Re: [Harp-L] SPAH and me

Should have mentioned PT Gazell in there. I tend to think of PT  as an
instrumentalist playing standards, but his playing is a perfect example of
how you can play 'songs' on harmonica...and I KNOW he can comp beautifully
behind vocalists. Sorry, PT!

On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 2:34 PM, rosco <roscoharp@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I am not really interested in hosting a SPAH seminar...unfortunately I am
> not a very good harp 'teacher' since I don't really think of technique,
> position, or the physiology of playing harp when I'm doing it. I'm always
> happy to answer questions or even participate in a panel discussion- but
> I'm actually still figuring out the best ways to approach the music I love
> - it's an ongoing process. Some folks are more qualified than me - like
> Jelly Roll, Rob Paparozzi, Scott Albert Johnson, Paul Messinger and a few
> others - they are all doing what I'm talking about in various forms. I'd
> love to hear all these cats talk about comping to songs!
>  The politics of past SPAH regimes is of zero interest to me.
> On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 11:05 AM, John Shirley <john_shirley@xxxxxxx>
> wrote:
>> Hear, Hear.
>> I agree completely that the role of the harmonica can be so much more
>> than what it is often relegated to, esp in band situations. I also agree
>> that conscious efforts should be made to expand the harmonicaâs role, lest
>> that role shrink and/or stagnate. The harmonica has so much to offer in
>> terms of range and tone... and it is both chordal and melodic. It can most
>> certainly be as integral to songs as the ubiquitous guitars, basses and
>> keys.
>> I would be very excited to attend a Rosco seminar on the topic at SPAH!
>> Or maybe a panel?
>> There are people doing this kind of work, maybe more now than ever, and
>> Michaelâs point about being proactive in presenting this at SPAH is spot on.
>> If you still havenât heard Roscoâs album, you owe it to yourself to check
>> it out; itâs fantastic!
>> And if you want to hear a very different, integral use of harmonicaâs
>> check out my recent song âWrongâ which uses harmonicas throughout (double
>> bass, XB-40 and chromatic) and as the basis for the composition (the song
>> was written around the bass harp part). Be forewarned, however: the song is
>> heavy metal.
>> (itâs ok to promote your work now and then, esp when itâs related to a
>> larger topicâ)
>> ;-)
>> - John
>> Dr. John Shirley, Chairman
>> Department of Music
>> The University of Massachusetts Lowell
>> On Aug 19, 2015, at 10:13 AM, Michael Rubin <
>> michaelrubinharmonica@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Rosco,
>> I am with you and am interested in the same ideas.  I have found the
>> amount
>> of work in a variety of genres increased dramatically by putting your
>> ideas
>> into effect.  Perhaps you should run a seminar next year?
>> Michael Rubin
>> On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 9:03 AM, rosco <roscoharp@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> I'm a bad Harp-l citizen! Seems I'm one of those people who only post to
>> Harp-l when I'm trying to promote something I did or something I'm going
>> to
>> do. In my defense, the biggest reason for that is that almost EVERYONE on
>> this list knows more about how harps work, the history of harmonica, and
>> how to play the thing than I do. I usually have nothing to add to the
>> discussions. But I am a regular reader and I think Harp-l is a fantastic
>> resource for our community. So...this post is both a promotional one and,
>> I
>> hope, the springboard for discussion.
>> My thoughts on my SPAH experience:
>> SPAH is awesome, and anyone who is interested in harmonica and hasn't
>> attended a SPAH should go! I tell everyone that, and I believe it! When I
>> was first learning to play harp, SPAH was incredibly inspiring. In those
>> days I was playing mainly blues, and for a blues guy, SPAH is heaven. As I
>> expanded the styles of music I wanted to play, there wasn't as much to
>> gain
>> musically from SPAH. SPAH is maybe 50% blues oriented? And the rest is
>> split up into Jazz Chro, country, a little folk, and some miscellaneous
>> personality driven music (classical, Celtic, etc.). For me,SPAH has became
>> less and less about the performances and seminars, and more about the
>> close
>> friendships I've made and that I'm still making in the harp community.
>> This
>> is not necessarily an indictment of SPAH - the convention seems to please
>> most of the attendees...but it MIGHT be an indictment of our harmonica
>> community in general. There is a huge range of music where our instrument
>> is very under-represented. These days I'm involved with singer/songwriters
>> and bands that play original Americana,  pop, and rock. These genres are
>> what I mostly listen to, as do millions of other music fans, and they are
>> what I want to play! And would I love to hear more of on 'our' instrument
>> played by others in this larger universe of music. It seems there isn't
>> much instruction or discussion oriented towards making harp a legitimate
>> 'band' instrument outside of blues...maybe there isn't much interest, but
>> the A in SPAH stands for ADVANCEMENT.
>> Here are some of the things I'm interested in that I've learned through
>> years of trial and error: trying to make  harp fit without always
>> shoehorning a solo in; playing 'parts' with bandmates; playing the melody;
>> laying out for a verse or two while the song builds (or just LAYING OUT
>> ALTOGETHER!); playing long tones with varied vibrato; finding a part that
>> makes a chorus 'pop' - that kind of stuff. (I think of my harp as playing
>> violin-like lines when I'm comping behind a singer.) There is not much of
>> this at SPAH. Even the best performances are usually so harp-centric that
>> they wear out my ears...and I LOVE harp! I'm sure someone somewhere at
>> sang a song with harmony vocals and sweet harp fills, but I missed it. I
>> miss it every time I go. There is an emphasis on blues and jazz that is
>> understandable - most players fall somewhere along that continuum.  I
>> don't
>> hear harp used much to accompany a singer or to fit into the song as a
>> 'real' band instrument and not just to solo. I hear some, sure,  but not a
>> lot. Maybe there isn't much interest in this kind of playing? Or maybe we
>> slot ourselves too easily into what we are expected to play? I love Blues,
>> but I think there is a lot of untapped potential for harmonica in other
>> forms of music.
>> Anyway, I just put this on Facebook:
>> 'I just got back from a large gathering of harmonica players from all over
>> the world. There were some truly great performances by harmonica
>> wizards....but I missed hearing actual songs! Harmonica can be used as
>> much
>> more than just a blues instrument or for a flashy solo break! I've been
>> trying to make harp work in 'songs' for a long time, and now I've written
>> and recorded an album with that philosophy.'
>> You can listen to 4 of my songs here:
>> --
>> Later,
>> Ron 'Rosco' Selley
>> <>
> --
> Later,
> Ron 'Rosco' Selley
> <>

Ron 'Rosco' Selley


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