CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


Please email me at Info@Bmansbluesreport.com
Showing posts with label Cuba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cuba. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Buena Vista Social Club's Omara Portuondo announces last-ever world tour, comes to North America this spring/summer


LEGENDARY CUBAN SINGER
OMARA PORTUONDO RETURNS TO NORTH AMERICA ON HER LAST-EVER WORLD TOUR

“LAST KISS” TOUR REACHES LOS ANGELES,
NEW YORK, CHICAGO, WASHINGTON DC
AND MORE


photo credit Johann Sauty

Omara Portuondo, legendary Cuban diva and original member of the famed Buena Vista Social Club™, comes to North America this spring/summer for the final time as part of her worldwide “Last Kiss” farewell tour. Highlights of the tour’s North American portion include performances at the Regent Theater in Los Angeles, Sony Hall in New York, the Barns at Wolf Trap in Washington, D.C. and the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. See below for a list of dates.

On the road, Portuondo will be joined by a traditional piano/bass/drums/percussion lineup consisting of acclaimed GRAMMY Award nominated pianist Roberto Fonseca, Andres Coayo on percussion, Ruly Herrera on drums and bassist Yandy Martinez.

Portuondo’s last-ever worldwide tour comes on the heels of her most recent album, last year’s Omara Siempre, and a series of high-profile performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at the Kennedy Center and more. “Her voice remains lithe and powerful,” notes the Los Angeles Times, adding that “the audience erupted in an ovation equal parts appreciation and astonishment.” NPR’s “Alt.Latino” adds that Portuondo “brought gasps of delight, then rapturous applause, just by walking out on the stage.”

Portuondo began her career by joining her sister Haydee as a dancer at Havana’s famed Tropicana Club in 1950. In 1953 the pair changed their focus to their singing careers, finding success with Cuban vocal group Cuarteto d’Aida. In 1996 Portuondo was featured on Ry Cooder’s critically acclaimed album Buena Vista Social Club, as well as in the accompanying Wim Wenders film of the same name, and remains the only original Buena Vista Social Club vocalist still performing with the group. In 2004 she became the first Cuban artist to be named an International Ambassador by the International Red Cross.

OMARA PORTUONDO LIVE

April 19                                 Los Angeles, CA                                                         Regent Theater
April 20                                    Berkeley, CA                                                        Freight & Salvage
April 23                                     Vienna, VA                                                       Barns at Wolf Trap
April 24                                     Vienna, VA                                                       Barns at Wolf Trap
April 26                                  New York, NY                                                                    Sony Hall
April 28                                Poughkeepsie, NY                                  Bardavon 1869 Opera House
May 1                                        Chicago, IL                                  Old Town School of Folk Music
May 2                                     Milwaukee, WI                                                             Pabst Theatre
May 4                                       St. Paul, MN                                                 Ordway Music Theatre
June 26                                     Toronto, ON                                                                 Koerner Hall
June 27                                     Montreal, QC                  Maisonneuve Theatre de la Place des Arts

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mario Bauza & His Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra

Mario Bauzá (28 April 1911 – 11 July 1993) was an important Cuban musician. He was one of the first to introduce Latin music to the United States by bringing Cuban musical styles into the New York jazz scene. While Cuban bands had popular jazz tunes in their repertoire for years, Bauzá's composition "Tanga" was the first piece to blend jazz with clave, and is considered the first true Afro-Cuban jazz, or Latin jazz tune. Trained as a classical musician, he was a clarinetist in the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra by the age of nine, where he would stay for three years. Bauzá traveled to New York in 1925 to record with Maestro Antonio María Romeu's band, a charanga, shortly after his fourteenth birthday. Bauzá returned to Cuba but moved back to New York in 1930 and reputedly learned to play trumpet in just over two weeks in order to earn a spot in Don Azpiazú's Orchestra. This was in need of a trumpeter to play on recordings for RCA Victor. Bauzá had been hired as lead trumpeter and musical director for Chick Webb's Orchestra by 1933, and it was during his time with Webb that Bauzá both met fellow trumpeter Dizzie Gillespie and discovered and brought into the band singer Ella Fitzgerald. Importantly, Bauzá introduced the young Havana virtuoso Chano Pozo to Dizzy, when the latter wanted to add a Cuban percussionist to his band; though Pozo was killed in a Harlem bar fight just a year later, he left an indelible and long-lasting mark on Dizzy's playing and compositions, co-writing several legendary compositions such as "Manteca" and "Tin Tin Deo". In 1938 Bauzá joined Cab Calloway's band, later convincing Calloway to hire Dizzie Gillespie as well. Bauza continued to work with Gillespie for several years after he left Calloway's band in 1940. The fusion of Bauzá's Cuban musical heritage and Gillespie's bebop culminated in the development of cubop, one of the first forms of Latin jazz. In 1941, Bauzá became musical director of Machito and his Afro-Cubans, a band led by his brother-in-law, Machito. The band produced its first recording for Decca in 1941, and in 1942 Bauzá brought in a young timbales player named Tito Puente. "Cubop City" and "Mambo Inn" Followed the success of "Tanga." Machito's Afro-Cubans, often played straight-ahead big band mambo music. Many of the numbers were covers of recordings which had proved popular in Cuba. The band played mambo-style dance numbers at venues such as Manhattan's Palladium Ballroom. Bauzá kept his post as director of the Afro-Cubans until 1976. After this he worked sparingly, but was always highly respected. He recorded a few Cuban jazz albums which had limited sales. His last band made a guest appearance on a 1992 episode of The Cosby Show.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mush Mouth - GEEZIL MINERVE, Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra

Harold "Geezil" Minerve (January 3, 1922 - June 4, 1992) was a Cuban-born jazz alto saxophonist and flautist. Minerve was raised in Florida and began playing music at age 12. He played with Ida Cox early in his career, then worked as a freelance musician in New Orleans. Following stints with Clarence Love and Ernie Fields, Minerve served in the Army from 1943-46, then returned to play with Fields for a short time. He worked with Buddy Johnson from 1949-1957, then with Mercer Ellington (1960), Ray Charles (1962-64), and Arthur Prysock. In 1971 he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra, filling Johnny Hodges's spot after Hodges's death. Minerve remained with the Ellington Orchestra until 1974, then returned to play with Mercer Ellington. He did further freelance work later in the 1970s. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cement Mixer - Slim Gaillard

Bulee "Slim" Gaillard (January 4, 1916 – February 26, 1991) was an American jazz singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist, noted for his vocalese singing and word play in a language he called "Vout". (In addition to speaking 8 other languages, Gaillard wrote a dictionary for his own constructed language.) Along with Gaillard's date of birth, his family lineage and place of birth are disputed. One account is that he was born in Santa Clara, Cuba of a Greek father and an Afro-Cuban mother; another is that he was born in Pensacola, Florida to a German father and an African-American mother. Adding to the confusion, the 1920 U.S. Census lists a 19-month-old boy named "Beuler Gillard" in Pensacola, but born in Alabama. He grew up in Detroit and moved to New York City in the 1930s. According to the obituaries in leading newspapers, Gaillard's childhood in Cuba was spent cutting sugar-cane and picking bananas, as well as occasionally going to sea with his father. However, at the age of 12, he accompanied his father on a world voyage and was accidentally left behind on the island of Crete. After working on the island for a while, he made his home in Detroit. In America, Gaillard worked in an abattoir, trained as a mortician and also had been employed at Ford's Motor Works Gaillard first rose to prominence in the late 1930s as part of Slim & Slam, a jazz novelty act he formed with bassist Slam Stewart. Their hits included "Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)", "Cement Mixer (Putti Putti)" and the hipster anthem, "The Groove Juice Special (Opera in Vout)". The duo performs in the 1941 movie Hellzapoppin'. Gaillard's appeal was similar to Cab Calloway and Louis Jordan in that he presented a hip style with broad appeal (for example in his children's song "Down by the Station"). Unlike them, he was a master improviser whose stream of consciousness vocals ranged far afield from the original lyrics along with wild interpolations of nonsense syllables like MacVoutie O-reeney. One such performance is celebrated in the 1957 novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Gaillard, with Dodo Marmarosa on piano, guested a number of times on "Command Performance", recorded at KNX radio studios in Hollywood in the 1940s and distributed on transcription discs to American troops in WW2. Gaillard later teamed with bassist Bam Brown; Slim and Bam can be seen in a 1948 motion picture featurette—with the Gaillardese title O'Voutie O'Rooney -- filmed live at one of their nightclub performances. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Gaillard frequently opened at Birdland for such greats as Charlie Parker, Flip Phillips, and Coleman Hawkins. His 1945 session with Parker and Dizzy Gillespie is notable, both musically and for its relaxed convivial air. Gaillard could play several instruments, and always managed to turn the performance from hip jazz to comedy: he would play the guitar with his left hand fretting from the top of the neck, or would play credible piano solos with his palms facing up.Gaillard also wrote the theme song introducing the Peter Potter radio show. Gaillard appeared in several shows in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Marcus Welby, M.D., Charlie's Angels, Mission Impossible, Medical Center, Flip (The Flip Wilson Show), and Along Came Bronson. He also appeared in the 1970s TV series Roots: The Next Generations and reprised some of his old hits on the NBC primetime variety program, The Chuck Barris Rah Rah Show. By the early 1980s he was touring the European jazz festival circuit, playing with such musicians as Arnett Cobb. He also played with George Melly and John Chilton's Feetwarmers, appearing on their BBC television series. He also made a guest appearance on Show 106 of the 1980s music program Night Music, an NBC late night music series hosted by David Sanborn. He later appeared in the musical film Absolute Beginners (1986) singing "Selling Out". In 1992, the Belgian group De Nieuwe Snaar released an amusing ode (in Dutch) to Gaillard, on their CD William. Gaillard used Yiddish in at least two of his songs, "Dunkin Bagels", and "Matzo Balls", where he refers to numerous Jewish ethnic dishes eaten by Ashkenazi Jews. The songs were issued by the Slim Gaillard Quartet in 1945 on the Melodisc label, featuring Gaillard on guitar, Zutty Singleton on drums, "Tiny" Brown on bass and Dodo Marmarosa on piano. It was later included in the 2010 compilation CD BLACK SABBATH: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations, issued by the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation.[8] "Matzo Balls" is played on the radio by John Goodman's character ("Al Yackey") in the Steven Spielberg 1989 film "Always". Arabic is sprinkled about Gaillard's songs. The song "Yep-Roc-Heresy" 3:07 - 1945 is a good example. This song is made up almost entirely of Arabic food names. The title of the song is taken from the first two words of the song, which are "yabraq" or in Arabic "يبرق" (pronounced "يبرأ" "yabra'" in the Levant, and mostly in northern parts of today's Syria), which is another name for the Turkish Dolma or stuffed grape leaves. The second word is "[harisseh]," (not to be confused with Tunisian harissa) which is a sweet dessert made from semolina flour - recipe. Other Arabic words used in the song are: Burghal (burghal), Mahshi (stuffed), kibbeh siniyyeh (kibbe in a tray), anna biddi (I want), Masari bahh (No money), banadoura (tomato), ruzz (rice), eidi maksura (I am broke), Arak (Arabic: عرق [ʕaraq]) (a liquorice liquor), lahame mishwie (grilled meat), basal (onion). This may be the first jazz song in Arabic. Some say he was reading from a menu of an Arabic restaurant, but this does not explain for his use of phrases such as, "no money" or "I am broke." In the 1940s, the song was "banned in the radio for being suggestive", for its suspicious lyric references to drugs and crime. The actual origin of these phrases comes from his time living in Detroit. He was out of money by the time he made it to Detroit and was turned down a job at Ford. An Armenian woman named Rose Malhalab took Slim in, where he lived in the basement of her and her husband's beauty shop on Woodward Avenue. She cooked much Arabic food for him, explaining Slim's entire song Gaillard's daughter Janis Hunter is the ex-wife of R&B/soul legend Marvin Gaye, and the mother of actress and singer Nona Gaye and Frankie Christian Gaye. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

You Gotta Move - Carlos del Junco & Bill Kinnear


Bill Kinnear started playing guitar late in life - at age 35. He traveled to the Mississippi delta spending time there soaking up as much of the culture and music as he could. Although not a technician, he brought a wonderful immediacy to his simple but soulful playing. He met Carlos in 1991 and they recorded this one CD before Bill died in 1994. He was only 52 and died shortly after watching his 11 year old son die of a life debilitating disease. Although he loved life (he will be warmly remembered by all that knew him), he really died of a broken heart as he pretty much drank and smoked himself to death
If you like what I’m doing, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! - ”LIKE”

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spanish Melody & Swing - Slim GAILLARD & His Trio


Bulee "Slim" Gaillard (January 4, 1916 – February 26, 1991) was an American jazz singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist, noted for his vocalese singing and word play in a language he called "Vout". (In addition to speaking 8 other languages, Gaillard wrote a dictionary for his own constructed language.)
Along with Gaillard's date of birth, his family lineage and place of birth are disputed. One account is that he was born in Santa Clara, Cuba of a Greek father and an Afro-Cuban mother; another is that he was born in Pensacola, Florida to a German father and an African-American mother. Adding to the confusion, the 1920 U.S. Census lists a 19-month-old boy named "Beuler Gillard" in Pensacola, but born in Alabama. He grew up in Detroit and moved to New York City in the 1930s.

