Jorgenson, a Django Reinhardt protege, plays the Duke Theatre |

Jorgenson, a Django Reinhardt protege, plays the Duke Theatre

The John Jorgenson Quintet returns to LTCC's Duke Theatre on Saturday.

Gypsy jazz is coming to Lake Tahoe Community College.

The John Jorgenson Quintet performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, in the Duke Theatre.

The Grammy-winning guitarist described his sound before a 2010 Tahoe show: “A style based in swing jazz,” he said. “It has a lot of cultural elements in it including Latin, flamenco and Greek influences.”

Django Reinhardt, the gypsy jazz pioneer from France, is an important influence.

“We are definitely inspired by Django’s style and the instrumentation,” Jorgenson said. “We incorporate some gypsy music from all around the world along with music that’s rooted in American swing.”

Jorgenson gained national attention in the mid-80s as co-founder of a country-rock act, the Desert Rose Band. The Hellecasters in the 1990s gave audiences a chance to experience John’s fretboard fireworks in an unrestrained venue, a press release stated, and the trio’s three original CDs remain favorites of guitarists everywhere. Having been a fan of the Desert Rose Band, Elton John invited Jorgenson to join his band in 1994 for an 18 month tour that stretched into a six-year stint of touring, recording and TV appearances with the British superstar.

The year 2010 marked Reinhardt’s 100th birthday. Since discovering the artist in 1979, Jorgenson has become “the US Ambassador of Gypsy Jazz” which is quite an honor given the distinctly European slant of the music’s heritage. The John Jorgenson Quintet is the only American act to ever headline the prestigious Django Reinhardt Memorial Festival in France, and has been featured at other “Djangofests” in the US, UK, Germany and Canada. For the films “Gattica” and “Head in the Clouds” Jorgenson was tapped to recreate Django’s music, and in the latter he even appeared onscreen as Django with stars Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz.

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