I attended two days (out of 5) of the 47th Annual SPAH (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica) meeting in Minneapolis this week. It was not long enough, but I was glad to be able to spend some quality time with a bunch of avid harmonica-playing fans, along with a good sampling of the very best players in the world. I had extended conversations with TJ Klay from Nashville, Rob Paparozzi from NYC, Clint Hoover (the Minneapolis-based jazz harp monster), Steve Baker, the Germany-based Brit blues monster, Brendan Power, Ronnie Shellist, Irish harp monster James Conway, Slim Heilpern, and many others. I played in a few jam sessions with the above, all of which were a blast, and none of which were recorded. I bought a few new instruments, including a Seydel Deluxe Chromatic and a Seydel 12-hole Blues Sololist Pro.
It was over too soon, but it was great while it lasted. I’ll have a few more comments on this event later this week. In particular, I want to talk about the terrific players in their teens and 20s that I met at this show–kids whose technical skills are miles ahead of what the pros were doing in the 1970s, when I came of age as a player. Stay tuned.