Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Toots preference for Eb & Bb

I'm SO happy reading this, Winslow! It follows what Smokey, and Phil  
Caltabellotta (as my jazz chromatic mentors) have both been  telling me, as well 
as Age (AJ Fedor of the Slidemeister website), which  reiterates my own 
long-held belief that it simply doesn't matter to the  audience which keyed 
instrument you play, as long as they like the sound  and enjoy the 
performance...which point Smokey has just reiterated.
I was about to respond to Bob McGraw to mention that as much as I  admired 
Toots, I simply don't find it as easy to play fluidly in Bb on a C  
chromatic when a Bb instrument flows so naturally, so why would it not be  the 
logical instrument to use for my needs? Of course someone of Toots'  skill and 
stature is so much further advanced (into the stratosphere  compared to me) 
but it's just amazing to now know that even he liked  and employed those 
'other keys' at some point.
As Steve said, Toots being a jazz musician the sax was a huge  influence on 
him as was his jazz guitar playing and I find I also lean towards  wanting 
to play along with predominantly sax and guitar jazz music  (and their keys) 
on Radio and CD's so it now all makes better sense why my ear  gravitates 
to certain keys AND still comes back to: there wouldn't be  a reason for the 
Harmonica manufacturers to make chromatics in those keys if  there wasn't a 
steady market for them. 
While I understand the thinking behind the 'one chromatic for  everything' 
idea since it's been the norm and ingrained for so many years before  I ever 
came back to chromatic playing, it simply isn't optimum for me and  doesn't 
feel (or sound) right. Clearly I'm not the  only chromatic player who feels 
this way since more and more  of us are buying and playing other keys, and 
am just THRILLED now  to discover that my hero Toots isn't or wasn't always 
a 'purist'. 
As to Norman's point - I fully understand that side of it and certainly  
don't mind at all not being thought of as good enough by specific  harmonica 
players since I would never expect their  approval. I know how important it 
is to them since they've worked so hard  to achieve their level of expertise. 
It's more than enough for me  when musicians I know and like personally and 
hold in  high esteem tell me that what I've just played sounded very nice  
to their ears and that I'm playing better each time. For MY life, this is 
what  works.
You've quite made my day :)
Winslow for SPAH President/
LJ Atkison for VP...Don't forget to pay your SPAH dues so  you can vote!
"Message: 9
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2012 08:24:48 -0700 (PDT)
From: Winslow  Yerxa <winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Toots preference  for Eb & Bb
To: "harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>

It's  true that due to the influence of saxophones, trumpets, and 
clarinets, much jazz  is in their home keys of Eb and Bb.

But if those keys had laid awkwardly  on the C chromatic, I think you'd 
find that Toots would have chosen another key  of harmonica to play.

Earlier in his career, he did sometimes play  chromatics in other keys, 
mostly to take advantage of Db position (8th position)  in other keys, such as 
when he recorded East of the Sun in Ab using a G  chromatic. After about 
1960, though, he decided to stick with the C  chromatic.


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From: Bob McGraw  <harpbob@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Steve Baker <steve@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>  
Cc: "harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx> 
Sent: Wednesday, March  14, 2012 4:15 AM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Toots preference for Eb &  Bb

I think that's right; if you're going to play jazz tunes in the keys  they 
were written in, you're going to be playing in Bb, Eb and F quite a bit...F  
more than Eb, probably. All three of those keys lay out well on the C 
chromatic,  by the way.
WVa Bob

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 14, 2012, at  5:40 AM, Steve Baker <steve@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I assume  Toots likes those keys because he's a jazz musician who was 
massively influenced  by (and worked with) sax players. Many jazz tunes are 
written in those keys as  they lay out well on the sax.
> Steve Baker


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