[Harp-L] Subject: Re:Thanks Jason/Mike Fugazzi & Nite Rail Grab theReins for the Blow-Off

Thanks Jerry for adding the word HUGE to the MAJOR debt of gratitude owed  
to Jason Ricci for what he's put himself through to blast open the Tuesday 
night  leading to SPAH every year for the last several SPah's.
Few people have any idea of the logistics involved and how much  angst 
there is in coordinating all those players and keeping  the 'flow' of a harp 
night at a club. Jason himself actually felt  comfortable in previous years 
simply hosting the event and wanting to  cede his slot to his guests..but was 
forced into playing by  patrons who'd travelled there just to see and hear 
HIM play and were very  upset to find he wasn't actually on the schedule...so 
he's had to pencil  himself in - difficult to do when there is such a time  
Jason and his brilliantly worked out Blow-Offs are among the  main reasons 
I go to SPah each year given the physical difficulties I  have flying.... 
and this News from Warren actually fills me with much  dismay. To me, Jason 
Ricci and SPah are inexorably entwined. If he isn't  there...even just to play 
his chord in the corridors (and yes I have taped him  doing so), the entire 
4 days aren't half as exciting. I'm not 100% sure SPah  realizes just what 
an absolute treasure they have in him. Unfailingly  generous, absolutely 
indefatigable and always, always, always ...promoting  harmonica. 
While I'm positive Mike and his Band will do a great job for  this gig, it 
just won't be the same continuation of 'Jason Ricci's  Harp Blow-Off', which 
has become an Institution...leading to some of THE best  moments I've ever 
witnessed, participated in (and filmed) for the past few  years and kept 
many of us up the entire night leading into Wednesday morning -  the official 
beginning of SPah.
...Sitting outside afterwards coming down from the excitement of the  
various Blow-off nights with Jason, Paul Davies, Jimmy Gordon into the wee  
hours....are just such precious memories.  Sure, some people drink  themselves 
silly and don't remember half of what transpires during the blow-offs  let 
alone much of the night...but for the rest of us we're still up and raring  to 
go way into the wee hours afterwards. Jason's one of those and hanging with  
him after is always a special time.
Is it because the cost has just become far too expensive for Jason and  the 
Band to manage because he simply needs paying gigs to foot the bills  after 
being terribly hard-hit with the Nashville flooding among other  personal 
financial set-backs this year? Could any of us help out?  Hell,  I'd be MORE 
than willing to reach into my pocket (as I'm sure many others  would who've 
been privileged both to participate and benefit from some of  the best 
harmonica and other music EVER in the host cities over these  years). 
Quick flashes:  Winslow playing Scottish Music with a  violinist....Mike 
Peloquin with his Sax and harp...Steve Baker. Cheryl Arena -  GREAT vocals and 
harp.....Jason bringing out the HarpBeats because he  wanted harmonica fans 
to hear what he hears in the chord and bass  harmonicas...as well as 
chromatics.  They got the most applause out of  everyone there in 2009! 
 The people surrounding me were hard core blues fans and had probably  
never sat through a performance of Fiddler on the Roof or the Godfather played  
by a harmonica trio before...but Jason basically put them out there for 
Blues  aficionados to hear...and from the comments I was overhearing - these 
guys who  know blues harp were SO appreciative and blown away...in fact it was 
Jerry  Deall's group of friends :) I could hear them cheering and applauding 
like  mad.  What an incredible moment. Who else but Jason Ricci could pull 
that  off?  Sure, some people went outside - thinking it'd be 'boring, 
old-hat'  music...but within minutes when they heard the rush of applause coming  
from inside the club, they were back inside - and it was SRO for the  
HarpBeats.  This is the stuff I'll savour forever.
 If I could help rather undeserving players last year, I could surely  help 
someone who's been THE most singularly generous and charitable harmonica  
player and band leader I know.  In case some aren't aware Jason  Ricci's 
usually among the first to reach into his pocket as well as donate  his time for 
causes to help out other musicians having medical and other  difficulties 
over the years.
This News absolutely breaks my heart if it isn't 'logistics'  but financial 
in nature. Do we know any details? ...Warren?   Even a major Thanks for all 
those years just doesn't seem adequate, somehow, if  there's something more 
concrete any of us can do?
This is not a slap in ANY way, shape or form at Mike Fugazzi  and Nite 
Rail...I've long wanted to hear Mike and his band perform Live but  he's just 
been too far away from where I live in NY. Perhaps they could co-host  if 
money is indeed behind the reason Jason can't get to Minnesota?   ...but having 
what's become an established 'tradition' for some of us come  to an abrupt 
stop is upsetting, to say the least.  
Without Jason Ricci at SPah,  Spah ain't really much of SPah.... for  me, 
anyway. While I enjoy the teach-ins very much (they're another  huge reason 
why I attend) .... and other performances, of course  and hanging with my 
friends if they go:  (Val Redler, Phil , SmoJoe,  lots of chromatic players I 
get to play along with: Marv and Roger Monroe,  etc.), Cara Cook playing 
mostly Country/Blue Grass, Chris Michalek playing Jazz  AND country....listening 
in to people like Brendan, James Conway, Paul Davies,  Will Galison, 
Charles Spranklin, Bob McFarlane, Rob Paparozzi, Randy  Singer..Slim..Mike 
Peloquin playing (and arranging) everything - so many others  I simply can't name 
at the moment.....the Jazz nights have evolved into  something quite 
extraordinary while becoming a showcase for pro players  ....wonderful to listen in 
to, but still  way too over the head  of ordinary amateurs like me..so a 
more low-key jazz jam NOT  relegated to an a.m. seminar but run as a real jam 
FOR amateurs by  someone who's a great Jazz player - (or a couple of them 
such as Phil and  Smokey) would be really nice (and very appreciated) for those 
of us who've long  wished to learn 'how to'.  I suspect it'll be up to the 
GSHC Festival to  finally take that particular bull by the horns.**
(**more about the recent Trumpets Jazz Club 'Spring Fling/Fever' in  
another post...)
 - but there was no where you could look at last year's SPah without  
seeing Jason somewhere without an entourage of 30 - 40 players - including  the 
younger guys such as LD Miller, Brandon Bailey,  Jay Gaunt, Nic Clark 
surrounding him.  At Joe Filisko's  teach-ins....outside in the sun, after anyone 
else's shows. Lots of older  players too who don't buy into the 'he's not 
Blues' horse manure we've  been subjected to here every now and then.  (He 
wouldn't have just won the  BMA award for Harmonica if he wasn't 'Blues' in some 
....Late-late-late night after-jam-jamming in the hallways with LD and  
Jason goofing on harmonica and singing on a different mental plane than anyone  
else (still with a crowd surrounding them)  - reliving their  many 
experiences on the road...well, you just had to be there. I  laughed till my stomach 
hurt. Thankfully Tammy Miller had gone to bed  exhausted...'someone' had to 
play Mommy then, to keep the noise level down to a  more palatable level so 
we wouldn't be tossed out of the Hotel...but it was  sheer exuberant 
fun..fueled by nothing more than absolute talent and mutual  respect. Hysterically 
funny ....and I'm glad I did not have my videocamera to  capture it. ;)  
Some memories are better kept there (altho' I'm eternally  grateful for those 
who captured the other late-late night of Brendan and LD's  beat-boxing 
harmonica playing: some things DO need to be captured for  posterity). 
Nope...SPah wouldn't be Spah without Jason Ricci, for me anyway. Your  
mileage may vary.
Message: 11
Date: Mon, 17 May 2010 17:00:37 +0000 (UTC)
From: Jerry  Deall <jdeall@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Thanks Jason / Mike  Fugazzi & Nite Rail Grab the
Reins   for the  Blow-Off that Kicks Off SPAH this year in Bloomington!
To: Warren Bee  <spahpublicity@xxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Mike Fugazzi  <mikefugazzi@xxxxxxxxx>, harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx

Warren & Mike, 
That's fantastic. 
And yes a huge thanks to Jason  for all he's done. 

Thanks Jerry, 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Warren Bee"  <spahpublicity@xxxxxxxxx> 
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx, "Mike Fugazzi"  <mikefugazzi@xxxxxxxxx> 
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2010 10:54:10 AM GMT  -07:00 US/Canada Mountain 
Subject: [Harp-L] Thanks Jason / Mike Fugazzi  & Nite Rail Grab the Reins 
for the Blow-Off that Kicks Off SPAH this year in  Bloomington! 

Jason Ricci has been an amazing SPAH supporter over the  last few years by 
hosting the Tuesday Night Blow-Off at a club in the host  city. These 
have all been produced by Jason with no formal SPAH  support. The SPAH team 
is so busy coordinating things at the host hotel that  logistically they 
cannot be involved with the blow-offs. Jason has freely  donated his time, 
his band and his own money to make this happen. We all owe  a debt of 
gratitude for the things that Jason does outside of his own "gig"  to help 
further the harmonica "cause". Thanks Jason! 

This year Jason  is not available to do his thing so Mike Fugazzi & Nite 
have  stepped in! Thanks guys. 

The Blow-Off will be at Famous Daves BBQ.  Mmmmmmmmmm Good! Exact details 
will be forthcoming. I do know that RJ Misho  will be in the house that 

Warren "Bee"  Bachman 
SPAH Publicity Director 


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