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 minutes.

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!


-----Original Message-----
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 this
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 decided
to honor a blues harmonica player with a special day. Mayor Tom Barrett
and County Executive Chris Abele officially declared October 26, 2014 to be
"Jim Liban Day." The Hohner Company presented Jim with a Lifetime
Achievement Award and a Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award was also given
The day commemorated Mr. Liban's 50th year as a full time, professional
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 his
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 guy
was moving around onstage like a teenager and playing hour-plus long sets.
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," and I
can't think of another harpist who has had a better 12 months. So the SPAH
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!"

Mick Zaklan

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