Re: [Harp-L] Little Walter

I have to say that any  inferrence that West (with a "T") Weston is "doing" or  
"completely recreating" Little Walter is quite unfair & innaccurate. He's 
authentic alright, a great frontman & sideman, rooted in classic postwar blues, 
but he is no copyist.

There may be a few bars in several minutes of performance that echo some of 
Walter's phrases, but that's about it. West has a very different sound, phrasing 
and attack. Less legato, punchier, a middier bite.

About the only aspect that I can find that they have in common is that West 
plays with a fluency that few musicians achieve, he plays harp like most folk 
speak their mother tongue.

Was Walter ahead of his time? Well, I guess if recreating his playing was 
commonplace today, then I might agree, in that respect. But it isn't. There are 
only really about a dozen players around who can do a passable impression. 
Unique? Certainly. Timeless? Sure, I'd agree much of it remains fresh, no matter 
how many times you hear it...and there's always more to hear.

For me, a lot of the seduction of Little Walter's playing is the "intangibility" 
of it, that it's elusive & hard to master and there's a dynamic to his playing 
that isn't common today.

Regards, Mark.

From: Mick Zaklan <mzaklan@xxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, 15 August, 2011 20:39:32
Subject: [Harp-L] Little Walter

  Coincidentally, the Chicago Sun-Times mentions Little Walter in their
lead editorial today.  Instructing folks to hit and
listen to Little Walter's "My Babe" running in the background of Willie
Dixon's foundation website before reading the editorial.  To get the
importance and feel of Chicago blues.  It's a piece on turning the Chess
Studios and the surrounding neighborhood into a tourist zone similar to Sun
Studios in Memphis.
  Listening to the Wes Weston clip doing Little Walter and Little Walter
himself in today's posts reminded me of a conversation I had decades ago
with Chicago harpist Ron Sorin.  Ron told me he never had any interest in
completely recreating somebody else's harp style but he understood the
"seduction" of Walter's playing.  It's a "complete" style; it works in a lot
of different settings; and to this day it still sounds modern, Ron felt.  I
  Kind of reminds me of the old Studebaker Avanti.  I was a kid when that
car came out and year after year, decade after decade, that automobile still
looked like the most modern thing on the road to me.  Same deal with
Walter's stuff.  Way ahead of its time.  My opinion.

Mick Zaklan

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