Re: [Harp-L] Harmonica in Bluegrass

Some 15 years ago, I started playing "New Orleans Jazz"...Other wise  
known... In England anyway, as  "Trad Jazz"..     On my  harmonica.
I performed many times with Brian Green's New Orleans Stompers, In London  
UK... At "Pizza Express' ,"Pizza on the Park" and at many other prestigious  
London Jazz venues.
Folks said "There is NO PLACE for the harmonica in New Orleans  Jazz"...
But of course THERE IS... The harp can play the clarinet part... Or it's  
OWN part.... In the arrangement.
Same in bluegrass... Mostly, the harmonica will play along with, or instead 
 of.. The fiddle in bluegrass music, and it can sound just wonderful.
Let's face it.
In most genres of music, people tell us that  the harmonica is  
"inappropriate"... In classical music, people like  Robert Bonfiglio,  Douglas Tate, as 
well as Larry Adler  PROVED that not to be the  case!
I believe the harmonica, sensitively played, fits into most ANY genre of  
It saddens me that people can be so ridged in their perceptions of music  
genres... I myself have been criticized many times for... For example... For  
playing a Little Walter tune, and for not copying "his" solo...
I don't copy. I like to be INSPIRED ...
John "Whiteboy" Walden
Cebu City
In a message dated 1/24/2011 12:18:05 A.M. Malay Peninsula Standard ,  
dcooper@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:

Bill  Monroe, considered the "father" of bluegrass music, utilized the
talents of  DeFord Baily who not only played harmonica for the band he also
composed  the "Evening Prayer Blues", one of Mr Monroe's hits.

Monroe was also  known to employ piano and accordian players in his band.  

In  addition to harmonica I play bass, dobro, finger-style guitar and  

The next time a bluegrass purist talks about the   "traditional
instrumentation" of bluegrass point out the fact that Bill not  only used a
harmonica in his band, but a black man played it. In the 30's,  40's, & 50's
that was pretty revolutionary in itsself.

It's all  about the style of music, not the instrumentation. Here in the
Northwest  USA the "traditional instrumentation" bluegrass snobs abound, but
a few of  us are breaking into the acoustic music scene a step at a time.

That  said, blowin' a 12-bar blues solo in the middle of a traditional
bluegrass  number should be a hangin' offense....

Best Regards,

Dennis M.  Cooper  <>   

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