[Harp-L] Richard Hunter’s CD, “The Lucky One”
Fri Jun 16 11:54:00 EDT 2017
Peter Madcat Ruth wrote:
<Richard Hunter’s CD, “The Lucky One”, is simply amazing!
<Each of the twelve songs on this CD features one or more mind-blowing
harmonica <tracks, and every harmonica track features a different
electronically enhanced <sound. Richard has created such a large
palette of harmonica sounds: raucous & <clean, complex & simple,
cutting & smooth, beautiful & weird, other-worldly, and <impossibly
lush… And all these amazing sounds support well constructed and
artfully <performed original songs (plus one cover tune). The
production quality of this CD <is flawless. I highly recommend it.
Thanks Peter. The praise that matters the most to us all is the praise
from people who know and have done the most.
I'll just take this opportunity to note that there are many harmonica
records that feature novel and interesting sounds for the
instrument--Peter's own records include many, many examples going all the
way back to the mid-1970s. What I've done with this record is to use a
wide range of sounds to put the harmonica into new roles in a rock band.
The traditional role of the harmonica in blues and rock is lead instrument,
with occasional limited support for other functions in a band. That lead
instrument role is traditionally inevitable given the range and tone of an
unaltered harmonica--an unaltered harmonica sound doesn't have enough
weight or harmonic flexibility to put it at the heart of the rhythm
section, for example, not with keys and guitar competing for the same sonic
Magic Dick took important steps with the J. Geils Band to put the harmonica
deeper into the rhythm section. Lee Oskar put it into the horn section.
With modern electronics, it's possible to put the harmonica into a much
wider range of roles--to orchestrate the sound with harmonicas the way
Jimmy Page orchestrated Led Zep's music with guitars. That's what I did on
"The Lucky One."
With the arrival of a usable MIDI controller based on the harmonica, the
roles available to harp players expand even further. The DM-48 is not
really a harmonica, of course--many of the expressive moves that players
can use on a real harmonica aren't available on the DM-48, at least not
yet. (Brendan Power noted in a recent post that he's built an add-on for
the DM-48 that uses a lever to bend. That's precisely the mechanism used on
a MIDI keyboard--which is an example of how different the DM-48 is from a
harmonica.) But that's not the big issue. The big issue is that a harp
player armed with a DM-48 is absolutely unrestricted in terms of what roles
can be played in the band. Can't find a decent bass player for the band,
or a decent organist? Pull out the DM-48, load up a bass patch or an organ
patch, and do the job. Two or more harmonica players can now co-exist in a
band without stepping all over each other. Doing so demands a solid
understanding of how the various instruments in a band interact with each
other, which means that harmonica players need to think farther and wider
about the music they're playing. Great!
I've said before on this list that in the 21st century a musical instrument
functions both as a sound-generating mechanism in its own right, and as a
controller for other sound-generating mechanisms. Harmonica players now
have the tools they need to enter the 21st century. Let's do it. We don't
have to leave the 20th century behind; we can take everything we learned
with us. But we can do so much more now that these fabulous tools are
available to us.
Regards, Richard Hunter
Check out our 21st Century rock harmonica record "The Lucky One" at
Author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
Latest mp3s and harmonica blog at http://hunterharp.com
Vids at http://www.youtube.com/user/lightninrick
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