Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jorma Kaukonen was born and grew up in Washington, D.C., where he first turned to the guitar.
He lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early '60s, playing backup to singer Janis Joplin in local clubs. In 1965, Kaukonen became a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, which soared to fame in 1967. Though Kaukonen's songs and vocals were not prominently featured in the band, his distinctive guitar-playing was crucial to its sound. With bassist Jack Casady, Kaukonen formed a spinoff duo from the group in 1970 called Hot Tuna, and this became his primary musical vehicle after Jefferson Airplane split in 1973. Hot Tuna recorded a series of albums on which Kaukonen sang and played guitar through 1978. After that, Kaukonen worked as a soloist and with such groups as Vital Parts (1980), and he recorded occasional albums. Kaukonen reunited with Casady in Hot Tuna during the '80s, and both participated in the 1989 reunion of Jefferson Airplane. A Hot Tuna reunion album appeared the following year. Kaukonen remained active as the 20th century closed and into the 21st, regularly touring and recording in different configurations before finding a home with Red House Records, which released Stars in My Crown in 2007 and River of Time in 2009. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi