Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 255 #298)

Come Back Baby!!!

Our own Corporate Kirk took Joe up on his offer of bringing a study tune in for us to break down as a class. It was a terrific night!

As Kirk puts it, he is interested in the Ray Charles tune, Come Back Baby as a means of working over his vocal chords but also so as to learn to play harp over urban gospel chord changes. We counted the tune, plotted it out on the board and plugged in the chord changes and this led Kirk to an understanding of the root notes relevant throughout. Kirk's a quick study and before the night was over, he was blowing harp on the tune and sounding great! He had obviously put a lot of time in on it and his singing was terrific too! It was a powerful night of bluesy gospel in ol' B1 and we all learned from the process!

                New Album Review: Flavio Guimaraes & Friends!!!

                In today’s fast-paced world, it’s hard to find time to unwind and just hang out on the front porch with only the simple sounds of life keeping you company. But the next time you feel that need, have Flavio Guimaraes & Friends playing nearby. Flavio – a highly accomplished harmonica player in his own right – gathers some of the greatest players on today’s harmonica scene to join him on his latest project. Steve Guyger. Gary Smith. Joe Filisko. Rick Estrin. Charlie Musselwhite. You even get a skillful taste of what Peter “Madcat” Ruth can create on his blues ukulele.

                Aside from a couple electric tracks with a full band – including a tasty instrumental with Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – the album is a traditional blend of stripped-down, no-nonsense, acoustic blues. With this kind of laidback sound, you don’t get the sense the tunes were laid down in one of the world’s largest cities, Rio de Janiero. But you get the undeniable notion these musicians know the intimate roots of the blues. Here are some highlights:
                • Steve Guyger channels John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson and early Little Walter to a tee on “Blues Before Sunrise.” Plus, Guyger’s gruff, gravelly vocals add more weight to that lowdown feel. It’s also refreshing to hear him call out solos to the others: proof they were having a ball in the studio.
                • It’s not often you hear the electric tone monster, Gary Smith, blow his horn acoustically. “Washboard Shuffle” is your chance. You can still hear Gary’s big sound come through loud and clear in this cool harp duo with Flavio.
                • Joe Filisko demonstrates the amazing, low-tuned Thunderbird harmonicas, Hohner’s latest Marine Band series. Filisko and Flavio’s diatonic dialogue on “Harp Talk” reveals the deep, guttural possibilities and the rhythms of “Gospel Trail” show the percussive power available with a Thunderbird. Here are two videos of Joe introducing the ins and outs of the new instrument.
                There are plenty more harmonica gems on this album fit for the front porch. Oh, and if you don’t have a porch? Just close your eyes, open your ears, and kick back. Flavio and friends will take you there.

                - Corporate Kirk Manley

                Class Notes

                • Plans are underway for the next Chicago Blues Harp Bash - Number Five coming up this fall!

                • Think ahead if you want a table at the Filisko/Noden/Tad Robinson show at SPACE in March. Bone will also be selling tickets in class next week.

                    Hideout Harmonica Hoedown!!!

                    Hot show, this week, February 19 at the Hideout. Show starts at 7:00pm and the cover is $10.

                    - Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew