Recent CDs

I find myself with a few spare moments, so I thought I'd take the
opportunity to mention a few CDs I've recently been sent for review.

First of all, the earliest recording of an African-American harmonica
player and quite possibly the earliest harmonica recording ever has
just made it to CD. Originally released on an Edison cylinder back in
1904, you can now hear Pete Hampton's turn of the century performance
on CD. More details here:

"Black Mountain Harmonica" by Tony Eyers features some blistering
fiddle tune playing on altered tuned short harps. More details here:

More fiddle tunes and more besides on the debut CD from Chicago-based
quartet The Sprigs, featuring one of my current favorite harp players,
James Conway. If you enjoyed "Mouth Box", you love this one. More
details on their website:

CD reissue of PT Gazell's classic country harp album from the late
70s, with a couple of previously unissued tracks thrown into the
bargain. If you've worn out your LP, you'll need a CD copy. If you
never had it on LP, you'll also need a CD copy. Great country cross
harp with back-up by Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas. More details

"Watching the World" by Triple Play. Madcat is one third of Triple
Play - what more do you need to know?? OK, the other two thirds are
Chris Brubeck and Joel Brown, the CD features jazz, blues, classical,
boogie-woogie in 5/4 time and more besides. This has some of the
nicest harp playing I've heard Madcat play - and that's saying
something! More details from:

Last year on harp-l the topic came up of harmonica in free
improvisation. This CD (not a new one, but it only recently came to my
attention) features two veterans of the UK free improv scene on a CD
that grew out of an appearance at a German Free Reed Festival a few
years back. Unlike the overly intense, self-indulgent noodling that
characterises of lot of free improv, the pieces on this set tend
towards the meditative. The harmonica is strongly featured along with
the accordion, harmonium, a couple of different types of Asian mouth
organ (see and a Thai free reed pipe
(see and some non free
reed instruments such as piano, shakuhachi, bird calls, sticky tape
and stereo goathorns. The music is haunting and evocative and probably
very unlike anything you've ever heard played by a harmonica before.
More details:

Finally, a new CD from Jefferson Gonçalves, entitled "Gréia". Even if
you have not heard of Jefferson before, I'm pretty sure you will have
heard of some of the guests on this CD - Peter Madcat Ruth, Norton
Buffalo, Johnny Rover and others. Jefferson is from Brazil and plays
harp with the well-established Brazilian blues band Baseado em Blues
and has a duo called Blues Etc. However, for my money, this is the
best CD he has recorded. Some of the blues-rock typical of Baseado em
Blues is featured on this CD, but there is also a strong acoustic
element and influences from American country music and Brazilian forro
are thrown into the blend. Traditional Brazilian instruments weave
their way amongst the guitars and harmonica and the result is a very
fresh sound that revived even my jaded ears. I particularly loved the
two instrumentals "Forro dos Amigos' with Jefferson's diatonic and the
chromatic harmonica of Tavares de Gaita (from the Pe De Serra Forro
Band) accompanied by world-famous percussionist Airto Moreira and
"Pifado", a duet between JG's harp and Carlos Malta's pifano (a
traditional South American bamboo flute). All this and Madcat, Buffalo
and Rover just to add even more harp to the mix! Details from:

 -- Pat.

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