Minneapolis, Minnesota native Clint Hoover has been playing the harmonica professionally for 18 years. As a studio session player he has worked for many regional artists as well as for…

Minneapolis, Minnesota native Clint Hoover has been playing the harmonica professionally for 18 years. As a studio session player he has worked for many regional artists as well as for commercials, theater, radio and TV. He has performed with groups working in styles that include jazz, blues, rock, and various kinds of acoustic music. His 1997 debut jazz CD Dream of the Serpent Dog received rave reviews in both America and Europe, not to mention right here at this site. Clint teaches harmonica at the West Bank School of Music in Minneapolis — listen to the sample and get your ticket to Minneapolis now — and is on the applied music staff at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. In NYC he attended the Parsons Jazz and Contemporary Music Program, and studied — like many of today’s top players, including Mike Turk, Rob Paparozzi, Will Galison, and others — with classical harmonica virtuoso Robert Bonfiglio.

We asked Clint the same questions we ask every pro whose profile we publish here:

  • What are your 5 favorite harmonica records?
  • What instruments (harmonicas) do you use?
  • What amplification and other gear do you use, on stage and in the studio?
  • What’s your discography?

Clint’s answers — especially his favorite recordings — reflect the state of the art in modern jazz harmonica styles. His gear choices are simple, practical, and effective, oriented to live performance; in other words, a solid working jazz pro’s setup. We thank him for this gift to harmonica players everywhere.


Clint’s Top 5 Harmonica Records

Favorite Instruments

Favorite Gear

Clint’s discography


Clint’s Top 5 Harmonica Records

  1. Mouth Organ Madness – Les Thompson. One of the truly great jazz chromatic players. His work deserves much more attention. His approach
    is unique; his facility incredible; great phrasing; melodic, inventive lines; and he swings real hard.
  2. Affinity (Warner Bros. Records B3K 3293) – Bill Evans, Toots Thielemans. To hear these 2 giants of jazz play together is a musical experience that changed my life. They complement each other so well.
  3. Harmonica Jazz (Tall Thin Records TTR101)– Howard Levy. I remember the first time I heard this recording years ago. I just couldn’t believe what he was doing on a diatonic harmonica. I immediately began looking on the diatonic harp in a new light.
  4. Crossroads (Green Linnet SIF 1030) – Joe Ryan and Eddie Clark. Traditional Irish reels, hornpipes, etc., on fiddle and chromatic harmonica. Amazing unison
    playing, almost sounding like one instrument. Eddie Clark actually duplicates the fiddle grace noting.
  5. Great Harp Players, 1927-36 (Document Records DOCD-5100) (the tracks by Blues Birdhead). The first great pioneer and innovator of diatonic jazz harmonica. I just love those early jazz trumpet lines. He overblows! How does he growl like that?

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Favorite Instruments

On chromatic I use the Hohner Super 64X and a Hohner 2016 CBH with rosewood covers and brass mouthpiece by Bill Romel. I use Hohner Golden Melody diatonic harps. (Richard Hunter note: the Golden Melody is often preferred by players who do a lot of overblowing, e.g. jazz diatonic players.)

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Favorite Gear

On stage for jazz gigs I use a Microvox harmonica mic run through a Fishman Pro-EQ, an Alesis Nanoverb and an ART MP tube mic preamp. This is run into 2 JBL Eon 10” powered speakers used either as my own PA or as monitors with a line out to the house PA. For traditional acoustic gigs I play through a vocal mike (usually a Shure SM-58). I’ve just started using the famous Sennheiser 441. In the studio I was just using a Lawson L-47 tube mike that’s real nice (I think it’s hand built). I also have amps for electric gigs: a ’59 Fender Bassman, a blackface Fender Princeton, and a Fender Pro Reverb. I use either a Shure Green Bullet mic or a Fingermike with these amps.

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Clint’s Discography

Dream of the Serpent Dog (Mr. Bipps Records 4620) by Bobby E. , Clint Hoover, and Jim Chenoweth (AVAILABLE AT THIS SITE!) .

Mississippi Goin’ By (SH Productions SH0002, SH Productions, P.O. Box 14074, Dinkytown Station, Minneapolis, MN 55414-0074) by Steve Haskin with Clint Hoover and Mark Briere.

These are the only 2 CDs I’m extensively featured on. I’ve played tracks as a hired gun on a lot of CDs, but I don’t see the need to list them.

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