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Gypsy Jazz Travels to the Last Frontier


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John Jorgenson Quintet makes debut tour to Alaska

The high-energy gypsy jazz performed by the John Jorgenson Quintet isn't your typical jazz music.

“A lot of people tell us 'Well, we don't really like jazz so much but we like your music,'" Jorgenson said. “It's more accessible. The jazz part of it kind of scares people off but it's actually more accessible than that."

Jorgenson is known as one of the American pioneers of gypsy jazz, a melting-pot style of music with roots from multiple cultures.

“We try to bring in influences in the music from all over the world," he said. “The main part of this music really started out inspired by jazz from New Orleans and (was) then taken by French musicians and given a European spin. We bring in Romanian elements, Flamenco and Arabic and a lot of other world music into it. So people hear a wide variety of music."

The John Jorgenson Quintet will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium. Premium seats cost $25 for adults or $20 for students and seniors. General admission is $23 for adults or $18 for students and seniors. Tickets cost $10 for ages 5 and younger, and all prices are $2 more at the door.

Jorgenson describes the sound of the quintet as aggressive and calls it very dynamic. People describe being amazed by the technical aspect of the musicianship, he said.

“It is very high-energy, melodic, accessible, acoustical-oriented music," Jorgenson said. “It has its roots in swing and in gypsy music from Eastern Europe."

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