John Jorgenson ’78
“Redlands gave me a place to be able to develop on many different instruments."
Alum John Jorgenson Receives Grammy Nomination
In what has been a seemingly endless string of recognition since graduation from the University of Redlands in 1978, John Jorgenson’s latest was a Grammy nomination in the country instrumental category for his guitar work with country superstar and recording artist, Brad Paisley.
John received the honor for his finger blistering collaboration with Paisley on the song "Cluster Pluck."
He is one of several guest pickers who trade lightening-fast guitar rifts throughout the song. Other legendary guitarists on the track include James Burton, Vince Gill, Brent Mason and Steve Wariner.
The standout former Bulldog musician credits Redlands with broadening his instrumental horizons. In fact, John is known in part for his role as one of the pioneers of the American Gypsy jazz movement.
"Redlands gave me a place to be able to develop on many different instruments. I took a degree in bassoon, clarinet and saxophone performance while also performing on guitar and bass during my years there, as well as some singing and a little acting," said Jorgenson, not out of breath in the least.
One award-winning band after another
Shortly after graduating, John gained national attention with The Desert Rose Band, a group he co-founded with Chris Hillman. The band had five chart-topping singles, and won numerous industry awards. He also won the Academy of Country Music's "Guitarist of the Year" award three years in a row.
John then joined another award-winning group, the guitar trio The Hellecasters. Initially formed just for fun, the group won both "Album of the Year" and "Country Album of the Year" from readers of Guitar Player magazine for their debut record, "Return of the Hellecasters."
He toured for six years with Elton John and has performed with artists including Billy Joel and Sting. Over the years, John's compositions also have been featured in numerous television and film scores.