review = B
Jorma Kaukonen is an American treasure. As a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane and its psychedelic boogie-blues offshoot, Hot Tuna, Kaukonen’s innovative, electric guitar wizardry helped shape the mind blowing ‘San Francisco sound’ that rocked the Woodstock generation. But there’s a lot more to his music than fuzz boxes, wahwah pedals and cranked amplifiers. Like an acoustic guitar for example. And a sense of history. Performing with Tuna mates, rhythm guitarist Michael Falzarano and Pete Sears on keyboards, -Live- is an intimate glimpse into Jorma’s acoustic explorations. And not only as a player. Widely regarded as one of the top ‘finger pickers’ on the planet, Jorma’s no slouch as a songwriter. Two of his most enduring tunes, the deeply spiritual "I See The Light," and the instrumental masterpiece, "Embryonic Journey," both get warm and thoroughly enjoyable treatments on this Relix Records release. Recorded while the trio was on tour in ‘99, -Live- also includes stunning versions of several traditional numbers Kaukonen’s had in the repertoire since reigning as king of the Bay Area's coffee house circuit back in the ‘60s. Among the highlights: a goosebump generating take on the Reverend Gary Davis classic, "Death Don’t Have No Mercy," and a super sweet "I Know You Rider," that Kaukonen, Sears and Falzarano jam to perfection. Flashback or not, -Live- is a potent dose of acoustic Jorma.