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Electric Hot Tuna at the Boulder Theater preview 

click to enlarge With the David Bromberg Quintet, Friday & Saturday, Feb. 28 & 29, 8 p.m., 2032 14th St., Boulder, $45-$55, 303-786-7030, - STERLING MUNKSGARD  / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Sterling Munksgard /
  • With the David Bromberg Quintet, Friday & Saturday, Feb. 28 & 29, 8 p.m., 2032 14th St., Boulder, $45-$55, 303-786-7030,

It’s kind of crazy that Hot Tuna’s Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady have been out on the road touring together, more or less constantly, since they parted ways with their seminal psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane. The duo originally conceived Hot Tuna as a side project that would allow them to play in a more blues-based style that didn’t fit the increasingly commercial Jefferson Airplane formula.

That was 50 years ago. In the decades since, the two musicians have worked together with a shifting cast of backing musicians to bring Hot Tuna’s innovative mix of rock, blues and psychedelic-folk to their multigenerational fanbase.

Casady, who’s frequently cited alongside Paul McCartney and Jack Bruce as one of rock’s all-time greatest bassists, is a master of walking bass patterns that tastefully venture into unexplored musical realms, creating intricately improvised melodies along the way. In addition to his full-time band work, he’s also appeared on albums by artists ranging from Roky Erickson to Jimi Hendrix.

Singer-songwriter Kaukonen, meanwhile, continues to be revered for his mastery of fingerstyle guitar, which he teaches at annual guitar camps on his rustic Ohio ranch. He’s also released a couple dozen albums and EPs on his own. These days, Kaukonen and Casady rarely record together as a band, but they remain fiercely dedicated to live performance.

While the band has been known to play acoustic shows, Hot Tuna are going full-on electric for this 50th anniversary tour. Expect a repertoire of catalog-spanning originals, a couple of semi-obscure Jefferson Airplane songs like “Good Shepherd” and “Trial by Fire,” and covers of classic blues artists ranging from Jimmy Reed to Reverend Gary Davis.


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