The Duke saw some lively action, you don’t see every day. They were the host to the best harmonica players Toronto has to offer. The place packed up with the expectations of a good time and the curiosity of how this was going to sound. Before I get started on this review, I just wanted to mention that I loved the fact that the lead guitarist, Chris Burgess has a Makita tool box for holding his foot petals. I thought that was pretty cool.
First up was a guy named Roly Platt. His sound was clean and full of colour and character. He was not the master of one technique but the jack of all trades with his wide breadth of styles. There was the standards, the hustle and bustle, the shuffle and even something you hear often from the harp, the occasional ballad. That ballad was Georgia (on my mind), made famous by Ray Charles. He also covered, “Feelin’ alright”, made famous by many a band including the intense Joe Cocker. Roly finished his set by bring out his invention, the Harp Wah. It is a mute for the harmonica. I will explain revolutionary product in a separate article.
Here are a couple pics from Roly Platt’s performance:
Right after Roly was done Carlos Del Junco jumped up on stage on to over impress any new audience members who was seeing him for the first time. If you have not seen this man live, I urge you to check him out. He does things to his harp that you thought could not be possible. Things like make two completely different sounds at the same time. At one point he made them sound like bagpipes. He danced around like a technical dragon breathing fires of ecstasy. Carlos even went back in time when he was with a band called the Delcomos, back in 1991. He went into a twelve minute jam doing the all time classic, “Crossroads”, by Robert Johnson. Talk about a journey.
Here are a couple pics from Carlos Del Junco’s performance:
After the band took a well deserved break, the high flying and joyful sounds of Jerome Godboo filled the air. He kept things fun and light hearted. Seeing Jerome live is like walking through the midway of a carnival on a perfect summer night. His rendition of the Rolling Stones, “Not fade away”, kept the dance floor packed with happy patrons who just wanted to live through another fun Saturday night. That is when the party got even more festive, because Aaron Kazmer climbed on stage, and a duo of harp players were born. They riffed off each other’s energy for a few songs, and that is when Aaron decided to go for broke and get four harp players together for the first time. Here was an experiment that could walk in any direction at this point.
Aaron decided not to do his own set but to have fun with some friends. Why not, he was the man who organized this swinging soirée. They all took their turns with precision and finesse. They went into a long free form jam that witnessed blissful moments and a couple of times of musical dementia struggling through the artery of being in the moment. That’s Ok because this unrehearsed journey became a four way street filled with treat as if you were getting candy on Halloween. Like the Billy Idol song, the crowd was crying for more, more, more. So the night concluded with a song called “Mercy, mercy, mercy”. Everyone looked tired but truly satisfied. To discover your favourite Harmonica player, check out these sites.
Here are a couple more pics from the 4 Harps’ performance:
The Venue http://thedukelive.ca/index.html