Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 212 #255)

Matthew Skoller and Lurrie Bell!!!

It was another magical night in B1 as we welcomed Chicago harp ace Matthew Skoller and his duo partner, Lurrie Bell, Carey Bell's son and a fantastic vocalist and guitar player. Fresh off a great gig the night before at SPACE, Matthew and Lurrie laid down some awesome, authentic blues for us and talked and answered questions. Here are some of our favorite gems:

Asked about songwriting, Matthew said he collects one-liners he hears people say and later works them into songs. As he put it, "That's what napkins are for".

Jim Liban, a long-time friend of Skoller, drove down from Milwaukee to sit in the back of the room, listening and asking questions. He asked whether Matthew tongue blocks. Skoller said yes, most of the time, and added:
  • "You'll save yourself a lot of time and agony if you do what your teacher (meaning Joe) tells you to do - tongue block."
It was interesting to hear that both Matthew and Jim credit Jerry Portnoy with turning them on to tongue blocking years ago.

Speaking of Liban, Matthew talked about working out difficult techniques and sounds and said Liban once told him, "If you can hear it, you can play it." Skoller stressed you have to "learn how to hear".

Regarding bending, Skoller intoned: "You always have to keep working on your bends." Jim Liban whole-heartedly agreed. Pretty impressive to hear Jim say he still works to stay in control of the three draw bends!

Feeling comfortable with the vibe in the room, Liban and Skoller were able to talk Lurrie into a special treat for us all. Seems he always carries a harp or two and practices a lot. It's not often he plays in public, but he knocked out a great Little Walter tune and said, "I keep a harp with me to remember my dad."

Huge thanks to Matthew and Lurrie for coming to visit!

Pat Missin!!!

Joe announced that he has Pat Missin scheduled to visit class on Monday, September 12, so mark your calendar!

News from Bob Corritore!!!

- thanks to our friend Bob for sharing these items:
  • Blues legends Willie Big Eyes Smith and Pinetop Perkins accept their Grammy award for best traditional blues album, Joined At the Hip! video here
  • "We have just posted a new page featuring some great photos taken by Jim O'Neal & Amy van Singel during the 1970s and early 1980s, when they were the editors of the then Chicago-based Living Blues Magazine. Included are images of Honeyboy Edwards, Robert Lockwood, Albert King, Sunnyland Slim, Jeanne Carroll, Henry Townsend, Junior Wells, Johnny Dollar, Louisiana Red, Carey Bell, Hubert Sumlin, Big Walter Horton, Kansas City Red, Thomas Dorsey, and more! Click here to see."

B1 Blues BBQ!!!

Hey all, Carlos Orellana is spearheading efforts to have a B1 bbq at his place in Hyde Park. Sounds like a great time! So here's what you have to do. Click here to go vote on the dates in April or May that work best for you. Keep in mind Carlos has a twin brother in town from Chile on April 2, so that would be his preferred date.

Secondly, Carlos has an opportunity for anyone who would like to play a short set at a Friday afternoon happy hour in Hyde Park. No pay, just free pizza and beer, but it sounds like fun! Email him if you're interested.

Class Notes
  • Joe is in Australia next week, but group classes will continue with Shoji Naito at the helm and the B1 Blues Band backing you up. Be sure to bring your transcriptions if you want his comments.
  • The afternoon chording class at 2:30 will not "officially" take place, but the room will be open and Joe's class assistant, Zoe Savage, will be there to answer questions and work one-on-one with people.
  • Fun understatement of the year from Shoji at the bar when he was asked about whether he could teach music theory: "Theory...yeah, I know that pretty well." He's so modest!
  • Speaking of Sensei Naito, he has one open slot for a private lesson student on Mondays at 2:30pm. If you would like to study blues guitar, harmonica or music theory with him, contact the Old Town School to register.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew