Re: Giant Saliva Quality Awards

On 6 Jun 1994, Winslow Yerxa wrote:

> TO: internet:harp-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> ======Chris Michalek writes:
>      >I am going to publicly attempt Giant Steps on the diatonic
>      >for the first time.  Wish me luck!
> You gone need it, bro. Even Toots is wary of this one. Seriously
> though, that's fantastic, Chris. Do you plan to do it all on one
> harp, or play three harps tuned a major third apart to cover the
> three tonal centers in the tune - or some other scheme?
Thanks Winslow- Well I didn't get to play it because the bass player and
myself felt too funny about it.  I was going to play it on a Bb harp,  I
just think it works best on that one.  I have tried on a G,A,Ab,B harps
but it's easiest for me an the Bb. I heard Levy uses a G harp.  The head works
out the best on the Bb
as well.  Because all the head really is,  it's a Gmaj arppegio and an
Ebmaj arppegio.  Playing the changes is the hard part.  Because it goes
something like G,Eb,B then Eb,B,G and so on.  It gets really rough trying
to think about all that and play accurate 16th notes at the same time. I
have been working at this tune on and off for about four months.  For my
solo I had sat down with a trumpet player and learned his solo nearly note
for note.  I was lucky to have gotten all this help from one of
Minneaoplis'  best horn players.  

The Bluesharp Extravaganza went really well.  Had I attemped to play giant
Steps it would be a different story.  I opened with

 I'm Coming Home Baby  Here I was using a Shure SM-57 connected to various
effect pedals and a Pevey Classic 50,  a Boss PS-2 pitch shifter I had it
set so whatever I played
was doubled by a synthesizer like tone and octave lower. Then to that I
had a Boss AW-2 Auto Wah pedal.  I didn't use it much but it does create a
nice effect sometimes.  Then I had connected the Boss DD-3 digital delay
to fatten my sound of the effects.  I think using these pedals creates a
neat effect.  I hear my tone was not unlike that of a tenor sax.  Cool eh?

Next was Big Leg Woman,  a medium tempo funk for this I went to playing
through a 1959 Bassman(**NOT**a re issue!) with a reissue Astatic JT-30.  

Following Big Leg Woman was I Got My Mojo Working.  I was still plying
through the Bassman  to get that Chicago sound switching from tongue
blocking and pukering.

I finished with a WAY WAY UPTEMPO version of Mustang Sally.  I went back
to playing with the SM-57 with all the effects, in order to make the horn
lines sound right.

(For those that don't know me...My style is a mix between Howard Levy, Lee
Oskar and Madcat[for a blues/rock influence] thats it no Little Walter or
Big Walter or Sonny boy just Howard,Lee and Madcat)

Chuck Edwards was his dazzling self playing Juke and My Babe.  Great tone
and good licks.

Next was Steve Grosshans another Little Walter clone.  Weaker tone but
good licks.

Steve Vonderharr was the best player that night!!  He's sort of a Sugar
Blue but with more tone and not so fast.  His rendition of Whammer Jammer
has made him somewhat a local hero around here.  Check this man out if you
are ever in town  he plays with a group called the SoulMates

Big George Jackson was another one of the hot players of the night.  His
version of HELP ME changes though three keys and he does it all on one harp.

If you miss Sonny Boy's playing check out RJ Mischo (He has a new record
just released on the Blue Loon label.  Should be availible everywhere.) RJ
did all of Sonny's greatest songs.

Lynwood Slim thinks he's Rod Piazza.  Kind of sound like him too!!!  A big
fan of George Smith and Little Walter

Mojo Buford was less than spellbinding.  His harp skills have seriously
deteriorated over the years,  and his voice has declined a bit over the
years too.  He was backed by the my (our) band  Groove Therapy.   

As you can see lots of great harp players in this town. About five others
that weren't even asked to play that should have been there also reside in

If anyone is looking for a harmonica vacation outside of the conventions
this is the place to come....

-Chris Michalek

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