Jorgenson continues gypsy jazz |
Autumn Phillips

Back to: News

Jorgenson continues gypsy jazz

Music is a chain that spans all time. One musician is inspired by another. They take what they hear and build on it until their sounds inspire someone else.

John Jorgenson is a link in a chain that spans across the Atlantic, following a long gypsy tradition that winds back and forth through as many continents as nomads have crossed.

The last link in the chain was created in France in the early 1930s by a Belgium-born gypsy guitarist named Django Reinhardt.

Reinhardt was inspired by the American-style jazz of Louis Armstrong, but he made it his own.

“His style is basically jazz played with string instruments,” Jorgenson said. “He was playing swing with a French accent.”

In 1979, a friend introduced Jorgenson to a recording made by Reinhardt’s band, Hot Club of France.

“The sound was amazing,” he said. “I immediately got interested and started studying it.” More than 25 years later, Jorgenson is known as one of the best musicians who plays Reinhardt-style guitar in the world. He recently returned from France where he performed at a Reinhardt memorial jazz festival.

“Through the Django festivals, this style of music has stayed alive in Europe,” Jorgenson said.

Key points Strings in the Mountains: Jorgenson Quintet 8 p.m. today Music Festival Park $25 879-5056