Re: [Harp-L] Toots last year

The diatonic accordion is what Toots played as a kid (probably the only thing a small child could manage physically). That instrument is about as sophisticated as a diatonic harmonica in terms of its ability to produce or educate the player about harmony. Also, the left hand side of larger accordions produces push-button chords - press this key you get a major chord, this one a minor or a 7th or a diminished - that donât really produce harmonic understanding beyond knowing the circle of fifths, which is how the bass notes (and their chords) are arranged.

Toots once mentioned in an interview that he and George Shearing studied harmony together out of the same book sometime in the early 1950s; Shearing had the braille edition. They spent a good deal of time on it, especially during a long-ish stay in San Francisco. Given bebopâs heavy use of harmonic extensions and alterations, and substitute chords and scales, Iâm sure Toots had been puzzling out harmony for a long time before that. However, this book must have helped him put all the bits together into a coherent whole. (Sorry, I donât remember the name, but it was standard sort of academic text if I remember correctly.)

Winslow Yerxa
Author, Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
Resident Harmonica Expert,
Instructor, Jazzschool for Music Study and Performance

 From: robert <harpbob@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Rob Paparozzi <chromboy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
Cc: "harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>; The Iceman <icemanle@xxxxxxx> 
Sent: Sunday, December 22, 2013 8:24 AM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Toots last year

Actually I'm pretty sure Toots started on accordion, then came chromatic, then guitar came third. I heard him say all this in an interview. He played the accordion for a good while and evidently got pretty good on it; perhaps this is the foundation of his knowledge of harmony?

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