Re: [Harp-L] circular breathing, Bernie Bray Award
Problem with circular breathing is that it is only good for exhale.
That's why it works for horn players. But every time -- sorry -- I hear
somebody on harp practice circular breathing it is on the top end of
the harp -- and one thing I don't want to hear more than a passing note
from is the top end.
It hurts my ears to listen to somebody play a high end note for xx
Sure, it's a good trick. But after you call all the dogs in the
neighborhood, what have you got? Noise.
FYI: Jim Liban is great -- except for that. And put him up for the
Bernie Bray award!
From: Mick Zaklan <mzaklan@xxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sat, Jun 13, 2015 1:40 pm
Subject: [Harp-L] circular breathing, Bernie Bray Award
Usually about once a year or so, we get an inquiry about circular
breathing on a harmonica. Thought I'd be pre-emptive and post a current
. The circular breathing starts at about 24:12. Jim's been using this
technique for over 30 years onstage. My memory is a little fuzzy on
one; but I believe he picked the technique up from the late saxophonist,
Grover Washington Jr.
Digressing a bit, the occasion here is "Jim Liban Day" in the city of
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That's right; a major American city actually
to honor a blues harmonica player with a special day. Mayor Tom Barrett
and County Executive Chris Abele officially declared October 26, 2014
"Jim Liban Day." The Hohner Company presented Jim with a Lifetime
Achievement Award and a Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award was also
The day commemorated Mr. Liban's 50th year as a full time,
musician. He did it the hard way; supporting himself with a
harmonica mainly by playing taverns and saloons in Wisconsin that booked
blues, rock, and American roots music. Decade after decade, he fronted
own bands in which the lead instrument was a diatonic harmonica. Rarely
venturing outside of a small geographic area.
I caught Jim a few months back and he was playing better than ever.
Though he is over 65 and collecting Social Security and Medicare, the
was moving around onstage like a teenager and playing hour-plus long
Combine all that with the brilliant blues harp CD guitarist Joel
Patterson managed to coax out of Jim last year, "I Say What I Mean,"
can't think of another harpist who has had a better 12 months. So the
Bernie Bray Harmonica Player of the Year ballot is an easy choice for me
this time around. He won't get it; I suspect myself and possibly Joe
Filisko would be his only supporters. But in the twilight of a long
harmonica career; Jim Liban is finishing his musical marathon like a
champ. As Rick Estrin says in the above video: "One of the best, ever!"
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