Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 152 #196)

Lights Out!
Joe finished up the discussion of Little Walter's chromatic tune, "Lights Out" this week. This song is full of classic Little Walter split fours as opposed to George "Harmonica" Smith's tendency to play full octaves with the split fives. Walter also uses a lot of quick, double-time playing as well, like he did in "Quarter To Twelve". The other interesting thing to watch for is Walter's frequent "note skipping". His phrasing will often jump over a note in the scale, particularly the 6th scale degree. The transcription is available here.

Old Town School Harmonica Recital A Huge Success!!!
Our 13th Harmonica Recital at the Harlem Avenue Lounge last Friday was a resounding success. There was a big crowd and over thirty-two harmonica players participated. This recital was full of great original songs thanks in large part to the talking blues contest held earlier this fall. Keep writing everyone!

Special thanks to Shoji Naito for writing and coordinating our ensemble song, Silver Bells. Also thanks to Kenny Zimmerman of the Harlem Avenue Lounge, Michelle Filisko for monitoring the recording and taking pictures, and thanks to the band for playing such long hours and making everyone sound great: Shoji Naito (guitar), Highway RickEy (drums), Gavin Tun (bass), and for one set, Grant Kessler (guitar).

FlashHarp USB Drives For Sale!
Jim McLean came out to our recital Friday and introduced himself to youmissedmonday. He makes and sells these USB flash drives for computers -- real, playable harps with 2GB or 4GB of storage space preloaded with an instructional video for beginning harmonica players. Check them out for stocking stuffers!
Jim writes:
"FlashHarp is the first and only harmonica USB flash drive and it offers something plain, old, vacuous flash drives don't: a musical soul earned through the harmonica's long and colorful odyssey into the heart of American music. FlashHarp really plays plus it's preloaded "Five Basic Steps" video lesson demystifies the fundamentals so potential musicians are more inclined to pick it up. If you like small things that are big on style, you'll feel cool carrying the FlashHarp even if you don't give a hoot about learning to play (it's just 3 inches long). Those really interested in learning can get a full-sized harmonica along with the FlashHarp in a boxed set called the Plug-n-Play Musical Combo (bigger holes just make learning single-note embouchure easier). (Patented.)"

On sale here: www.backyardbrand.com

New David Barrett Instruction Website!
David Barrett is announcing a new, web-based subscription service to learn and improve your harmonica playing. For $16.95/month you'll have full access to online video instruction, study songs with transcriptions and mp3 files, artist interviews and even instructor assessment if you send in mp3 recordings of your practice sessions.

BluesHarmonica.com is appropriate for all skill levels and David Barrett is one of the finest instructors available. There is a preview video up now and the full site launches December 20. Check it out at: BluesHarmonica.com.

Class Notes
  • Lost folder! Someone left a blue folder full of "Sonny's Shuffle" transcriptions in B1 last night. Please contact youmissedmonday to claim it.
  • No class next week! Old Town School is closed for the holidays. See you in January!
  • Get your tickets now for the next Harmonica Convergence show featuring Joe Filisko, Howard Levy, Corky Siegel and Peter Madcat Ruth at the Old Town School, March 21, 2010. The show will be a tribute to the great harmonica legend, and longtime Steve Miller Band member, Norton Buffalo. Rumor has it there may be other harp players you know in the lineup, so don't miss it!
Newsletter News!
The newsletter and more is always online! Check it out for more details on newsletter items, a calendar of local gigs, jams, birthdays, archives, links, videos and special features.

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

1 comment:

  1. NEWS FLASH! The FlashHarp® harmonica USB flash drive and Plug 'n Play Musical Combos are also available at the Old Town School of Folk Music's "Different Drummer" store at 4544 N Lincoln, Chicago.