Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 407 #452)

New Song of the Session - Got My Mojo Working!!!

Joe walked us through his transcription for the original Muddy Waters release of Got My Mojo Working last night.

First off, an understatement - it's a fast song. Joe clocked this version at around 225-230 bpm. Just the speed makes playing and soloing on this tune a challenge.

Structurally, harp players should look at this song and see three sections to attack:
  • Verse - Little Walter laid down a riff for this section and you should know it.
  • Chorus - amazingly, this section is mostly a dirty four draw (the fifth scale degree, for those of you trying to apply lessons from Shoji recently about understanding where you are in the scale). Joe stressed here that we need to see the power in something so simple.
  • Solo - It is primarily blues scale; makes great use of quarter note triplet rhythm over the top of the band's "train" rhythm (see this on bars 11, 12, 16, 19 and 20); employs a repeating thematic turnaround; and as for that 5421S notation on bars 1 and 5? Well, it's not totally clear what Walter is doing there (split 4 shake? wide tongue shake?), but the lesson is that it is a BIG sound!
More next week with Shoji back in class.

FlashHarp Campaign on Etsy

Our friend Jim McLean just checked in with us. He is the inventor of the FlashHarp, a playable harmonica that is also a computer flash drive. Etsy is testing a new fundraising platform and his campaign has been chosen for it. Check it out and help him with his campaign if you can. Here's how he describes it and you can click here to learn more:

Mission: The style is called "cross harp" and it was born of the freedom of a slave. That's all we know—and that’s a shame. So I want to make a video to fill-in the missing human story. Video delivers on my FlashHarp® Harmonica USB and will be based on my work of historical fiction, Champion Book.

Class Notes
  • For those registered for the 8 o'clock Performance class, this eight week session will end with a multi-track recording session. This is your chance to get a tune worked out and well-recorded with the band, so spend time this session polishing something towards your demo disc! Remember you are definitely free to partner with others in the room if you need accompaniment, horn lines, or vocals. 
CD Release - It Takes Three

David Barrett has teamed up with two other Bay area harp players, Gary Smith and Aki Kumar to release a terrific new CD, It Takes Three - Three Generations of South Bay Blues Harmonica.

This disc is dripping with that full West coast harp tone, incredibly cool arrangements and very unusually, a lot of sophisticated multi-harp harmony playing. David teaches this kind of horn-line playing in one of his books and now this is your chance to hear it in action and done well.

And, always the consummate teacher that he is, the CD is clearly labeled for harp players listing harps played and positions. AND, for the ambitious or curious, David is also making available a full Transcription Set of all the harp playing on the disc!

Great CD David, Gary and Aki - congrats and the blues harp world thanks you!

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

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