Jorma Kaukonen is a force in American music, equally adept at fingerpicked acoustic folk and blues as he is at wailing on an electric. Anybody who’s ever seen Hot Tuna knows that no two musicians lock together quite like Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady. There’s simply no comparable sound.

But Jorma is also much more than just an ace fingerpicker and electric blues man. As lead guitarist for San Francisco Sound architects Jefferson Airplane, he and Casady were monster innovators of 1960s psychedelic rock. Just listen to Jorma’s slashing licks on “The Last Wall of the Castle,” from the psych-rock classic After Bathing at Baxter’s, or his feedback experiments over Casady’s lurching, guttural bass on such lysergic excursions as “The House at Pooneil Corner,” from the essential Crown of Creation.


It is with this knowledge and respect that we were thrilled to have Jorma in the Acoustic Guitar studio recently for this amazing extended edition ofAcoustic Guitar Sessions. Not only did he mark the 50th anniversary of Jefferson Airplane’s formation with a performance of the band’s instrumental acoustic classic “Embryonic Journey,” from Surrealistic Pillow, but he also played some tunes that have long been associated with his live solo performances and Tuna shows: “I Am the Light of this World” and “The Terrible Operation,” the latter of which appears in a studio version on the guitarist’s upcoming solo album, Ain’t In No Hurry, due Feb. 17 on Red House Records.

For more Acoustic Guitar Sessions, check out the archive.