replenishing on a continual basis.  Please join us in further support of the Green Lake County Food Pantry by bringing a donation of a non-perishable food item to the John Jorgenson Quintet performance, or on your next shopping trip to Crossroads Market, consider purchasing a little something extra to drop into the Green Lake Food Pantry bin located inside the store.  Whether a can or a case, your gifts will help make the holidays brighter for area families in need.    


Tickets for this concert are only $20 and available at the Thrasher office, Knowledge Emporium, Green Lake Bank (Green Lake); Pick N’ Save, Ripon Drug (Ripon); Twister (Princeton) or by calling (920) 294-4279.  Online tickets available at 




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