6/13/2006 Bourbon Street BRAZIL
6/14/2006 SESC BRAZIL
6/16/2006 Jazz & Blues Festival BRAZIL (Rio das Ostras?)
6/17/2006 Jazz & Blues Festival BRAZIL
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Richard Hunter <>
Date: May 15, 2006 7:54 AM
Subject: [Harp-L] Charlie Musselwhite at Cafe du Nord, San Francisco, May 13 2006
I saw Charlie Musselwhite perform last night in San Francisco. It was a great show; my wife called it the best live performance she'd seen in ten years. Charlie fronted a band that included guitar, bass and drums. The guitarist was a young guy from Norway, and he played solid blues with a distinctive style that meshed very well with Charlie's harp. The rhythm section was solid and driving; altogether it was the best band I've heard behind Charlie since the great Robben Ford/Skip Rose band that recorded "Takin My Time" back in the 1970s.
Charlie's own playing was outstanding. He twists the pitches of his notes; "bending" is too tame a word for what he does to a reed. Especially on the high notes, his sliding-out-of-tune notes project incredible emotion -- a howling moan with a center of deep sweetness. It's one of the most personal and emotional sounds I've ever heard from any harp player. He used 3rd position, 2nd position, 1st position, and 5th position (E minor on a C harp) effectively to get the message across. On 3rd position pieces especially his low end notes ripped hard, and his sliding pitches made a big impact on my heart.
He played through an Audix Fireball into a Fender guitar amp (I didn't see the model -- might have been a twin). I talked to him after the show, and he told me that the mic is not a standard Fireball; the first Fireball he tried didn't have enough low end, and he sent it back to Audix for mods. I think I'm going to ask Audix for the same mod on my Fireball. That mic had the clarity I associate with my Fireball, but a much heavier punch in the midrange and low end. I used my Fireball in a jam at the Blues Station in Columbus Ohio last week, and it worked great for jazz tunes on the chromatic, but not so well on blues -- lots of cut, but no grind. Charlie had plenty of both. He told me that he likes the Fireball especially for its very low feedback.
I've said in a previous post to this list that Charlie Musselwhite can do no wrong. He finished the night with "Cristo Redentor;" his performance on this song on the 1969 Vanguard album "Tennessee Woman" changed my life. Last night's performance was more assured and moving than I've ever heard him play before. Charlie is clearly playing at his peak now. If Charlie passes through your town with this band in tow, make a point of seeing him.
regards, Richard Hunter