Harmonica Blowout; Fresno chapter ( Long)

Hello all,

The harmonica blowout that was put together by Mark Hummel was a big success.  A sold out event that took place in a beautiful old theatre in the tower district in Fresno, CA.  The tower district is a wonderful section of Fresno that is full of good places to go to see music and have great food and that is exactly what everyone showed up for.  Anyway, lets get to the show.
Then show began with John Clifton a local player that is the front man for the Mofo Party Band, and up and coming band in the area.  Clifton is a hard working player and is as dedicated as anyone I have ever met what it comes to working on his craft.  Special kudos to John, as he and his brother met with an unfortunate situation on New Years Eve that left John with some injuries that might have prevented him from performing at this show.  However, John assured me that a broken nose would not slow him down, and it didn't.  John put on a great show for the hometown crowd and ended to a standing O.  
Mark Hummel came out next and did his thing.  Mark is a technically fine player.  His TB technique is solid and so is his playing.  Not flashy, but solid.  His rhythm section was the back up band for the show along with Ron Thompson and Bill Clifton on guitars.  Hummel's playing is alot stronger than his singing and this evening was no different.  Hummel's chro. work is better than most blues players that play chro. but not anywhere like Paul deLay's who came up next.  
Paul is in a class by himself.  His approach is innovative and was refreshing to hear.  when I hear Paul play I know that there is someone else that didn't listen to LW and noone else when it came to who he emulated.  His singing is soulful and his wit is razor sharp.  This is the second one of these shows I have been to and the same thing occurred both times.  You have a group of players that have the same approach and attack onn the harp...and then there's Paul.  He stands out and not cuz of his size either.  If those of you have not had a chance to listen to Paul's recordings, go buy one, and it really doesn't matter which one.  He plays with space...now there is a better topic than the TONE thread that is on harp-l now.  Playing with space is something that we all can be better at.  
Huey Lewis was next and it was great to see Huey come out and contribute to the music that has influenced so much in his very successful career.  There is nothing fancy about Huey's playing but he can get around the harp as well as anyone and he has solid chops and his singing...well that is as good as ever.  Huey was quick to recognize the other players on the slate, especially James Cotton.  It is evident that he has a tremendous respect for all, especially Cotton.  
Mr. Cotton came out last to a resounding applause and did not dissappoint the crowd that came to see the last of the great Chicago players of his era.  James has no voice left and has been reduced to a whisper when he speaks but his harp playing is strong and sounds like a player half his age.  I don`t know how old James is but he has to he pushing 70. 

The show was fun and entertaining.  However, I think that maybe Mark could think about putting together players that should be heard along with some of the players already on the lineup.  Players like Michael Peloquin, Bill Barrett, Carlos del Junco just to name a few.  Players that will be around for a long time and also players that are taking the harmonica the next step and not just keeping it where they found it but playing with innovative and new approaches.  

Roger Gonzales    

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