[Harp-L] Afro-American chrom players

Michael Rubin michaelrubinharmonica@xxxxx
Sun May 30 13:30:34 EDT 2021

If you think all George Smith did was play in third position with no
button, I challenge you to learn five of his songs note for note and make
the same claim.

George played in multiple positions, did jazz standards, played using
multiple keyed chromatics, and used the button plenty whether or not he was
in the key of D.

On Sun, May 30, 2021 at 12:25 PM George Miklas <harmonicat at xxxxx> wrote:

> Dr. Saïs Kamalidiin is an African-American chromatic harmonica player. He
> is the flute professor at Howard University, where he also has organized a
> student harmonica ensemble named Chrome Noir. It has been my pleasure to
> collaborate with Dr. Kamalidiin on past projects, as well as a current
> collaboration on Baroque duets for two chromatic harmonicas.
> https://profiles.howard.edu/profile/41446/sas-kamalidiin
> *--------------------------*
> *George Miklas <http://www.georgemiklas.com/>, **Harmonica Specialist; *
> *Scholar, **Educator, **Performer, Repair Technician; Harmonica Bands,
> Harmonica Concerti *
> *GeorgeMiklas <http://www.georgemiklas.com/> ** HarmonicaGallery
> <http://www.harmonicagallery.com/> **Sales
> <http://sales.harmonicagallery.com/> & **Repair
> <http://repair.harmonicagallery.com/>*
> On Sun, May 30, 2021 at 1:16 AM Rick Dempster <rickdempster33 at xxxxx>
> wrote:
> > Almost impossible to use words that don't offend anyone these days!
> > (Referring to 'subject' here)
> > Anyway, having taken up the chromatic harp only in the last four years or
> > so (only messed around with it before) I have frequently pondered the
> fact
> > that I did not take it up, because, generally speaking, it didn't appeal
> to
> > me. That's not to say I haven't appreciated some chrom playing over the
> > years, but the only one that really pressed my buttons (no pun intended!)
> > was Stevie Wonder. That is not because I dislike jazz (which is where the
> > chrome usually finds a home) and am attracted to Stevie's pop-soul only,
> > but because of his particular attack, which makes it, for me, a very
> > 'human' sound, with every note shaped in a particular way.
> > You could say Larry Adler shapes his notes, but to me, Adler's playing
> > sounds overly dramatic, and, sorry, corny, no matter how technically good
> > it is.
> > I also felt that in imitating Stevie (as I have heard a few people try)
> you
> > just end up sounding like a poor imitation.
> > Then recently, it occured to me that Stevie is the only Afro-American
> > chromatic player I have ever heard of.
> > I know Walter and George Smith and other blues players use it in 3rd
> > position, no button; that is not chromatic playing, really.
> > I think the chrom does not appear in older jazz, or R'n'B because it is
> not
> > loud enough, and even amplified, the chrom does not seem to make it. It's
> > just not 'brutish' enough, like an electric guitar or tenor sax.
> > It is usually used in 'modern' jazz, and is popular in countries like
> South
> > America and India, where the customary musical styles seem to suit it,
> > probably because of strings being the main accompaniment, and the whole
> > sound less aggressive.
> > Stevie Wonder was using the instrument in a form of 'pop' (ie Motown
> soul)
> > that is light and breezy. It is clear why the instrument works here.
> > So then it occurs to me that Stevie is the only Afro-US chromatic player,
> > and that is part of what makes him stick out.
> > So, here's my question: who have I not heard?
> > Thanks, in anticipation!
> > RD
> > PS So why did I take it up? Having messed with overblows for over 30
> years,
> > I decided I can't stand the sound ( I'm sure it loosened my fillings) and
> > have been using customised Sub30s to deal with tunes that go VI-II-V-I
> and
> > the like.
> > Zombor Kovacs, in Hungary does the custom work; he's in Hungary, I'm in
> > Australia. Why didn't I just take up the trumpet??
> >

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