We kicked off 2013 with a killer guest performer, Greg Izor from Austin, Texas!
Greg easily told his story, moving from Vermont to New Orleans to Austin. His young musical aspiration was to play trumpet like Louis Jordan (taken as audacious by his teacher!) but he also described being influenced by Miles Davis. How to reconcile the two? He appreciated the economy of sound the two different players exhibited.
It's clear that Greg is as successful as he is because he has an incredible passion for the music. As he put it:
"More than a musician I consider myself a fan of the music - the music of harp players, guitar players, trumpet players, you name it."
Watching Greg play, this love of the music is clear. There is a grin and a passion written large across his face at all times. He is not grinning at his own playing or singing - both terrific and powerful - no, he is grinning because he clearly loves being a part of the music!
And in addition to the air he has of being a genuine nice guy, he also has a boldness about him that serves him well. He described moving to New Orleans and going to see Johnny Sansone:
"Mr. Sansone, my name's Greg and I moved here to learn from you."
It's clear Greg has spent time with the greats, both in person and on record, learning it all and soaking it up. Though he admits to being poor at repeating licks he's learned on the bandstand, he sees himself as the funnel for all that study time he's amassed.
Greg made the point that he has been fortunate to have personal experience with a long list of harp players - Junior Wells, Johnny Sansone, Kim Wilson, Raful Neal, Gary Primich to name a few - and they all impressed him with their generosity. They were friendly, encouraging and helpful as well as being inspiring musicians. We're pleased to say that Greg himself is doing a fine job of carrying on that tradition - thanks for sharing with us, Greg! We're all richer for having met you and hope you hurry back to Chicago.
Special thanks to Harlan Terson for joining us on bass; to the incredible Nick Moss for coming out to play guitar with the B1 Band and for introducing Joe to Greg; and to Dan Carelli from the Billy Branch band too for playing guitar. Greg and the band left us all thinking once again that the best blues show in town happens in B1!
Congratulations to Shoji Naito and his wife Laura Schlenker on the birth of their baby girl, Kohana Violet Naito, born Friday evening, January 18. Everyone's healthy and happy, if a little tired!
Filisko & Noden Show!!!
Here's an exciting lineup: Filisko & Noden and Devon Allman with the legendary Billy Branch sitting in plus, a dinner special featuring Devon's own recipes! Old Town students get discounted tickets online when they use the code "school". Saturday, January 26. Full details and tickets here: Reggie's.
- If you have upgraded, renovated or otherwise modified your goals as a harp player recently, be sure to let Joe know. The better he understands your goals, the better he can help you.
Harmonica Einstein Pizza Party!!!
The pizza party was a huge success! Thanks to Chef 'Boy-Ar-Dee' for flipping dough and to Ginny Morin for hosting! Good times!
Hey, our own Jon Simon has produced a film called Dash and it's premiering January 24 at Muvico Theater in Rosemont, IL. Here's the trailer!
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew