Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 124 #168)

Special Guest Night!
It was "special guest night"! We were visited by Andy Garrigue who is the writer, photographer and editor of Hohner's magazine, Easy Reeding. Andy was in town to interview Joe for an upcoming issue, and we'll be sure to publish the online link when it comes out later this summer. (Their current issue is here:  Easy Reeding.) Great to meet you Andy, and thanks for playing!

Jason Ricci and Michael Peloquin were in town filming a promotional video for the new line of American-made harmonicas coming out this fall, Harrison Harmonicas, developed by Brad Harrison. Jason's return flight coincided with class, but we were fortunate to have Brad and Michael come by. Michael is a fantastic harp and sax player from Oakland, Ca. He performed a couple songs and talked and answered questions about his background and playing style. His CD "House of Cards" is available at his website, harpsax.com.

Our favorite quote from Michael is: "Great instrumentalists are imitating vocalists."

Thanks Andy, Brad and Michael for stopping by. B1 loves guests!

Note From Jerry Devillier!
Jerry Devillier, Cajun harmonica player extraordinaire, made the drive all the way from Louisiana for our recital and sent this wonderful note:

I just want to share with all of you who played at the concert on May 22 how much Jasper and I enjoyed every minute of it. Driving me to Chicago was Jasper's (my next door neighbor) birthday present to me. It was my birthday but I think he got just as much out of the trip as I did. He does not play any instruments but bonded with Joe when Joe came to visit me a couple of months ago and just loves the way harmonica sounds.

We really enjoyed each and every one of you doing your thing. The feeling I got being there is that all of you were performing as a family. I caught no glimpse of anyone trying to show off. I know that Joe expects much of you guys but what I noticed that night, Joe would not claim credit for all of it. I have been around many musicians in my 71 years but have never, ever been around such a wonderful and positive group as this one. I certainly hope that all of you recognize just how good of a group you have. Now I can understand why Joe has so much respect for each and every one of you.

Joe asked me to back up your photographer members in taking pictures. I enjoyed that also. The highlight of the night is when Zoe invited me to play a Cajun song on stage with her. WOW, what an honor that was for me. I have played in many places but playing on stage with Zoe and Joe was the absolute highest honor ever given to me. Zoe and I have been communicating for a while and I have enjoyed helping her in any way I can with her playing Cajun music. I have often heard of students doing better than the teacher and she proved that to me that night in a very powerful manner. I am very proud of my Cajun heritage and when I see someone that age or any age playing and singing a Cajun song as well as she did, it gives me high hopes that my kind of music, language, and customs are not dying out.

Again, I want to thank all of you guys for the good reception Jasper and I received. I wish I would have had more time to mingle with you guys. Shooting pictures and listening to such good music kept me very busy. Maybe next time I can come around and meet every one of you. I really would like that.

Best of luck to all of you in PLAYING THAT HARMONICA.

- Jerry and Jasper

Class Notes!
  • We will be performing "Soul Finger" this Friday, June 5 at the Old Town School's First Friday performance in the main auditorium. We're scheduled for 7:30pm, but please be there by 7:00pm. Everyone is welcome -- if you don't know the part, feel free to come play "air harp". We want to have a strong turnout.
  • Level III class next week is restricted to one chorus per player so Joe has some time to teach.
  • Joe was thrilled with the recital and everyone's performance and professionalism.  He has a CD problem, because 35 players won't possibly fit on one disc.  If you have ideas about how he can address this, let him know.
Lazy Lester Coming To Chicago!
Lazy Lester is going to be playing at Buddy Guy's Legends Friday, June 26. Be sure to mark your calendar and get out to see him. Lazy Lester is a living harp legend who does not tour this way much, so this is a rare opportunity.

Joe is communicating with Lester about having him in class on the following Monday, June 29. If it works out to have him, the class fund may well need a boost, so be prepared to help make it happen! There will likely be hotel needs to get him to stay through the weekend too, so if anyone has hotel leads, contact us.

Jim Liban Spotting!
Thanks to Paul Sabel for this great live show review from last week:

I fought off the urge to just go to bed after another adrenaline-filled, soul-sucking shift in the dreary Condell ER and made myself go to Legends at 11:45pm last night. After all, THIS is why I moved to Chicago, to hear some quality blues in a real blues venue. Boy, was I happy I did.

After settling down at the table with a can of Schlitz during a scorching 3rd position version of 'Down At Your Buryin', by Matthew Skoller, I noticed the VIP section was a little more full than usual. I looked closer, and Billy Branch was there with some gray haired older white guy and some European guys I had seen at Rosa's last week. A second look, and I realized the older white guy was none other than Jim Liban. Right about then, after a very generous introduction by Matthew Skoller, Jim was called to the bandstand and went into an R&B instrumental I've heard him do before but don't know the name. From there he got extremely funky--a one chord vamp in E which the band seemed to really get into.

Jim later went on to say that he had written that song, with lyrics about living poor through a recession, in 1973 and that every 10-15 years when the economy dips, the song becomes appropriate again. He seemed to be in pretty high spirits. After that, Matthew again took over harp duties and called his two nephews up to play bass and guitar on a couple of songs. Then Billy Branch and Jim joined Matthew's band for a spontaneous tribute to Junior Wells--Yonder Wall and then into Chitlins con Carne. Now that's what I'm talking about Chicago!

- Tall Paul

  • You can see recital photos here: Recital Photos
  • Buy and download Shoji jam tracks at youmissedmonday.com.
  • Joe's additional Level III class has been approved and will begin June 22.  This class will meet from 12:30-1:50 on Mondays.
Newsletter News!
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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