Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 153 #197)

Nothing!
There was no class this week and there will be none next week. The newsletter will take a break next week also. See you all again on January 4, 2010 in room B1 at the Old Town School. Enjoy the break, drink egg nog, practice your harp, work up new material and get out to see some live music!

Don't forget to leave Santa some cookies...I think he likes Oreos...

"...I'm the Santa Claus of the blues..."


Class Notes
  • Lost folder! Someone left a blue folder full of "Sonny's Shuffle" transcriptions in B1 last week. Please contact youmissedmonday to claim it.
  • Get your tickets now for the next Harmonica Convergence show featuring Joe Filisko, Howard Levy, Corky Siegel and Peter Madcat Ruth at the Old Town School, March 21, 2010. The show will be a tribute to the great harmonica legend, and longtime Steve Miller Band member, Norton Buffalo. Rumor has it there may be other harp players you know in the lineup, so don't miss it!
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs, jams, birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 152 #196)

Lights Out!
Joe finished up the discussion of Little Walter's chromatic tune, "Lights Out" this week. This song is full of classic Little Walter split fours as opposed to George "Harmonica" Smith's tendency to play full octaves with the split fives. Walter also uses a lot of quick, double-time playing as well, like he did in "Quarter To Twelve". The other interesting thing to watch for is Walter's frequent "note skipping". His phrasing will often jump over a note in the scale, particularly the 6th scale degree. The transcription is available here.

Old Town School Harmonica Recital A Huge Success!!!
Our 13th Harmonica Recital at the Harlem Avenue Lounge last Friday was a resounding success. There was a big crowd and over thirty-two harmonica players participated. This recital was full of great original songs thanks in large part to the talking blues contest held earlier this fall. Keep writing everyone!

Special thanks to Shoji Naito for writing and coordinating our ensemble song, Silver Bells. Also thanks to Kenny Zimmerman of the Harlem Avenue Lounge, Michelle Filisko for monitoring the recording and taking pictures, and thanks to the band for playing such long hours and making everyone sound great: Shoji Naito (guitar), Highway RickEy (drums), Gavin Tun (bass), and for one set, Grant Kessler (guitar).

FlashHarp USB Drives For Sale!
Jim McLean came out to our recital Friday and introduced himself to youmissedmonday. He makes and sells these USB flash drives for computers -- real, playable harps with 2GB or 4GB of storage space preloaded with an instructional video for beginning harmonica players. Check them out for stocking stuffers!
Jim writes:
"FlashHarp is the first and only harmonica USB flash drive and it offers something plain, old, vacuous flash drives don't: a musical soul earned through the harmonica's long and colorful odyssey into the heart of American music. FlashHarp really plays plus it's preloaded "Five Basic Steps" video lesson demystifies the fundamentals so potential musicians are more inclined to pick it up. If you like small things that are big on style, you'll feel cool carrying the FlashHarp even if you don't give a hoot about learning to play (it's just 3 inches long). Those really interested in learning can get a full-sized harmonica along with the FlashHarp in a boxed set called the Plug-n-Play Musical Combo (bigger holes just make learning single-note embouchure easier). (Patented.)"

On sale here: www.backyardbrand.com


New David Barrett Instruction Website!
David Barrett is announcing a new, web-based subscription service to learn and improve your harmonica playing. For $16.95/month you'll have full access to online video instruction, study songs with transcriptions and mp3 files, artist interviews and even instructor assessment if you send in mp3 recordings of your practice sessions.

BluesHarmonica.com is appropriate for all skill levels and David Barrett is one of the finest instructors available. There is a preview video up now and the full site launches December 20. Check it out at: BluesHarmonica.com.

Class Notes
  • Lost folder! Someone left a blue folder full of "Sonny's Shuffle" transcriptions in B1 last night. Please contact youmissedmonday to claim it.
  • No class next week! Old Town School is closed for the holidays. See you in January!
  • Get your tickets now for the next Harmonica Convergence show featuring Joe Filisko, Howard Levy, Corky Siegel and Peter Madcat Ruth at the Old Town School, March 21, 2010. The show will be a tribute to the great harmonica legend, and longtime Steve Miller Band member, Norton Buffalo. Rumor has it there may be other harp players you know in the lineup, so don't miss it!
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs, jams, birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 151 #195)

Rehearsal!
Classes this week were devoted to rehearsal for the Old Town School Blues Harmonica Recital #13 coming up this Friday, December 11, 2009 at the Harlem Avenue Lounge. We rehearsed individual songs with the band and also ran through Shoji's four-part arrangement of Silver Bells. Special thanks to Gavin Tun on bass who came out to class on his birthday last night to rehearse with us -- thanks, Gavin!
The full set list for the Recital can be viewed here. "Impersonate a professional!" Know your time slot and remember to be 45 minutes early -- professional musicians are always early for gigs.

NOTE: If you are on the recital schedule but are unable to make it at the last minute, please contact Joe or youmissedmonday. If you email info@youmissedmonday.com we will see your note even at the recital, so be sure to get in touch with us.

PRACTICE SILVER BELLS!!!
The Silver Bells ensemble goes on at 9pm at the recital this Friday. Here's the link to Silver Bells.

Also, thanks to Highway RickEy for putting together the new play-along tracks below. Choose your part from the list and you will find a play-along track that excludes your part so you can play along with the other three parts. Thanks, Highway!


Grammy Nominations Include Local Harmonica Players!
This year's Grammy nominees were announced this week. Some of our YMM harmonica friends made the cut including Billy Flynn (two nominations for his amazing guitar work!), Scott Dirks (liner notes on The Complete Chess Masters), Kim Wilson, Billy Boy Arnold, Billy Branch, Matthew Skoller, Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith, and John Hammond. The Grammy Awards will take place January 31, 2010. Congrats and good luck to everyone in January! Here's who they're up against:

