Chicago is the home of the blues and we in B1 were lucky enough to have one of our home town's best traditional players spend the evening with us last night - Martin Lang!
artwork courtesy of Andy Willis
Martin kicked off with a few killer instrumentals then worked his way through questions. He is always quick to distill the essential answer to questions down to concise learning:
How do you construct a harp instrumental? Keep it simple and "repetition is my friend". How do you think about accompaniment playing? Blues is a duet between the singer and the harp player, so play a counter melody under and in response to the vocalist. What about sitting in with others? Listen to the drums - blues is all about the groove. And when asked about getting gigs Martin stressed it is all about relationships and connections - be nice and talk with anyone who wants to talk with you.
Martin has played a lot over the years with Taildragger here in town, so it was great to hear Taildragger stories and get a sense for the things he's learned from him. He credits Taildragger as the one who told him to listen to the drummer, but also says Taildragger stressed to him to "take your time" - relax and find your place in the song and take your time expressing yourself. And also, again, keep it simple!
"If it doesn't have groove, it's not helping me forget all the things that are bothering me all the time." - Martin Lang
Thanks Martin! It was a terrific evening. If you missed it, don't go without Martin's fantastic new CD, Chicago Harp Blues Sessions.
T-Bone Walker Interview!!!
We found this great read - T-Bone Walker in his own words from an interview in 1947:
"EVERYBODY in the South has a nickname or initial. I was called "T-Bow" but the people got it mixed up with "T-Bone." My name is Aaron Walker but "T-Bone" is catchy, people remember it. My auntie gave it to me when I was a kid." [read more]
- No class notes this week. Study. Practice. Come to class.