Re: gospel harmonica

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Posted by Patrick J. McKenna on June 17, 2001 at 12:43:23:

In Reply to: gospel harmonica posted by jason on June 16, 2001 at 17:31:54:

: does anyone know some good cds or players that play gospel harmonica songs such as amazing grace and such, but more jazzed up than just the melody? or hymns? looking for spiritual harmonica? any helps of comments are appreciated. peace jason

I do. Me! The problem is that I've never released any CD's. My current band status, which to be honest, has me in the category of "available," and that isn't encouraging. (Forthe record, electric bass is my primary instrument, but lately, the harmonica has been the instrument, with which I've been putting in more practice time.)
If you would like to check out some great harmonica, I recommend the CD "Somebody's Comin'" by Terry McMillan. It features an interesting variety of spiritual and secular selections, which includes an awesome version of "Amazing Grace." One morning, I caught a performance of Terry perform "Amazing Grace" on the 700 Club, and decided that I must get his CD. After getting his name correct, I ordered his CD, which I'm sure could've sold better if it recieved more airplay. Terry has also performed as a session player and has backed up various big name performers such as Dolly Parton.
You are probably both wise and observant to have found that the harmonica has a lot more potential than simply a back-up instrument for R&R/R&B/C&W or written off as associated with "camp-fire" music. It has a lot of potential as a lead instrument (even played in 1st position). Great source material can be found in any old hymnal. (Of course, I strongly urge anyone interested in music to learn to read standard music notation as well as tab.) I've played harmonica with a light piano accompaniment with nice results. If you can coax your church pianist into trying out some music with you playing the lead on harmonica, you may be able to surprise the congregation by providing some really beautiful music. Hopefully you'll find one that can improvise. A lot of church pianists are great musicians...but can't play a piece unless there is music...and then can play only as it is written. Try it out. As you learn to play with others, you will become a better musician.
I welcome any feedback. Any comment will be read and answered.
Wishing you success in your endeavors.

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