Jorma Kaukonen - Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane

As a fingerstyle guitarist, his electric guitar work was uniquely distinctive and thus widely emulated by other Bay Area guitarists. Notable work with Jefferson Airplane includes "Greasy Heart", "If You Feel", "Spare Chaynge", "Hey Frederick" (which culminates in an extended lead guitar duet with himself), "Wooden Ships", and his original composition, "Feel So Good". Rolling Stone named Kaukonen the 54th greatest rock guitarist of all time and 16th greatest acoustic guitarist.

Though never a prolific singer and songwriter during his Airplane tenure, Kaukonen contributed some distinctive material. On the band's second album, Surrealistic Pillow, his song "Embryonic Journey" showcased his fingerstyle acoustic guitar virtuosity. On the next album, After Bathing at Baxter's, his sound had a harder edge inspired by Mike Bloomfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Cream, and other touring groups that performed in San Francisco. These stylistic changes are prominent in the acid rocker, "The Last Wall of the Castle," as well as the long (9:12) instrumental, "Spare Chaynge", cowritten with bandmates bassist Jack Casady and drummer Spencer Dryden. The improvisation marking "Spare Chaynge" is also present in the free-form extended jams, "Thing" and "Bear Melt," both live instrumentals recorded in 1968. Kaukonen insists, however, in the liner notes of the Live at the Fillmore East album, that these jams were not chaotic "free for alls" but were "complex rehearsed arrangements." Two songs that were later to become Hot Tuna signature tunes, "Rock Me Baby" and "Good Shepherd", a gospel ballad, were also recorded during the period 1968–1969.

Original compositions by Kaukonen on the 1971 Jefferson Airplane album, Bark are an instrumental, "Wild Turkey," "Feel So Good," and the acoustic autobiographical "Third Week in the Chelsea," detailing his feelings about the disintegration of the band.

Read more about this topic:  Jorma Kaukonen

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