Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 351 #395)

PT Gazell!!!
B1 was graced last night by the hip, swinging PT Gazell!

In the 70s, he was sideman to Johnny Paycheck but in 1988 he vanished from the scene. He was frustrated with the missing notes of the diatonic but not enamored by the tone of the chromatic. He returned in 2003 thanks to the valved diatonic harp, which he feels takes some steps toward the tone of a chromatic, but not all the way, and crucially gives him all the missing notes PLUS the emotion of bends on every hole. He also feels he has a better, more connected way of accessing the high end. This new harp opened the door for him to reinvent himself as a swing player, shifting from the Bluegrass he'd played before.

"There are so many good songs out there if we just had all the notes."

Gazell is a sweet melody player with a strong dedication to nailing the melodic bends - his pitch and tone are wonderful to hear, as is his swing phrasing. It was a real treat to have him playing for us and describing how these harps work and play.

 sketch courtesy of Andy Willis

He also had some insightful things to say about soloing:

  • First, know the melody cold so that it colors your solo thinking.
  • When soloing, "I'm trying to write little songs within the progression".

Howard Levy is famously quoted as saying that when he plays harp, he sees the piano. PT jokes that when he closes his eyes and plays, he sees Howard!

Kidding aside though, PT did say that what he really sees with his eyes closed and improvising are shapes.

It was another beautiful night of learning from a master. Thanks, PT!

Elder Roma Wilson!!!

If you've wondered what ever became of Elder Roma Wilson, the answer is he's alive and well at age 103 in Detroit, preaching and playing gospel harmonica!

The Detroit News has the story.

Greekfest Gig!!!

Hey, our friend Charlie Yost has a tip for bands looking for a gig. He's not sure of the pay, but knows that Greekfest is looking for bands!

St. George Greek Orthodox
2701 N. Sheffield
June 6, 7 and 8
call Dino Diamantakos - 773-250-8153

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew