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Little Walter: Ten-week class in Berkeley

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Apr 01, 2011 12:50 AM GMT

Starting Saturday, April 9, I’ll be teachingLittle Walter: Seven Essential Harmonica Solos,a new ten-week classat the Jazzschool in Berkeley:

Little Walter Jacobs is perhaps the most influential blues harmonica soloist ever. He revolutionized blues harmonica in the 1950s partly through amplification, partly through injecting jazz ideas into the down-home blues, but mostly through his own creative genius.

This course will examine several aspects of Little Walter’s playing, including

·his musical origins and influences

·his influence on later players

·his playing as a band member, as a soloist, and as an accompanist to singers

·his use of chromatic harmonica

·His use of first and third positions

·His unusual approach to tongue blocking, with some little-known secrets.

We’ll examine several of his recordings, but we’ll focus on seven of his most influential recordings, looking at the his musical architecture of building a solo, the notes he played, and what he did with the notes too create nuance, both on a musical level and through harmonica technique. Registered participants will receive a list of recordings to study, suggested reading, and transcriptions of the solos to music notation and harmonica tab.

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