The amazing Jim Liban visited B1 last night and did a fantastic job talking about songwriting and developing an extended instrumental song. Jim's playing is masterful and illustrated both his topics well.
As for songwriting, Jim encouraged people to "keep it personal" and melodic, but also not to be afraid to "borrow" from other blues artists for things like melodies and hooks. "Borrowing" is, after all, a time-honored part of the genre.
Regarding extended solos, Jim intoned that it is all about the melody. Know the melody of the song and expand on and subtract from that melody to build a song that captures the listener's attention.
When the topic of music as catharsis came up, Jim had this wonderfully funny outlook:
"Playing music hasn't made me happier; it's helped me better express my unhappiness."
Jim also talked about the rare songs of his that Joe has made available on CD. He described learning and recording Little Walter's Roller Coaster as an "exercise". He learned it note for note to learn from it, not because he ever played it live. It was just a learning process. As he said: "Who can improve on Roller Coaster?"
It was truly a memorable evening and Jim was a treat to have!
Shoji On TV!!!
Our very own Shoji Naito will be appearing on TV, playing harp, with Eddy Clearwater to promote this week's show at SPACE. Check it out:
Friday, April 2
Saturday, April 3
Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater
- Special Jim Liban CD: This is an extremely rare opportunity to get your hands on never-before-released tunes by Jim Liban. These are mostly originals, from old cassettes, that showcase Jim's versatility as a harp player. DO NOT COPY THIS CD FOR FRIENDS. If you are out of town and would like a copy of this CD, Jim Liban has agreed to mail you one. Send him $12 and he will be kind enough to get the disc out to you:
925 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
- Our 14th B1 Blues Harmonica Recital at the Harlem Avenue Lounge is scheduled for May 28, 2010. Mark your calendars and start working on your material.
- It was good to see our friend Jimmie Meade in class last night. He made a special trip from Kansas City to visit family and catch Jim Liban Night! That's dedication. Be sure to catch him with his band Levee Town when you're in KC.
- Blues blogger Ricky Bush from Texas recently found the YouMissedMonday blog and used the calendar to plan his blues outings in Chicago. He caught the Special 20s, the Highway RickEy jam and the Filisko/Noden/Liban SPACE show. We're pleased the site can be such a great resource to people. Here's his follow-up note to us all: "The SPACE gig was absolutely wonderful and a highlight of my Chicago trip. Enjoyed meeting Kirk Manley--too short of chat, regrettably, but the wife and son were headed out the door to catch the "L" back to the Loop. Steve Cohen's guest spot was certainly an added bonus. Loved it! Loved Chicago! Tell all those guys that they have fans down in Texas. See ya--Ricky B"
Speaking of Jim Liban!
Chicagoland is lucky enough to have another great opportunity to catch Jim Liban live. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 6 and get out to Buddy Guy's Legends to see him with the Joel Paterson Blues Roundup. If you haven't seen Joel Paterson and the Modern Sounds yet, he is not to be missed. Truly a fantastic guitar player and vocalist doing wonderful blues and swing tunes at sensible volumes with great dynamics and amazing chops! Joel and Jim go way back and play beautifully together, so get out for this show!
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- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew