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The First Jazz Harmonica Player

Geldray with Reinhardt and Ellington

A recent discussion Harp-L brought a nearly-forgotten name to mind: Max Geldray. Geldray recorded with Django Reinhardt and has been called “the first jazz harmonica player.” The photo above is from this Swedish public radio piece which started off the whole Harp-L discussion.

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Al Smith Wins 2 Awards at SPAH 2011

Just like the video description says: “For the first time ever, SPAH awarded two of its most prestigious awards to one person. Our sincere congratulations to Al Smith the 2011 winner of The Bernie Bray Harmonica Player of the Year Award and The Pete Pedersen Lifetime Achievement Award.” Many thanks to Danny G. for putting this together!

SPAH 2011 in Videos

So it’s been over a week since the SPAH convention ended—long enough for videos to start popping up on Youtube for those of you who missed the action (and even if you were there, you musta missed something!), so here’s a collection of what’s out there so far.

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Harmonica Mass Appeal

Harmonica Mass Appeal 9

How cool is this? Not only do you get to form a street harmonica band in NYC, but it’d led by none other than Jia-Yi He! Would love to see video of this or hear more about how it went.

One Man Juke

Ok, so technically, Thiago Cerveira is backed by a full band, but he handles the most important duties, guitar and harmonica, himself here. It’s a swinging, jazzy version, though not as brassy as the original—which is one of my favorite things about Little Walter’s “Juke.” Still, it’s great and I hope to see Thiago play this live sometime. Also, having the sax there is cool. Given how much influence LW took from sax players, it’s interesting to hear actual sax along side his lines. More sax, please!

For an alternative rack harp version of this tune, I cannot recommend Paul Oscher enough. I’ve heard him play this live and it’s really killer. Check it out.

Satan & Adam are back!

Legendary New York City Blued duo Satan & Adam are back after a long hiatus and they have a new album out, Back In The Game. The video above is from a live set they played at the Hill Country Harmonica summit and I think you’ll agree they still sound great.

Cicada Emerges!

Hazmat Modine‘s new album, Cicada, is being release tomorrow “despite rain & Rapture.” Here’s a taste, the video for the title track. Enjoy! And if you’re still with us tomorrow, go get the album. It’s great.



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