Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 354 #398)

Walking By Myself Wrap-up!!!

It was a smaller class than usual due to the Jewish holiday so several people played multiple times and worked on particular elements of their performance. Zoe practiced “starts” for Off The Wall and RickEy rehearsed a couple extra songs he and Joe might potentially play together at the upcoming Harmonica Convergence at OTS on April 25th. (see below for ticket info)

To wrap up our study of Walking By Myself Shoji asked RickEy to play several of the most notable renditions:
  • Why Not by T-Bone Walker… this was the start of it all. Comments included the unique bass line, the observation that only the piano goes to the V in bar six of the vocal form, and that there was no break.
  • Walking By Myself by Freddie King… this version is probably the one that most guitar players know best. The band does go to the V, there is a walking bass line and it has breaks.
  • Walking By Myself by Johnny Winter… may have been the biggest hit of all the versions. It’s clear he copied Freddie’s version but made it more modern and up-beat.

  • Walking By Myself by Gary Moore… more of a rock feel, including many very popular guitar licks and phrases.
  • Walking By Myself by Paul Butterfield… definitely in a style of its own with an impressive horn section, a busy bass line, and a form that stays on the IV in bar 6.
Joe asked for feedback on which song should be the next “Song of the Session”. Think about it and be prepared to discuss next week.

Harmonica Convergence II!!!

The April 25, 7 PM  Harmonica Convergence II at the Old Town School at 4544 Lincoln Avenue calls together a summit meeting and celebration of Chicago Blues legends and harp geniuses who are the real deal.  Link to more concert information.

Special Note: Joe's Rhythm & Chording Class will kick off this show with a couple ensemble tunes and Joe's also got duets planned with Highway RickEy!

A few years back a Harmonica Convergence took place at the Old Town School and since then, countless requests for a reprise have finally brought us to celebrate Harmonica Convergence II. This time we are delighted to announce the participation of Chicago legend Billy Boy Arnold who learned harp from his neighbor, the great John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, one of the greatest Blues harp masters of all time. Billy Boy later joined forces touring and recordings with Bo Diddley. Arnold's original songs have been covered by everyone from The Yardbirds to David Bowie.

From the west coast Mark Hummel joins this band of harp all-stars. Mark is known for his extraordinary Little Walter-like harmonica sound, and has just been nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award for his new CD titled Remembering Little Walter. Mark shares that, "Walter's original sides have become the holy grail all other harpers are still trying to aspire to."

Corky Siegel, Chamber Blues progenitor, co-founder of the Siegel-Schwall Band and Chicago Blues Reunion participant has brought the blues harmonica from classical symphony halls as guest soloist with orchestra to blues festivals and clubs. He attained world-wide recognition through platinum selling symphonic blues recordings as soloist on harmonica with the San Francisco Symphony on Deutsche Grammophon and popular recordings on Vanguard, RCA, and Alligator Records. He is a master of musical mirth, and the Old Town School is always a good-time "family" reunion of old friends.

The Old Town School's own Joe Filisko rounds out this hand of harmonica aces. Joe was named by SPAH (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of Harmonica) as the "Harmonica Player Of The Year."

Electric blues guitarist Billy Flynn provides superb backing, along with the solid bass work of RW Grigsby who has backed a who's who of music icons. Kenny Smith, son of famed Muddy Water's drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith will be driving the beat for this rare convergence of legends.

Report from the David Barrett Harmonica Masterclass Workshop!!!

Joe and Al Nemcek flew back early in the morning on Monday after an exciting trip to David Barrett’s Masterclass Workshop.
  • Joe said it was a big success and, in particular, mentioned the evening performances that were non-stop on two separate stages – acoustic and amplified.
  • Al Nemcek said he particularly enjoyed Dennis Gruenling’s jump swing and chromatic classes. Al described Dennis as easy to understand, thoughtful, attentive and, of course amazingly impressive. One tip from Dennis was to practice a standard like Blues in The Dark on BOTH chromatic and diatonic harps to accelerate your learning.
  • Al also commented on Steve Baker’s workshop regarding playing different positions… including how different positions change the sound of a tune and where the difficult notes are.
  • Lastly Al pointed out how impressive a teacher David Barrett is… including a tip from David that Al plans to implement – spend a part of every practice routine reviewing technique, repertoire and form. Great advice!
Peter Madcat Ruth!!!

Joe reminded everyone that Peter “Madcat” Ruth will be in class in two weeks (April 28 - the first week of next session). Madcat will be focusing his discussion on relaxation, tone, breathing and singing, as it relates to the harmonica.

Everyone is encouraged to attend this 8pm session!

Class Notes
  • New session starts soon - register now!
Chicago Harmonica Meetup!!!

This announcement from Patrick Knight, harmonica meetup organizer:

The April Chicago Harmonica Meetup (CHM) is scheduled for Wednesday April 16, 7-9 PM, at Tapas Restaurant, 7232 Madison Street, Forest Park, IL. 

All B1 family, friends and interested parties are welcome to join us at our relaxed, fun monthly get-together.

Enjoy food and drink from  Tapas’ excellent menu. And bring your harmonicas (and that song you are working on). We have the stage!

More info at: Chicago Harmonica Meetup

- Grant Kessler and Al Taylor, B1 Blues Crew