Best Traditional Blues Album (Vocal or Instrumental)
  • A Stranger Here - Ramblin' Jack Elliott
  • Blue Again - The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band Featuring Rick Vito
  • Rough & Tough - John Hammond (harmonica, guitar, vocals)
  • Stomp! The Blues Tonight - Duke Robillard
  • Chicago Blues: A Living History (Various Artists) - Larry Skoller, producer - Features harmonica players Billy Boy Arnold, Billy Branch, and Matthew Skoller; plus, Billy Flynn (guitar), Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith (drums), and other Chicago legends; visit www.chicagobluesalivinghistory.com.
Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media (Award to the Artist(s) and/or Producer(s) of a majority of the tracks on the album, or to the individual(s) actively responsible for the concept and musical direction and for the selection of artists, songs and producers, as applicable.)
  • Cadillac Records (Various Artists) - Features Kim Wilson (harmonica) and Billy Flynn (guitar)
  • Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (Various Artists)
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Various Artists)
  • True Blood (Various Artists)
  • Twilight (Various Artists)
Best Historical Album
  • The Complete Chess Masters (1950ñ1967) Andy McKaie, compilation producer; Erick Labson, mastering engineer (Little Walter) [Hip-O Select/Geffen Records]
  • My Dusty Road Scott Billington, Michael Creamer & Bill Nowlin, compilation producers; Doug Pomeroy, mastering engineer (Woody Guthrie) [Rounder]
  • Origins Of The Red Hot Mama, 1910ñ1922 Meagan Hennessey & Richard Martin, compilation producers; Richard Martin, mastering engineer (Sophie Tucker) [Archeophone Records]
  • Take Me To The Water: Immersion Baptism In Vintage Music And Photography 1890ñ1950 Steven Lance Ledbetter & Jim Linderman, compilation producers; Robert Vosgien, mastering engineer (Various Artists) [Dust-To-Digital]
  • Woodstock ó 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm Cheryl Pawelski, Mason Williams & Andy Zax, compilation producers; Dave Schultz, mastering engineer (Various Artists) [Rhino]
Full details at: Grammy Awards.

News From The German Harmonica Museum!
"Dear English speaking fans of harmonica and accordion history, collectors, and members,
A season full of events and creativity is ending. Our museum published two little, but unique books (one incl. English summary and the other as full English version available), created some other new souvenirs for our shop and did a lot to preserve the very special history of the free reed instruments. Please visit us/our shop or order by e-mail! See the PDF of our new Xmas flyer!

Some more notes: There is a sale of our attractive metal signs showing old advertising posters. The non-Hohner-motifs will never be printed again; only a few of each are left: "Weiss", "Messner", "Koch", "Pohl", "Meinel & Herold". Costs up to two signs: 8,90 euros each, including free shipment within Europe, add 3 euros for air mail shipment to other continents. (three or more signs: add 3 euros within Europe, add 6 euros for other continents)
Buying books and other souvenirs is very important support for our work!

Thank you very much, have a nice quiet Christmas time and a happy new year.

Best regards,
Martin Haffner, Director
German Harmonica and Accordion Museum
Trossingen, Germany
harmonika-museum@t-online.de

"Hohner - The Living Legend" is a lovingly illustrated book for the 150th anniversary of the firm's founding delights the eye, shows the current product line in Trossingen, and takes you on the tracks of the harmonica in the folk music of the world.

Authors: M. Haffner, H. Wenzel. Price: 48 Euros, will be sent post-free by the Museum within Europe. Order now!

Only for residents of the USA: Copies of the book, "Hohner - The Living Legend" are available by sending a check for $65.00 (incl. tax and shipping) and your mailing address to:

Harland B. Crain
741 Cedar Field Ct.
Chesterfield, MO 63017."

Class Notes
Get your tickets now for the next Harmonica Convergence show featuring Joe Filisko, Howard Levy, Corky Siegel and Peter Madcat Ruth at the Old Town School, March 21, 2010. The show will be a tribute to the great harmonica legend, and longtime Steve Miller Band member, Norton Buffalo. Rumor has it there may be other harp players you know in the lineup, so don't miss it!

Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs, jams, birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 150 #194)

Rehearsal!
Classes this week were devoted to rehearsal for the Old Town School Blues Harmonica Recital #13 coming up December 11, 2009 at the Harlem Avenue Lounge. We rehearsed individual songs with the band and also ran through Shoji's four-part arrangement of Silver Bells. Be ready to rehearse again next week.

The full set list for the Recital can be viewed here.

Joe also handed out and played Silent Night, available here. This is a first position tune in the upper register. To work on your bends, try moving the melody down an octave.

A few readers encountered trouble with the link to last week's transcription, Lights Out, so here's the link again: Lights Out.

PRACTICE SILVER BELLS!!!
We continue to rehearse Shoji's four-part arrangement for Silver Bells. This is ensemble playing that everyone should get involved in and play with us at the December 11 Recital. Pick a part you feel you can master and work on it so you have it memorized for the December 11 performance. We will work on this at 8pm every week leading up to the recital. Regardless of the part you choose, Shoji recommends everyone also spend some time learning the melody (Part One). Here's the link to Silver Bells.

Harmonica Documentary Film Recognized!
Director Marc Lempert and producer Todd Slobin spent time in B1 when working on their film, Pocket Full of Soul, and recently sent this announcement:

Each year The Blues Foundation recognizes excellence in Blues Music by non-performers by presenting the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards. Pocket Full of Soul is honored to be a recipient of this award for 2009 in the category of Visual Broadcast, Film, Television and Video.

For more information about the KBA's, please go to blues.org.

2009 Blues Before Sunrise Film Festival!
Sunday Afternoon, December 6, 2009 - Free Admission

Steve Cushing, Blues Before Sunrise, WDCB, Jazz Record Mart and Delmark Records invite you to Steve's pre-Christmas film party. The screening will be held at Afterwords Bookstore, 23 E. Illinois from noon until 7:00pm, Sunday, December 6. Here is the full schedule.

Note that Steve Cushing's program, Blues Before Sunrise, airs every Saturday at midnight on WDCB 90.9FM.

Class Notes
  • Get your tickets now for the next Harmonica Convergence show featuring Joe Filisko, Howard Levy, Corky Siegel and Peter Madcat Ruth at the Old Town School, March 21, 2010. The show will be a tribute to the great harmonica legend, and longtime Steve Miller Band member, Norton Buffalo. Rumor has it there may be other harp players you know in the lineup, so don't miss it!
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs, jams, birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 149 #193)

Lights Out!
Joe was ready to move on from classic Little Walter slow blues numbers when he remembered Lights Out. This is a great chromatic tune which features Walter playing a lot of double-time figures over the slow tempo. It is also a good place to hear the difference between Walter's chromatic playing and that of George Smith and the West coast players -- Walter tended to play split four intervals and not the split five octaves. He also did not play the button much other than to sometimes play the whole song with it held in.

This song was recorded in July 1953, and Joe is fairly certain this is the first chromatic blues tune issued. If you are considering buying your first chromatic, Joe suggests the Hohner 280. (transcription)

B1 Baby Born Today - Otis Kiyoshi Naito!!!
Shoji Naito and Laura Schlenker had their baby this morning, November 24! Shoji writes:

"Our baby boy was born this morning at 2:40am. He is 7lb 14oz and very healthy.

We named him "Otis," after the best singer, Otis Redding, the best guitarist, Otis Rush, and the best pianist, Otis Spann. Otis and Laura are both doing fine."

CONGRATULATIONS Laura and Shoji, from all your blues friends!

PRACTICE SILVER BELLS!!!
We continue to rehearse Shoji's four-part arrangement for Silver Bells. This is ensemble playing that everyone should get involved in and play with us at the December 11 Recital. Pick a part you feel you can master and work on it so you have it memorized for the December 11 performance. We will work on this at 8pm every week leading up to the recital. Regardless of the part you choose, Shoji recommends everyone also spend some time learning the melody (Part One). Here's the link to Silver Bells.

Sonny Terry Book Review!
YouMissedMonday reader Jim Jucas shares his review of the book, Sonny Terry Blues Riffs, A Playalong Course For Intermediate Harp Players, written by Ben Hewlett:

"After the Talking Blues Contest, Joe gave me advice for how to improve my talking blues song: 'Go fishing for riffs.' I did a fair amount of "fishing" on the net, and indeed found some good riffs that way. I've been listening to Sonny Terry lately, as per Joe's recommendation to listen to the great masters, so I thought this book would be useful in following up on Joe's advice.

The book is a downloadable pack, which includes a pdf of the sheet music and mp3's of the tracks. You don't get the usual paper and ink book with a cd on the inside cover, but a pdf file on your computer that opens in Adobe Reader (free) software. That is the 'book' or 'sheet music' part, and there are sixty-seven mp3 files that should play automatically on your computer when you click them. Once you checkout, you are directed to a link which downloads the material. The downloading process worked seamlessly. The cost of this format is less than traditional formats, and the charge for it was 9.99 pounds (about $17).

You can also, of course, print out the pdf file, and also import the mp3s into iTunes or other software, and from there burn your own cd. In my case, I decided to try to go paperless and cd-less, and see how learning and using the material at my computer would work. After a short while, I found I needed to print the sheet music and burn a cd, so I could examine and listen away from the computer.

The book contains a two page intro that recommends you get in touch with Joe Filisko 'if you want to get deeply immersed in the styles of the early harp players.' This is followed by a two page biography of Sonny Terry and a one page bio of Joe and one page of reviews of the book from Pat Missin, Paul Lamb and Tom Ball. That and the author bios at the end are about all the text there is. The rest of the book is the sheet music of the sixty-seven riffs, written out in standard music notation with a simple and basic harp tab. Occasionally, syllables such as 'ah wah cha-chi-cka wah cha' are suggested above the staff and are given as an aid in figuring out how to match the articulations. Each track contains the riff played with a click/drum background, and in three tempos: fast, slow, and medium. The click track and harp parts are panned so that the click track can be turned down and you can hear the harp more clearly. The tracks also include four play-along backing tracks (in E, D, F, and G) and the fabulous Good Friend cut from the latest Joe Filisko and Eric Noden cd, 'I.C. Special'.

The riffs are based on three of Sonny's songs: Blowing the Blues, Train Whistle Blues, and New Love Blues, all from the album 'Sonny Terry Vol. 1 1938-1945'. I was able to purchase them on Amazon's MP3 Downloads web site. Listening to these songs and then using the book creates an extremely useful tool in learning how to play these riffs.

Ben and Paul are working on a follow-up book of Sonny Terry riffs. To make this terrific resource even more useful, I recommend numbering the tracks to correspond to the number of the riffs. Overall, I found the book and music provide a no-nonsense scaffolding for learning how to play these wonderful riffs."

Available from: www.harmonicaworld.net

Class Notes
  • RECITAL SIGN-UP SHEETS WERE TURNED IN LAST NIGHT! Joe will have a schedule ready next Monday. Rehearse your songs with the band the next two Mondays.
  • Get your tickets now for the next Harmonica Convergence show featuring Joe Filisko, Howard Levy, Corky Siegel and Peter Madcat Ruth at the Old Town School, March 21, 2010. The show will be a tribute to the great harmonica legend, and longtime Steve Miller Band member, Norton Buffalo.
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs, jams, birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 148 #192)

Quarter To Twelve, Part 2!
Joe continued his discussion of Little Walter's classic, Quarter To Twelve this week. This slow blues has a jazzy feel and is punctuated by bursts of notes. Because it is played acoustically, Walter uses various hand techniques to modify his tone -- Joe has notated these on the transcription. Remember that guitar or bass accompaniment should be playing the Blue Midnight riff (and sequencing it over the chord changes), which you'll find on the first Blue Midnight transcription. Learn to play this line on your harmonica or at least be able to hum it, so you can get the band to play correctly behind you. View transcription.

PRACTICE SILVER BELLS!!!
We continue to rehearse Shoji's four-part arrangement for Silver Bells. This is ensemble playing that everyone should get involved in and play with us at the December 11 Recital. Pick a part you feel you can master and work on it so you have it memorized for the December 11 performance. We will work on this at 8pm every week leading up to the recital. Regardless of the part you choose, Shoji recommends everyone also spend some time learning the melody (Part One). Here's the link to Silver Bells.

Loop Pedal Roundup!
Following Son of Dave's visit last week, there has been some interest in loop pedals. Here is a brief lineup of info with some basic comments. Please follow this with your own research:
  • Least expensive
  • Multiple drum/metronome choices
  • Aux input so you can plug an mp3 player into it
  • Most expensive
  • Metronome; but fewer drum patterns than the RC2
  • Aux input so you can plug an mp3 player into it
  • Ability to change tempo without changing pitch
  • Shoji has this one
  • No metronome and no drum tracks
  • Aux input so you can plug an mp3 player into it
  • Ability to clear all tracks except the first one recorded
  • Son of Dave uses this one because of this last feature -- it lets him drop back to his original bass line with one button push
Class Notes
  • RECITAL SIGN-UP SHEETS DUE NEXT WEEK! Joe passed out Recital Sign-up Sheets last night and they are due back next week. Put together your song list for the December 11 recital and turn it in so Joe can create a schedule. If you can't make the recital, it's important to let Joe know that. If you are going to miss class next week, please send your sign up sheet with a friend or email us at info@youmissedmonday.com. Remember, Joe highly recommends that you do your talking blues song at the recital.
  • Here is an interesting site that shows a visual depiction of note bending. Please note that Joe cautions against exerting excess pressure or using force to bend notes.
  • Get your tickets now for the next Harmonica Convergence show featuring Joe Filisko, Howard Levy, Corky Siegel and Peter Madcat Ruth at the Old Town School, March 21, 2010. The show will be a tribute to the great harmonica legend, and longtime Steve Miller Band member, Norton Buffalo.
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs, jams, birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 147 #191)

Quarter To Twelve!

"Aw baby, don't go yet, it's only a quarter to twelve."
- Little Walter

Joe did NOT miss class this week. He and Eric have returned from a successful European tour, and Joe got back to work teaching the Little Walter slow blues tune, Quarter To Twelve. Joe pointed out that Walter often plays with a double-time feel over this slow groove. Other unique things to watch for are Walter's jazzy use of headshakes on holes 5 and 6 and his rapid, almost imperceptible "partial" headshake, which Joe notates with a "$". View transcription.

We continue to rehearse Shoji's four-part arrangement for Silver Bells. This is ensemble playing that everyone should get involved in and play with us at the December 11 Recital. Pick a part you feel you can master and work on it so you have it memorized for the December 11 performance. We will work on this at 8pm every week leading up to the recital. Regardless of the part you choose, Shoji recommends everyone also spend some time learning the melody (Part One). Here's the link to Silver Bells.

Special Guest - Son of Dave!
B1 had a surprise visit from Son of Dave last night. In Chicago recording his next album, Son of Dave stopped by to give us a taste of his high-energy, whirlwind, one-man-band style of blues-infused music. He plays strong, infectious harp grooves, stomps his feet, rattles shakers, moans, groans, screams and beat-boxes to create a wild, layered one-man show. To see for yourself, check out his videos at: Son of Dave. Buy his discs here.
photos: Highway RickEy

Hot New YouMissedMonday Blog Feature!
We've added a new, separate calendar to the ymm blog. This one features blues jams so get out there and sit in to improve your playing! If you're hosting a jam, be sure to let us know so we can list it for you.

Elder Roma Wilson Honored!
YouMissedMonday friend and stalwart SPAH attendee, Cliff Hall, wrote in recently to tell us about harmonica player Elder Roma Wilson being honored with a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker. Cliff writes:

"Compared to other blues marker ceremonies I've attended, this one was pretty modest. It was held on a weekday, so the crowd wasn't very large. Mostly local New Albany dignitaries, a few of the honorees' relatives, and several members of Rev. Pinson's church. The marker was placed across the road from Rev. Pinson's old church and there was a nice reception in the church hall afterwards with some terrific gospel singing. I had hoped to be able to talk with some of Roma Wilson's children, but none were there. I did speak with Sam Mosley, a local bluesman who has also been honored with a Blues Trail Marker. He said that he grew up listening to Elder Roma Wilson and enjoyed his playing but didn't, at the time, appreciate its significance. He thought that most of Wilson's children are still in Detroit where he lived for several years. None returned to Mississippi with him."

To read more about the Blues Trail, click here.

Class Notes
  • Joe will pass out Recital sign-up sheets next week and they will be due back the following week. Be putting together your song list for tunes you plan to play at the Recital on December 11 -- your talking blues song is highly encouraged at the Recital.
  • The next Old Town School Harmonica Recital is scheduled for December 11 at the Harlem Avenue Lounge.
  • Harmonica Einstein is looking for an agent.
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs, jams, birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 146 #190)

More Chords and Basslines!
Joe is still touring Europe, spreading the Filisko/Noden sound, so Shoji Naito revisited the chords and basslines topic. After a review, which included non-twelve-bar forms, Shoji taught a slow blues bassline and a triplet chord technique. Leave the band behind and make music with two or three harmonica players! To see Shoji's material, go here.
We continue to rehearse Shoji's four-part arrangement for Silver Bells. This is ensemble playing that everyone should get involved in and play with us at the December 11 Recital. Pick a part you feel you can master and work on it so you have it memorized for the December 11 performance. We will work on this at 8pm every week now leading up to the recital. Regardless of the part you choose, Shoji recommends everyone also spend some time learning the melody (Part One). Here's the link to Silver Bells.

Hot New YouMissedMonday Blog Feature!
We've added a new, separate calendar to the ymm blog. This one features blues jams so get out there and sit in to improve your playing! If you're hosting a jam, be sure to let us know so we can list it for you.

R.I.P. Norton Buffalo!
Legendary harmonica player, Norton Buffalo, passed away last Friday. R.I.P. Norton, from harmonica players and music fans around the world. Here's a great article about him.

Class Notes
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 145 #189)

Chords and Basslines!
Joe is out of town but Shoji Naito did a fabulous job filling in for him. We reviewed Shoji's lesson on playing chords and basslines on the harmonica and also used this to play forms other than standard 12 bar blues. This is a terrific way to solidify your counting skills and music theory because you are essentially playing guitar parts on your harmonica. Shoji will spend more time on this again next week and will advance the lesson if people show they've spent time working on it. To review, go here. Remember, Level Three students are welcome to stay for the 8pm class to play chords and basslines.

We also went over Shoji's four-part arrangement for Silver Bells. This is ensemble playing that everyone should get involved in and play with us at the December 11 Recital. Pick a part you feel you can master and work on it so you have it memorized for the performance. We will work on this at 8pm every week now leading up to the recital. Regardless of the part you choose, Shoji recommends everyone spend some time learning the melody also (Part One). Here's the link to Silver Bells.

Harp Show Review: Kim Wilson at The Midway Tavern - October 23, 2009!
Our own Kirk Manley caught a great show in Indiana recently. Here's his review:

"I could use about 12 Kim Wilsons."

That's what Midway Tavern owner, Albertina Wassenhove, proclaimed scanning the smiling faces (including B1 blues buddy, Charlie Yost!) at her packed place for the Kim Wilson Blues Revue last Friday in Mishawaka, Indiana. Unfortunately, for Albertina, there is only one Kim Wilson. Fortunately, the blues harmonica master/singer adores the 83-year-old and her vow to keep the blues alive.

The club was established by Albertina's parents during Prohibition, in 1924 as "The Midway Lunch" to keep its liquor sales a secret. They began featuring live music in 1933. In many ways, it still looks and feels like an old beer-drinking dancehall. National acts such as Rick Estrin, Rod Piazza, John Nemeth, the late Gary Primich, and James Harman, along with locals sign their names on the Midway's walls leaving their permanent mark of appreciation...Kim Wilson included.

Wilson, who still leads The Fabulous Thunderbirds, assembled a stellar blues ensemble featuring Barrelhouse Chuck (piano), Billy Flynn (lead guitar), Kenny Smith (drums), Randy Bermudes (bass), and Little Frank Krakowski (rhythm guitar).

But, Friday night's music didn't begin with Kim Wilson or the band, since Bermudes' flight was late coming in from California. Instead, Barrelhouse kicked off the show with a solo set on the Midway's beat-up, old upright. The tinny, crusty piano sound, muffled by crowd chatter and beer bottles clanking, gave the 75-year-old venue a modern-day juke joint feel. Once the talented Barrelhouse finished his blues piano clinic celebrating his mentors and heroes, Little Brother Montgomery and Sunnyland Slim included, it was star time.

