Posted by SlipKid on January 20, 2003 at 17:49:07:
ANNUAL SO CAL HARP JAM TURNOUT..
Well whooda' thunk?!
Last Saturday's first annual Southern California Harp Jam was a tremendous success!! Not only was it full of surprise performances, but it drew a rather large gathering of unique players, instructors and personalities alike. Bodies from San Diego to Pasadena gravitated to 'the bar behind the tracks' to participate in the first annual Harpers Gathering for an entire Saturday afternoon of listening, learning and performing live harmonica improv. What a pleasure it was to have played with all of these great blues lovers!
The jam, located at the rather rural Tiajana's Long Bar & Grill in Irvine, Ca, was lead musically by none other than Southern California's own Ironman Mike Curtis. Playing guitar, harp and bass (with his feet!) and singing, Ironman lead a good 4 and a half hours of blues play for a group of about 15 So Cal harpers. Styles included edgy contemporary blues, lowly barstool blues, classic covers, and even some exceptional acoustic chromatic play. It was a pleaser to play along side Ironman Mike with his quirky delivery and a seemingly endless selection of songs. Not to mention his refined and melodic racked harp playing! It soon became no mystery as to how he acquired his nickname of "Ironman". Mike is an entertainer of the first order and a talented musician.
And just when we thought the jam could not get any better, we were also fortunate enough to draw the likes of harp virtuoso and world renown player/instructor Jon Gindick. Jon graciously presented an hour seminar to any and all players on beginning blues play and freestyle jamming. And to initiate the spotlight jam session, Jon and Ironman Mike took stage and cut loose on some ripping blues, displaying their skills with a high energy jam that had heads bobbing, feet tapping and left all with smiles, hoots and hand claps. Jon's charisma was infectious.
Then took stage the players...
From the beginner to the advanced, each harper was given stage time to shine their skills before an accepting and good natured blues loving crowd while Ironman Mike backed each one with songs of their choice. Players like Honesty, and Jay displayed their advanced skills from years of playing independently or with a band, and had some good ole' wailing fun. While others like Don Matheson, John Karp, and myself shook out their butterflies and took stage for the first time to jam with the pro's and see the world of live play from the other end of the spotlight. Everyone was very encouraging and helpful, which left a collective sense of success in the air for all those who dared to entertain.
In conclusion, Ironman Mike sarcastically broke the code of harp jamming and invited ALL the harp players in the crowd to take stage once again for an all out play fest of blues riffing all together. Leading 2 tracks of classic E and G blues, 10 harpers brushed shoulders and blew chords simultaneously to form a cacophony of harmoni-sounds that I'm sure had every cat and dog wailing from within a 5 mile radius. Ohhhhh, the humanity!!!
All in all, Jan 18th Southern Cal's Harpers Gathering was a surprising success. Enough to encourage the same faces, and possibly new ones to attend the next annual Jam Gathering looking to be held several times this year. We like to thank Mark Wilson and Co. of Irvine for organizing and putting together the Jam and contacting both Mike Curtis and Jon Gindick. We also extend a very warm and gracious thank you to both Mike and Jon for taking the time to travel to Irvine and support Southern California's harping community that afternoon. It made all the difference to us!!
Thanx again to all the rest for attending and supporting this event and we look forward to seeing you at the next annual Southern Cal's Harp Jam!
For all those interested in the next round up, feel free to email me for info.
Meanwhile, keep mad harpin & never lose the blues!!!
Randy J Hernandez
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