Re: [Harp-L] Winslow's Group at SPAH

Thanks, Emile and Slim.

I feel really blessed to play with a musician like Tuula. When you hear a harmonica and violin together (when you hear them at all) the harp player is usually doubling or supporting the fiddler. With us it's all about interaction. 

Tuula is unusual for a violinist in that she listens and finds ways to accompany me - for her, the violin is not the center of the musical universe. It's especially unusual considering the high level of her technique in a versatility of styles. A combination of lifelong folk fiddling and high-level classical training and performance allows her to play nearly anything her fertile imagination dreams up. When she applies that to intertwining with my harmonica playing - well, you've heard some of the results.

The cool thing about our collaboration is that we both listen and look for opportunities to make our instruments interact. This goes way beyond just adding harmony lines or rhythmic chording. It's about finding things that enhance the music and bring it alive in new ways. One of us may write an arrangement for both instruments (which we then have to adapt), or we may ask the other to come up with a part, which can be very challenging. It can be a lot of work to arrive at a good arrangement, but enormously satisfying when we do - as the many enthusiastic comments about our SPAH show have indicated.

Finding a guitarist with the chops and sensitivity to play our arrangements well and the right stylistic background (and who is available and affordable!) is an ongoing challenge. Colin is mainly a singer-songwriter and celtic/indie violinist, willingly accepted the challenge to develop guitar accompaniments. He provided the subtle support that we needed to enhance our arrangements with some really fine accompaniments, and was rock solid in performance. And considering that some of these arrangements were originally envisioned with bass and/or percussion, he really found what was essential and then built some fine parts on that foundation - by turns sensitive and lyrical or rhythmically buoyant.

Now it's time to return to working on the CD. More as this develops.


Winslow Yerxa
Author, Harmonica For Dummies ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
Harmonica instructor, The Jazzschool for Music Study and Performance
Resident expert,

From: Slim Heilpern <slim@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: "harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx Harp L" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 1:06 PM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Winslow's Group at SPAH

Yeah, Winslow's performance with Tuula and Colin was indeed wonderful!

For anyone who hasn't yet seen it, one of Winslow and Tuula's cuts from the West Coast Jazz Harmonica Summit DVD is on YouTube and it so happens that this was one of the tunes they performed at SPAH:

- Slim.

On Aug 16, 2011, at 12:44 PM, Emile Damico wrote:

> When I saw it was Canadian folk music
> or music from the North Country
> I thought ok I'll check it out.
> Wow what a surprise! The group had such
> great sound and Winlow's playing was
> great. The sound between the violin and
> and the harmonica was superb.
> I wish I could have gotten all of the
> arrangers and orchestrators that write for
> film and TV in the room so they could
> hear the sound so they could start putting
> harmonica in more scores.
> Can't wait for the CD.

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