By the second song of the night, Wilson was ready to take on first position for the tune, "'Bout The Break of Day," John Lee Williamson's classic made popular by Junior Wells. Two choruses into his solo, Wilson abandons the stage - minus any amplification - and improvises at least 8 choruses down the middle aisle of the Midway's dancehall. The catch? Wilson limited himself to holes 7-10 on his harp (kids: don't try this at home or anywhere else, for that matter). But, Kim pulls it off without a hitch. Jimmy Reed would be proud.

Throughout the night, Kim and the boys played two extended sets, 90 minutes each. The spirits of Little Walter, Rice Miller, Big Walter Horton, and living legend James Cotton were convincingly close by. No set list in sight. Unreal for a 58-year-old veteran who plays 300 shows a year. Billy Flynn's guitar playing swung harder than my ears had ever witnessed. It was a testament to Kim's unselfish leadership and energy, not to mention, the rhythm section's constant drive and subtle exchanges. Little Walter & The Aces would be proud.

The night's sound was also reminiscent of the collective work Wilson, Barrelhouse and Flynn recorded last year for the Cadillac Records' movie soundtrack. This is not because the band sounded exactly like those historic Chess recordings. But, instead, because each musician was completely aware of what everyone else was doing - or not doing - at all times. You could see it on their faces. You could hear it in their solos. Muddy would be proud.

Wilson performed his encore tune, Nine Below Zero, by himself. Hard to believe, especially since he was able to maintain the rhythm and solos simultaneously on a slower tempo number like this Rice Miller classic. Sonny Boy would be proud.

Once again, the Kim Wilson Blues Revue proved to be one-of-a-kind when it comes to recapturing the spirit of that classic Chicago sound. Now, if there's a way to convince Kim to return to The Midway 12 times next year, Albertina's wish would come true.

What Did You Learn?!
YouMissedMonday wondered what you learned by working on and performing for the talking blues contest last week. Responses were light, but here are a few thoughts:

"Writing the talking blues song got everyone's creative juices flowing. It was challenging, fun, exciting and a great learning experience. It helped me begin to understand song structure and how hard it is to write one. It also helped me improve my performance skills. It was great to see what each person came up with and it showed a new side of people that we wouldn't have otherwise seen."
- Ginny Morin

"This was the first song I've written lyrics for and I was amazed that you can write a song in your own voice and words and then have trouble remembering the lyrics! I would have thought the personal process of writing the song would have cemented the lyrics in my head, but no.

I also worked hard to write three-part horn line harmony. What I learned working with Shoji and Rickey on this is that I may hear the parts in my head, but I wasn't able to write them down in correct rhythmic notation. I bought lined staff paper yesterday and am excited to spend time with Shoji learning to write music so I can communicate my horn lines with other players."
- Grant Kessler

Class Notes
  • Joe is out of town next Monday, November 2, but group classes proceed as usual with Shoji Naito at the helm.
  • The next Old Town School Harmonica Recital is scheduled for December 11 at the Harlem Avenue Lounge.
  • Big Alex captured great footage of Jim Liban and Joe Filisko doing Walter's Boogie together at the Chicago Blues Harp Bash. Check it out at the top of the video list on youmissedmonday.com - complete with great harp playing by Billy Flynn and Gerry Hundt, too!
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 144 #188)

Talking Blues Contest!
The long-anticipated talking blues contest was a huge hit! The room was packed and there were over twenty-two entries. People dressed up in feathers, hats and even custom-printed shirts, and there were great performances. We even had a visit from our long lost friend, Bayou Bill!
Joe awarded five prizes. Four runners up and one grand prize Filisko custom harp, which went to Tall Paul Sabel for his song, Paul's Nightmare. It's clear he was channeling Big Jim when he ended his long, minor, stream of conscience drone with this stinger:

"I blinked and rubbed my eyes and found myself in a stall in the bathroom of the Ellis Island Casino in Vegas. I heard someone whispering in the next stall. I leaned closer trying to hear what he was saying. It was Joe Filisko -- you want to know what he said?......'These are the kind of dreams you will continue to have if I catch you puckering or making 'white boy' throat noises again.'"

Special thanks to the band for all their hard work, Shoji Naito, Highway RickEy and Grant Kessler.
Ensemble Tune For Recital!
Merry Christmas! Shoji has created another fabulous multi-harp arrangement for the winter recital. Go to this link to learn all about it and practice a part that's appropriate for you: Silver Bells. We'll discuss parts and possibly rehearse this at the beginning of the 8:00pm class next week, October 26, so stay a few minutes for that if you can.

Annie Raines and Paul Rishell!
The Annie Raines and Paul Rishell tour does not bring them to Chicago, but they will be within driving distance. Annie is a renowned player and worth catching if you can get there. They're near Kankakee tonight. Their full schedule is at: www.paulandannie.com.

Southwest Filisko Liaison Checks In!
Our beloved Big Jim Themelis wrote recently to tell us about seeing a short version of the coming documentary film Pocket Full Of Soul. In his words:

"Hello everyone!

This isn't really a review but I did get to see the 45 minute version of "Pocket Full Of Soul" at the Tucson music and film festival. I don't know how long the full length version is or will be. I was told I made the cut in the 45 minute version. I'm in there long enough to be the 5th person saying Sonny Boy Williamson so it seemed like less than a second but may have been a second and a half. I would have missed myself if I hadn't known I was in there somewhere. I hope I get to at least say Big Walter Horton in the extended version.

Anyway this version was pretty entertaining. It was educational and funny and featured many of our dear friends: Sugar Blue, Gary Primich, Joe Filisko and Howard Levy were featured prominently in this short version. The cast included Rick Estrin, Kim Wilson, Magic Dick, Jerry Portnoy, Dennis Gruenling, Jason Ricci, Scott Dirks, Charlie Musselwhite, Steve Guyger, Billy Branch, Buzz Krantz, Madcat Ruth, Corky Siegel, John Popper, Rod Piazza, Mickey Raphael, Annie Raines, Clint Black, Huey Lewis, Lee Oskar, Tommy Morgan, and some fun SPAH folks. I'm sure I'm forgetting some folks and a few I did not know. Eric Noden and Big Alex Cuevas made the credits but I'm not sure if their music was in this version of the film or documentary. I hope they get distribution to release this as a full length feature film or documentary around the world so that you can all see this at a theater near you soon."
- Jim

Class Notes
  • Joe is out of town next Monday, October 26, but group classes proceed as usual with Shoji Naito at the helm.
  • The next Old Town School Harmonica Recital is scheduled for December 11 at the Harlem Avenue Lounge.
  • Joe highly recommends the new David Barrett book, Blues Harmonica Accompaniment Playing.
What Did You Learn?!
You Missed Monday wants to hear from you! Tell us about your experience writing and performing for the talking blues contest. What did you learn? Any insights? Write and let us know and we'll compile your comments for a future newsletter. Thanks! info@youmissedmonday.com

Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 143 #187)

Talking Blues Contest Rehearsal!
Still dreaming of caipirinhas, Joe made it back from Brazil and led class sessions devoted to students rehearsing their talking blues songs for next week's contest. Remember to talk rather than sing and treat this as a performance. Strong showings will sell the story. Communicate well with the band and even dress the part.

