Re: [Harp-L] SPAH and me

I knew this would happen!! - I also forgot about the great work Jackson
Kincheloe does comping with Sister Sparrow in a more funky style. Sorry,
Jackson... There are great folks out there doing it, but not much emphasis
on teaching it

On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 2:57 PM, rosco <roscoharp@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> 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
>>> SPAH
>>> 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
>> <>
> --
> Later,
> Ron 'Rosco' Selley
> <>

Ron 'Rosco' Selley


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