Re: [Harp-L] FLAT!! But Maybe Not??

Excellent post and all so spot on, JD

----- Original Message ----- From: "Rob Paparozzi" <Chromboy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Marc Spilka" <marc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2010 1:11 PM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] FLAT!! But Maybe Not??

Interesting topic and I agree with Marc and Bob as well about a lot of what is being said here in these posts.

Firstly, I might add at OPEN Blues Jams there are just as many musically illiterate Guitarist, Bass Players, Drummers and yes, even Sax and Keyboardist. So it is NOT just the Harp Player at fault.

I think the biggest dilemma is the lack on understanding of the genre we call BLUES. If your understanding of the blues and it's history only goes as far back as The Blues Brothers, then we have a problem!,-) You don't need TONS of Musical Theory background to play the blues, The Chicago Guys didn't have it, they didn't NEED it...they invented the genre! Today's player needs to take the time to learn enough theory to respectfully be able to play this style no if and or buts.

Prior to The Blues Brothers Movie in 1980, Blues was not very popular in the Burbs. Then two amazing Comedians came up with a skit on Saturday Night Live and history was changed. The Genre being based around 3 Chords was something EZ for non trained musicians to TRY and mimic. But without taking the time to really learn to appreciate the origins of the music and listen and study it before attempting to PLAY it in public became a real problem for those of us that spent many years learning the art form in depth.

The fact of the matter is that although the Blues Brothers were two comedians out front, they at least had the common sense to accept it as that and then went on to study their ROLES very thoroughly. The Picked a band NOT of Comediennes but real Musicians that could play Blues, Jazz and Soul Music.

Yes, it exposed Million to the Blues, but there is always a trade off. You could now start a Blues Band, just buy some cheap fender gtrs, a bullet mic, get some hats and shades and amps...learn the songs off the Blues Bros record and your good to go! (at least that is what THEY were thinkin,-)

You can call 'em posers or whatever you'd like but the fact of the matter is, as a Blues Musician they are NOW your competition out in the clubs....oy vey..!!!! and they work CHEAP too!

I worked with the "Original Blues Brothers Band" From 2000-2007 and I must say they were an amazing group all great players from Matt Murphy to Steve Cropper and Blu Lou etc...Our MD was Leon Pendarvis the conductor at SNL on Organ. On occasion Akroyd would join the band and he was very respectful to me and always asked me to take the harp solos instead of him.

So let's not bash harp players here just trying to have some fun, an OPEN jam is just that and all levels are is too bad though they we so have many BAD blues bands out there, but I guess that came with the fame of the Blues...oh well just my 2 cents...

Have Fun, Keep Practicing and Learning....
Rob Paparozzi

----- Original Message ----- From: "Marc Spilka" <marc@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2010 3:26 PM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] FLAT!! But Maybe Not??

RE: Dan Aykroyd story below. That may have been true but the Blues Bros. exposed a huge audience to blues and R&B music. He may not have been a great harp player but the general public is not made up of harmonica connoisseurs--it is made up of people who listen to music. If you can turn them on to a type of music they are not generally aware of that is a good thing. Serious blues fans may have thought they were posers, but you can't argue with their success or the quality of musicians they attracted. My guess is Rob P who posts a lot here can attest to how great the players in the band are. It reminds me of the continued perception here of John Popper and I do not want to start another discussion about him. It is a different argument in the sense that Popper can play his ass off and Dan Aykroyd can't but JP turned a generation onto to harmonica who hadn't previously listened.

Marc Spilka
Los Gatos, CA

Unfortunately, that's been common for years because, like it or not, the cold, hard, brutal truth is that too often the average harp player knows next to nothing about theory, as well as other positions, plus often times the musicianship of many harp players are flat out horrible. It's not an answer that's gonna get me on anyone's popularity list, but it is what it is.

Why do they do this?? At many open jams, including one I hosted, I've often seen harp players have their positions listing with them and if they need to have this with them on the bandstand, they're clearly NOT ready to be there at all because you should have this memorized COLD and no excuses for not knowing that before you get there.

When Duke Robillard was with Roomful of Blues and they had to back John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd for that Blues Brothers thing, Duke had told me that he had to damn near tell Dan what key harp to use for almost every tune. Well, unfortunately for a lot of players, this is too often true and players like that often are so totally clueless to the fact that they hurt the reputation of the instrument and their players and so this is an ongoing battle because of players in that category.

I don't like the idea of it, but I completely understand where they're coming from because they're used to dealing with harp players on the bandstand that haven't got a clue about where they are in the instrument 24/7 and it hurts having to say that at all. There are clearly way too many players who come under the category that once you can get a clear single note and suddenly are able to bend a note, that they're ready to be on the bandstand with other people and that's simply NOT true at all, and often times this is where that guitar player is coming from.

Barbeque Bob Maglinte
Boston, MA
CD available at

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.