Re: [Harp-L] Little Walter

Hear hear... Go West!!

I've only had the luxury of seeing Mr. Weston a handful of times but each time his playing floored me.

As Mark says his fluidity and phrasing as well as tone are astonishing and not in the least bit derivative.


Dave Ferguson

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-----Original Message-----
From: MARK BURNESS <markwjburness@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sender: harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 21:03:31 
To: Mick Zaklan<mzaklan@xxxxxxxxx>; <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: 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@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx: Monday, 15 August, 2011 20:39:32Subject: [Harp-L] Little Walter
  Coincidentally, the Chicago Sun-Times mentions Little Walter in theirlead editorial today.  Instructing folks to hit andlisten to Little Walter's "My Babe" running in the background of WillieDixon's foundation website before reading the editorial.  To get theimportance and feel of Chicago blues.  It's a piece on turning the ChessStudios and the surrounding neighborhood into a tourist zone similar to SunStudios in Memphis.  Listening to the Wes Weston clip doing Little Walter and Little Walterhimself in today's posts reminded me of a conversation I had decades agowith Chicago harpist Ron Sorin.  Ron told me he never had any interest incompletely recreating somebody else's harp style but he understood the"seduction" of Walter's playing.  It's a "complete" style; it works in a lotof different settings; and to this day it still sounds modern, Ron felt.  Iagreed.  Kind of reminds me of the old Studebaker Avanti.  I was a kid when thatcar came out and year after year, decade after decade, that automobile stilllooked like the most modern thing on the road to me.  Same deal withWalter's stuff.  Way ahead of its time.  My opinion.
Mick Zaklan

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