Kansas announced violinist Joe Deninzon as a replacement for David Ragsdale, whose departure was revealed earlier this week.

Deninzon – who uses a seven-string instrument and has been referred to as the “Jimi Hendrix of the violin” – leads the prog band Stratospheerius and has more than 100 recording credits to his name, having worked with the Who, Bruce Springsteen, Ritchie Blackmore and others over the years.

“As a lifelong fan of Kansas, I am overwhelmed and humbled to have been invited to join this legendary band,” he noted in a statement. “I have the deepest respect for Robby [Steinhardt] and David and will do my best to honor and build on their musical legacy.”

Drummer Phil Ehart said, “We are extremely excited for Joe to be the newest member. … We believe Kansas fans will enjoy what Joe will bring to the band. … As the paragraph in the band’s first album said, ‘Kansas is a band,’ and we remain so to this day.”

The group previously reported that Ragsdale had left to “focus on personal matters” after having performed more than 1,600 shows over two stints, the first of which began in 1991. “For 23 years, David has been the best bandmate anyone could ever hope to work with,” Ehart said. “He reinserted the band’s signature violin after years of its absence. Since then, he’s been a critical member of the Kansas family. I speak for the entire organization in saying we will miss him and wish him all the best.”

Deninzon’s first appearance will be at the opening show of Kansas’ 50th-anniversary tour on June 2 in Pittsburgh. The run ends on Jan. 24, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale.

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