The contest begins at 6:30pm, October 19, in room B1. Joe's 12:30pm class will go first, in alphabetical order, followed by the 6:30pm and 8:00pm classes. If you have to arrive late, Joe will work you into the schedule. Guests won't be turned away, but they may have to sit on the floor as we expect the room to be crowded.
  • Contest is open to all Level III and Level IV students as well as private lesson students.
  • The song should be harmonica-driven.
  • Some singing is ok, but the idea is to do a talking blues so everyone can participate.
  • Produce an entertaining performance.
  • Bonus for originality.
  • You should make use of the B1 band -- know how to communicate to them what you want.
  • Remember, you are competing with yourself. Joe is looking for a winning performance that shows you've pushed yourself and grown. Find your inner showmanship and put on a memorable performance!
Ensemble Tune For Recital!
Merry Christmas! Shoji has created another fabulous multi-harp arrangement for the winter recital. Go to this link to learn all about it and practice a part that's appropriate for you: Silver Bells. We'll begin rehearsing this in class on October 26.

Class Notes
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 142 #186)

Shoji Naito!
Joe is spreading the tongue-blocking, inhale-only, Filisko blues gospel in Brazil this week so we had the honor of learning from Shoji Naito. Shoji helped people rehearse and refine their talking blues songs and reprised the harmonica chord and bassline playing lesson. Learning to play these parts on harp will strengthen your feel for the twelve-bar form and also lets you play without a band. To review this lesson, click here. Watch for harmonica-only groups at the next recital in December!

Chicago Blues Harp Bash #2 Photos, Take 1!
Here are a few photos from our recent Bash! More in upcoming newsletters. Special thanks to Rita Tongpituk for these photos.

Alex "Easy Baby" Randle, RIP!
Bassist, and YouMissedMonday friend, Karl Meyer checked in recently to report on the passing of Alex Randle on September 25, 2009 of pneumonia. Randle, known as Easy Baby, was a Chicago area harmonica legend. To learn more about Easy Baby and see photos, click here.

Talking Blues Contest News -- Date Change!
The talking blues contest is October 19:
  • Contest is open to all Level III and Level IV students as well as private lesson students.
  • The song should be harmonica-driven.
  • Some singing is ok, but the idea is to do a talking blues so everyone can participate.
  • Produce an entertaining performance.
  • Bonus for originality.
  • You should make use of the B1 band -- know how to communicate to them what you want.
  • Remember, you are competing with yourself. Joe is looking for a winning performance that shows you've pushed yourself and grown. Find your inner showmanship and put on a memorable performance!
Class Notes
  • The next Old Town School Harmonica Recital is scheduled for December 11 at the Harlem Avenue Lounge.
  • Joe highly recommends the new David Barrett book, Blues Harmonica Accompaniment Playing.
  • Merry Christmas! Shoji has created another fabulous multi-harp arrangement for the winter recital. Go to this link to learn all about it and practice a part that's appropriate for you: Silver Bells.
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 141 #185)

Blue Midnight, the Alternate Take!
Having studied the released take of Blue Midnight by Little Walter recently, Joe is now teaching the alternate take (transcription). Joe recommends taking some time to study and compare the two songs and transcriptions. Verse two, for example, is clearly a theme Little Walter meant to repeat. Verse one of the alternate take is different, though and makes use of the tongue trill, or tongue shake, extensively. Use this song as a workout for your tongue trill, your vibrato, and the "exhale push" which you'll need in order to get through the long inhale phrases.

Chicago Blues Harp Bash #2 Was a Huge Success!
The Second Annual Chicago Blues Harp Bash was this past Saturday night and it was a huge success on all fronts. Thanks to everyone who came out to support this special event. Bill's Blues club was sold out. Performers stepped up and put on great shows. Jim Liban's performance was stellar. And once again, Billy Flynn and his band were wonderful backing everyone up -- thanks to Billy on guitar, Kenny Smith on drums, and Gerry Hundt known for his sideman work with Nick Moss & The Flip Tops on bass!

Thanks to everyone who made this event possible: Marianna Delinck Manley for the poster design; Grant Kessler for Jim Liban's poster photography; Beth Brophy of the Vagus Agency for arranging press coverage (great press example here); Jaime Viehweg for the Bash website; Michelle Filisko for CD and poster sales; Bill Gilmore of Bill's Blues for hosting; Big Alex Cuevas for event photography and filming; the Monday night B1 Blues Band, Shoji Naito and Highway Rickey; and MC, Kirk Manley.

Special Notice From Shoji!
Joe will not be in class October 5. Shoji Naito will be teaching all three group classes and shares this:

"Next week will be a 'talking blues rehearsal' day (both Level III and IV). Everybody can try his or her talking blues idea with Shoji, Grant and Rickey (during Level IV). If you are not ready to try to rehearse, you can at least tell us your ideas or ask questions. Or you can just play regular class songs.

Level IV class: we will also try to review and play as a harmonica duo or trio. Please review this!"

Talking Blues Contest News -- Date Change!
The talking blues contest is now officially re-scheduled for October 19:
  • Contest is open to all Level III and Level IV students as well as private lesson students.
  • The song should be harmonica-driven.
  • Some singing is ok, but the idea is to do a talking blues so everyone can participate.
  • Produce an entertaining performance.
  • Bonus for originality.
  • You should make use of the B1 band -- know how to communicate to them what you want.
  • Remember, you are competing with yourself. Joe is looking for a winning performance that shows you've pushed yourself and grown. Find your inner showmanship and put on a memorable performance!
Class Notes
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 140 #184)

Breathing Technique and the Performance Flag List!
Instruction this week centered on newly updated versions of Joe's handouts: Harmonica Breathing Guide, Performance Flag List and General Wisdom from Filisko. These handouts consolidate valuable technique suggestions that will keep you on the right track in your playing and practicing. Get copies from Joe if you missed class and spend time going over them!

Get your tickets now because they're going fast! There will be a few available at the door, but don't count on it. It's going to be a great show.

Here are Big Alex' videos to get you pumped up about Jim Liban:
The Chicago Blues Harp Bash showcases five local harp players: Andrew Diehl, Buzz Krantz, Brad Rodger, Grant Kessler and Tim Spahn, all backed by the amazing Billy Flynn Band. Following their performances will be our headliner, Jim Liban!


Gary Primich Website Updated!
The family of the late, great Gary Primich has updated Gary's website with lots of new info. There are Cathi Norton interviews and even a plug for our upcoming Harp Bash! Gary was a very special part of the B1 Blues family so be sure to check out all the new info in the Tour, Links and Lore sections. Click here.


