Blues on Diatonic and Chromatic Harmonicas
The diatonic harmonica, or “blues harp”, has a voice well known in the blues genre. Many players use a bullet mic and a tube amp to produce the traditional “Chicago Blues” sound.
I prefer to develop my natural tone and play straight into the PA.
I also play Chromatic harmonica (with the button), which traditionally has it’s own style of playing in blues. But I prefer a more lyrical sound with influences from Stevie Wonder and Toots Thielmans, attempting to adapt that style within a blues context. Locally I play blues with “The Mark Crissinger Band” out of Nanaimo BC. Mark Crissinger is a Maple Blues Award nominee and incredibly talented as a tune smith and guitarist. Most of the following samples are from Mark’s CD’s and live performances. If you like what you hear, please support Mark and his great talent by purchasing his CD’s.
Believe in Love – Excerpts
Here are a few harmonica excerpts from Mark Crissinger’s soon to be released CD “Believe in Love”. Played on Seydel diatonics, and Suzuki Chromatic.
This is an excerpt of a tune written by Mark Crissinger, and performed by the Crissinger Band. Download the entire tune here: “Blues Expression“.
I Love You Baby
The harp solo here shares 12 bars with the diatonic, then 12 with the chromatic. Another tune on the “Blues Expression” CD. Download the entire tune here: “Blues Expression“.
One of These Days
Chromatic harmonica throughout on what Mark refers to as his “New Blues” journey. Chrome solo at 2:00. From his CD “Night Light”. Download the entire album here: “Night Light“.
RIP dear Frank. From Alexander’s Bluestime Band CD “Let’s Be Frank”.
Live funked up version of the famous Willie Dixon tune. I start with the diatonic harp, then switch to the chromatic for my solo (around 1:36). This was an early incarnation of the Crissinger Band and the first time we played this tune together. You can see Mark giving directions regarding the arrangement in real time to the band.
Just Want to Make Love (Willie Dixon)
Crissinger Band, with Mark Crissinger (Guitar and vocals), Brian Whitty (bass), Bill Hicks (drums), Dan Dube (keys)
This original tune (Chrome on the Bayou) has a “Cajun Blues” type feel and is performed on chromatic harmonica, with a little bit of wind-synth at the end.
Chrome on the Bayou – Cajun Blues on Chromatic Harmonica
In 2016 I experienced a life-altering event. I was in a coma for 10 days, under full life support, and came to the edge of the jumping off point a number of times.