Tuesday, April 23, 2019

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 566 #612)

Curtis Salgado!

Curtis Salgado came to B1 this week and it was an awesome evening with a packed house! It was fun to see everyone, including producer Dick Shurman!

Hailing from Eugene, OR, Curtis played in the Robert Cray band for 6 years, fronted Roomful of Blues for 3 years, played with Carlos Santana and has numerous blues music awards. He's an amazing vocalist but was hit with a cold this week, so he had to lay back on the singing. He did do a beautiful laid back version of Hoochie Coochie Man though!

Curtis started right off with the declaration that "There are no rules" when playing this "magical instrument", which tells you a lot about how he thinks and how much he loves the harp. He played a lot to demonstrate things, including periods that showed more about how he practices. He has a humble way about what he knows, eager to learn more from anyone and everyone around him. He even coaxed Joe up at one point to demonstrate a fast throat tremolo that he aspires to.

Asked who his favorite five harp players are, he chipped away at the list through the evening, but eventually named Paul deLay, clearly a close friend and mentor, Joe Filisko, James Cotton, George Smith, both Sonny Boys, Stevie Wonder...and maybe not official answers in his list, but it's clear he studies and learns from Little Walter and Walter Horton too.

When talking about "tone" he immediately equated tone with soul. Being locked in with a band and the groove is part of that; and dynamics is part of that for him too as he lamented monotone playing when he hears it.

Though he couldn't sing in his usual voice for us, talk did of course turn to the role of singing and he stressed that singing is super important. It's where the blues is for him because it's the human voice that moves you, that is emotional for the listener. And, well, as he also wryly noted, "the harp isn't going to pay the rent by itself."

It was a great evening in B1 - thanks to Curtis and everyone else who turned out. Check out his website and be sure to get out to the Otis Rush tribute show he's doing at SPACE Wednesday night.

Thanks, Curtis!

Class Notes

  • Time to register for classes! 
  • Mark your calendar for the next Harlem Avenue Lounge Harp Party - May 7.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

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