Talking Blues Contest News -- Date Change!
The talking blues contest is now officially re-scheduled for October 19:
  • Contest is open to all Level III and Level IV students as well as private lesson students.
  • The song should be harmonica-driven.
  • Some singing is ok, but the idea is to do a talking blues so everyone can participate.
  • Produce an entertaining performance.
  • Bonus for originality.
  • You should make use of the B1 band -- know how to communicate to them what you want.
  • Remember, you are competing with yourself. Joe is looking for a winning performance that shows you've pushed yourself and grown. Find your inner showmanship and put on a memorable performance!
Class Notes
  • September 28 -- Shoji will not be in class, so plan your songs accordingly.
  • You've got homework! October 5, 26 and November 2 -- Joe will be away but group classes will continue as usual with Shoji Naito teaching. Level Four students should review and practice chord and bassline techniques. Follow this link.
  • The next Old Town School Harmonica Recital is scheduled for December 11 at the Harlem Avenue Lounge.
  • Joe highly recommends the new David Barrett book, Blues Harmonica Accompaniment Playing.
  • Merry Christmas! Shoji has created another fabulous multi-harp arrangement for the winter recital. Go to this link to learn all about it and practice a part that's appropriate for you: Silver Bells.
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 139 #183)

Blue Midnight, Part 2!
Joe taught the second two choruses of "Blue Midnight" by Little Walter this week (transcription). Joe stressed again how Walter gets "maximum blues horsepower" by playing primarily inhale notes. This led to Joe formulating these ideas:

Rules For Playing Blues
1. When in doubt, inhale.
2. Restrict yourself to holes 1-5.

Joe considers "Blue Midnight" along with "Blue Light" to be the pinnacle of slow blues playing.

Papa Lightfoot Honored!
George "Papa" Lightfoot was honored September 4, 2009 with a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker in his hometown of Natchez, MS.

Norton Buffalo Ailing!
Just a note to let Norton Buffalo fans know he's been diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma. Full details here.

Hohner Launches New "Crossover" Harmonica!
Hohner USA has released its new Crossover harmonica featuring sealed bamboo combs, airtight response, screw-together assembly and compromise tuning. Joe Filisko and Howard Levy are endorsing this new model. Available now and running approximately $60, you can learn more here.

Awesome Jim Liban Videos!
Still unsure who Jim Liban is? Wondering why you should get tickets to the upcoming Chicago Blues Harp Bash? Check out these videos of Filisko's "favorite player" thanks to B1's in-house video master, Big Alex Cuevas:
The Chicago Blues Harp Bash showcases five local harp players: Andrew Diehl, Buzz Krantz, Brad Rodger, Grant Kessler and Tim Spahn, all backed by the amazing Billy Flynn Band. Following their performances will be our headliner, Jim Liban! Don't miss this show.

Talking Blues Contest News -- Date Change!
The talking blues contest is now officially re-scheduled for October 19:
  • Contest is open to all Level III and Level IV students as well as private lesson students.
  • The song should be harmonica-driven.
  • Some singing is ok, but the idea is to do a talking blues so everyone can participate.
  • Produce an entertaining performance.
  • Bonus for originality.
  • You should make use of the B1 band -- know how to communicate to them what you want.
  • Remember, you are competing with yourself. Joe is looking for a winning performance that shows you've pushed yourself and grown. Find your inner showmanship and put on a memorable performance!
Class Notes
  • Tickets are selling out fast for this great show, so shop now! Seats may not be available if you buy at the door, so be sure to pre-order them at the Bash website. Patron and Platinum reserved seating are still available.
  • September 28 -- Shoji will not be in class, so plan your songs accordingly.
  • October 5, 26 and November 2 -- Joe will be away but group classes will continue as usual with Shoji Naito teaching.
  • The next Old Town School Harmonica Recital is scheduled for December 11 at the Harlem Avenue Lounge.
  • Joe highly recommends the new David Barrett book, Blues Harmonica Accompaniment Playing.
  • Shoji has posted a play-along track for "Blue Midnight" on the youmissedmonday page.
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 138 #182)

Not a Note!
The Old Town School was closed yesterday for the Labor Day Holiday. Hope you had some blues and BBQ somewhere! Classes resume next Monday, September 14.

Don't Miss the Filisko & Noden CD Release Party!
Joe and Eric release their new CD, "I.C. Special", on September 12th at Martyrs, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL. The show starts at 7:00pm.

Awesome Jim Liban Videos!
Still unsure who Jim Liban is? Wondering why you should get tickets to the upcoming Chicago Blues Harp Bash? Check out these videos of Filisko's "favorite player" thanks to B1's in-house video master, Big Alex Cuevas:
The Chicago Blues Harp Bash showcases five local harp players: Andrew Diehl, Buzz Krantz, Brad Rodger, Grant Kessler and Tim Spahn, all backed by the amazing Billy Flynn Band. Following their performances will be our headliner, Jim Liban! Don't miss this show.

Talking Blues Contest News -- Date Change!
Turns out Joe will be spreading the big-tone, tongue-blocking, blues-scale gospel in Brazil October 5th, so the talking blues contest is going to be rescheduled and a new date will be announced soon. Joe has the "winner" and "honorable mention" prizes ready so keep working up your tune:
  • Contest is open to all Level III and Level IV students as well as private lesson students.
  • The song should be harmonica-driven.
  • Some singing is ok, but the idea is to do a talking blues so everyone can participate.
  • Produce an entertaining performance.
  • Bonus for originality.
  • You should make use of the B1 band -- know how to communicate to them what you want.
  • Remember, you are competing with yourself. Joe is looking for a winning performance that shows you've pushed yourself and grown. Find your inner showmanship and put on a memorable performance!
Class Notes
  • Get your Chicago Blues Harp Bash tickets before they sell out! Seats may not be available if you buy at the door, so be sure to pre-order them at the Bash website. Patron and Platinum reserved seating are also available. Get yours soon so you don't miss this great show!
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 137 #181)

Blue Midnight!
Joe taught the first two choruses of the classic Little Walter instrumental, "Blue Midnight". This is a killer slow blues tune that makes extreme use of inhale notes. Joe's transcription also shows the bass line tabbed for harmonica so you can learn it and "teach" it to your bass player when necessary.

Joe also spent some time talking about proper hand position and posture when playing. If you missed this and want the review, grab Joe next time you see him.

NO CLASS NEXT MONDAY -- LABOR DAY!

Don't Miss the Filisko & Noden CD Release Party!
Joe and Eric release their new CD, "I.C. Special", on September 12th at Martyrs, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL. The show starts at 7:00pm.

Catch Joe and Eric for a live, in-studio performance on the College of DuPage radio 90.9FM, this Thursday, September 3 at 10:00pm.

Blues Band Looking For Harmonica Player!
Hey, this doesn't happen often enough, so check out this opportunity! Mike Carano contacted You Missed Monday because he is looking for a harp player/singer to front a band. Here are a few of his comments:

"We'd like a singing harp player to front a combo with guitar, bass, keys and drums. We're looking for a good, dynamic singer, since he or she would be the front person. We need someone who already knows the standards cold, can improvise freely, and can lead the band on stage right now. Our plan is to pick 30 songs, run through them once, maybe twice, and start gigging."

If you're interested, contact Mike Carano: mcchgo@aol.com

Swing Dance Lessons and Horns!
Hey, I caught Morry Sochat and the Special 20s at Martini Park recently and it was a great show. I loved the horn section and swinging blues they were playing. Tuesday, September 1 they are back doing that same great stuff, with a very special guest on bass, Jimmy Sutton. Head down to Martini Park for free swing dance lessons and some great jumpin' and swingin' blues!

Talking Blues Contest News -- Date Change!
Turns out Joe will be spreading the big-tone, tongue-blocking, blues-scale gospel in Brazil October 5th, so the talking blues contest is going to be rescheduled and a new date will be announced soon. Joe has the "winner" and "honorable mention" prizes ready so keep working up your tune:
  • Contest is open to all Level III and Level IV students as well as private lesson students.
  • The song should be harmonica-driven.
  • Some singing is ok, but the idea is to do a talking blues so everyone can participate.
  • Produce an entertaining performance.
  • Bonus for originality.
  • You should make use of the B1 band -- know how to communicate to them what you want.
  • Remember, you are competing with yourself. Joe is looking for a winning performance that shows you've pushed yourself and grown. Find your inner showmanship and put on a memorable performance!
Class Notes
  • Get your Chicago Blues Harp Bash tickets before they sell out! Seats may not be available if you buy at the door, so be sure to pre-order them at the Bash website. Patron and Platinum reserved seating are also available. Get yours soon so you don't miss this great show!
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

-- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 136 #180)

Not One Note!

The Old Town School of Folk Music is closed again this week for summer break. It's a good time to be working on your talking blues tunes for Joe's upcoming contest scheduled for October 5. Contest rules are included in this newsletter.


Remember: harmonica classes resume August 31, so sign up today!


There's Always Live Music Out There!

When you're done practicing, catch some live harmonica shows in and around Chicago this week including Morry Sochat & The Special 20s, Shoji Naito with Eddy Clearwater, and two shows featuring our own Joe Filisko with Eric Noden! Check the YMM calendar at www.youmissedmonday.com for event details.


Talking Blues Contest News!

Here are things to keep in mind for the talking blues contest slated for October 5:

  • Contest is open to all Level III and Level IV students as well as private lesson students.
  • The song should be harmonica-driven.
  • Some singing is ok, but the idea is to do a talking blues so everyone can participate.
  • Produce an entertaining performance.
  • Bonus for originality.
  • Joe is "highly considering" an honorable mention prize!
  • You should make use of the B1 band -- know how to communicate to them what you want.
  • Remember, you are competing with yourself. Joe is looking for a winning performance that shows you've pushed yourself and grown. Find your inner showmanship and put on a memorable performance!

Class Notes

Do you have your Chicago Blues Harp Bash tickets yet? They're available at the Bash website. Patron and Platinum reserved seating are also available. Get yours soon so you don't miss this great show!


Newsletter News!

The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.


- Kirk Manley, B1 Blues Crew (in for Grant Kessler)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 135 #179)

Nada!
The Old Town School of Folk Music is closed for a two-week summer break. Use the time to practice, grasshopper...or maybe just go fishing!

Harmonica classes resume August 31 -- sign up now!

Get Out For Live Blues!
Of course the other thing you should be doing is heading out to hear all the great harmonica-driven music in town this week. In addition to local players like James Conway, Morry Sochat and Billy Flynn, you also have a chance this week to catch Watermelon Slim who doesn't play here often. Plus, we'd also like to point out that the Official Kansas City Liaison for the Filisko Method has two gigs here this week -- check out Jimmie Meade and his band Leveetown!

Talking Blues Contest News!
Joe has officially scheduled the talking blues contest for Oct 5. Here are things to keep in mind:
  • Contest is open to all Level III and Level IV students as well as private lesson students.
  • The song should be harmonica-driven.
  • Some singing is ok, but the idea is to do a talking blues so everyone can participate.
  • Produce an entertaining performance.
  • Bonus for originality.
  • Joe is "highly considering" an honorable mention prize!
  • You should make use of the B1 band -- know how to communicate to them what you want.
  • Remember, you are competing with yourself. Joe is looking for a winning performance that shows you've pushed yourself and grown. Find your inner showmanship and put on a memorable performance!
Class Notes
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is now online! Check it out for further info on newsletter items, an ongoing calendar of local gigs and birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 134 #178)

Messin' With The Kid!

This week Joe continued his study of playing the difficult F harp by transcribing the Junior Wells' classic, "Messin' With The Kid". The transcription (here) includes the Vanguard Records solo to challenge your F harp playing, the bass/horn line, and of course the hook, which he transcribed for both second and third position. Having this song in your repertoire is a must!


Southwest Liaison Of the Filisko Method Checks In!

Between teaching the Filisko Method and smoking cigars, our own Big Jim Themelis finds time to catch the important gigs in Phoenix. Here Jim is hobnobbing with Rick Estrin, Bob Corritore, and drummer/former Chicago resident, Frank Rossi (left).




Tad Robinson at Legends!

If you missed Tad Robinson the last time he was in town, get out and see his show this week at Buddy Guy's Legends, Thursday, August 13. Tad is a phenomenal vocalist, bandleader and harp player doing R&B, soul and blues. Great show not to be missed!


New Release From Doug Deming!

B1 Friend and guitar player Doug Deming has just released his second CD, Falling Through the Cracks. This disc features harp players Kim Wilson and Dennis Gruenling. You've seen Doug in town gigging with both of these harp players in the past -- now get your hands on his CD here.


Class Notes

  • Chicago Blues Harp Bash: tickets are available at the Bash website. Patron and Platinum reserved seating is now available. Get yours soon so you don't miss this great show!
  • NO CLASS THE NEXT TWO WEEKS! The Old Town School has summer break and the current class session is over. Be sure to register NOW for the next session so the school knows there are enough people for the classes. See you in the B1 Blues Room again on August 31. Use the free time to work on your talking blues song.

Newsletter News!

We welcome your input. If you're inspired to write a review of a live show, CD, DVD or book, please submit it to us for consideration.


- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew