I’ve been playing harmonica since 1967, recording for myself and other artists since 1970, and helping other harmonica players make better music since 1980. In the last fifty-plus years I’ve made 3 major contributions to the art of the harmonica:
1) I wrote Jazz Harp, a very influential book that helped a lot of harp players on their paths to careers in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, London, and many other places.
2) I created a unique body of solo harmonica compositions and arrangements with my CDs The Act of Being Free in One Act and The Second Act of Free Being, which were the first commercial recordings I know of that were devoted entirely to solo harmonica. The Act of Being Free in One Act was cited as an influence by George Winston, another fine harmonica player, in his concert programs for years. Among other things, my work here and elsewhere helped to promote the use of alternate tunings for diatonic harmonica, which opened up new worlds of technical and emotional possibilities for players and composers. In 1999 only a few diatonic harmonica players used anything but standard Richter tuning; now just about every pro player is using simple Richter variations like the natural minor tuning, and some players have gone way beyond that.
3) I’ve pioneered the use of amp modeling technology to offer harp players powerful, inexpensive high-tech gear that adds dozens of exciting new sounds to their stage and studio setups. You can hear the results of that work on my latest CD, “The Lucky One,” where EVERY harmonica track was recorded with an Audix Fireball V mic and a Digitech RP500 running my patch set.
Harmonica players have come a long way in the last fifty years. I’m glad to have been a part of it.