Harmonica Hoedown 2017
Featuring PT Gazell, Joe Filisko, James Conway, Graham Nelson with host Bob Kessler plus special guests.
8pm - $10 - 21+
Celebrating the rich history of and diverse approaches to the world’s most popular, most portable instrument, the Harmonica Hoedown 2017 brings together some of the finest players of today.
PT Gazell, this year’s special guest, was a sought-after sideman and session musician with some of Nashville’s biggest stars in the 70s and 80s when he played and recorded all over the world. After 10 years of extensive touring, Gazell put his instrument down and disappeared for a while, reemerging in recent years with a new approach, the Gazell Method. Currently used by many other performers around the globe, it allows him musical possibilities normally not available on standard issue harmonicas including jazz standards, swing, ballads and American Songbook selections...Dig It!
Revered as a master player, teacher, custom harmonica pioneer, researcher and historian, Joe Filisko is arguably the world’s foremost authority on many aspects of the diatonic harmonica and a key figure in today’s harmonica scene. Over the past 20 years he’s had a tremendous influence on the developments in all aspects of the culture of the instrument. Though his work as a scholar and a craftsman have rightly earned him a place in the harmonica pantheon, it’s as a player that he truly shines. Joe Filisko coaxes sounds from the harmonica which few before him have ever created and which open up new perspectives for countless players and lovers of this remarkable little instrument.
A harmonica trio made up of Harmonica Hoedown regulars James Conway, Graham Nelson and Bob Kessler debuts this year. Expanding the tradition of all-harmonica groups started in the early 20th Century, this new combo draws its influences from traditional music, jazz, blues, folk, classical and the avant-garde. James Conway, a true innovative traditionalist, is considered one of the finest harmonica players in Celtic music in addition to blues, folk and other styles. He makes playing fast-tempo reels and jigs on the mouth harp seem effortless using advanced techniques learned from local blues/jazz harp heroes such as Junior Wells, Sugar Blue, and Howard Levy. Graham Nelson also uses the advanced techniques taught to him by Levy, giving him great musical versatility and expression in numerous styles, in addition to his incredible singing. Hoedown curator and host Bob Kessler has performed with Grammy winners Ramsey Lewis, Dave Alvin, country legend Bill Anderson at the Grand Ole Opry, as part of the orchestra for Ricky Ian Gordon’s contemporary opera version of “The Grapes of Wrath” and with the Chicago bands including the BlackWilloughbys and Bakelite 78. He also hosts Harmonicast, a podcast featuring conversations with great mouth organists from around the world talking about music, creativity and life.
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