According to the obituaries in leading newspapers, Gaillard's childhood in Cuba was spent cutting sugar-cane and picking bananas, as well as occasionally going to sea with his father. However, at the age of 12, he accompanied his father on a world voyage and was accidentally left behind on the island of Crete. After working on the island for a while, he made his home in Detroit. In America, Gaillard worked in an abattoir, trained as a mortician and also had been employed at Ford's Motor Works.
Gaillard first rose to prominence in the late 1930s as part of Slim & Slam, a jazz novelty act he formed with bassist Slam Stewart. Their hits included "Flat Foot Floogie (with a Floy Floy)", "Cement Mixer (Putti Putti)" and the hipster anthem, "The Groove Juice Special (Opera in Vout)". The duo performs in the 1941 movie Hellzapoppin'.

Gaillard's appeal was similar to Cab Calloway and Louis Jordan in that he presented a hip style with broad appeal (for example in his children's song "Down by the Station"). Unlike them, he was a master improviser whose stream of consciousness vocals ranged far afield from the original lyrics along with wild interpolations of nonsense syllables like MacVoutie O-reeney. One such performance is celebrated in the 1957 novel On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

Gaillard later teamed with bassist Bam Brown; Slim and Bam can be seen in a 1948 motion picture featurette—with the Gaillardese title O'Voutie O'Rooney -- filmed live at one of their nightclub performances.

In the late forties and early fifties, Gaillard frequently opened at Birdland for such greats as Charlie Parker, Flip Phillips, and Coleman Hawkins. His 1945 session with Parker and Dizzy Gillespie is notable, both musically and for its relaxed convivial air. Gaillard could play several instruments, and always managed to turn the performance from hip jazz to comedy: he would play the guitar with his left hand fretting from the top of the neck, or would play credible piano solos with his palms facing up.Gaillard also wrote the theme song introducing the Peter Potter radio show.
Like my Facebook Page, Post your video on my Wall or post your Photos of great blues events! Share your favorite posting and get more exposure for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Al vaiven de mi caretta - AfroCubism


ELIADES OCHOA guitar and vocals (born Songo la Maya, Cuba, 1946)
With his trademark cowboy hat and penchant for wearing black, Eliades Ochoa has been dubbed "Cuba's Johnny Cash." There's more than a fashion statement in the comparison to America's greatest country singer, too, for Ochoa is a "guajiro" (from the countryside) and a champion of rural Cuban styles such as son and guararcha.

One of the younger members of the Buena Vista Social Club, he has since become something of an elder statesman himself and has been a professional musician for almost half a century. For many years he was a regular at Santiago's famous Casa de la Trova, and, in 1978, he took over the leadership of Cuarteto Patria, a Cuban institution, which, by then, had already been performing for almost 40 years. He recorded two albums with the group for the Mexican Corason label and in 1986 met the veteran singer Compay Segundo, who joined Cuarteto Patria for a time. While with the group Segundo recorded the album Chanchaneando, which featured the original version of "Chan Chan."

A decade after their first meeting, Ochoa and Segundo famously reunited to perform the song as the opening track on the Grammy-winning Buena Vista Social Club. To that album Eliades also contributed lead vocals on "El Cuarto de Tula" and his own guajira showcase on "El Carretero." Since Buena Vista, he has recorded several fine albums under his own name, including Cubafrica (1998) with the great Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango, Sublime Ilusión (1999), Tributo a Cuarteto Patria (2000), and Estoy Como Nunca (2002). He continues to lead Grupo Patria and tours regularly around the world.

---

TOUMANI DIABATÉ kora (born Bamako, Mali, 1965)
One of the most significant musicians in Africa, Toumani Diabaté is the leading exponent of the West African harp known as the kora. Born in Bamako, he inherited his musical gifts from a long family lineage of kora masters. A child prodigy, he recorded his debut album, Kaira, in London in 1986, at the age of 21. With his playing bass, rhythm, and solo simultaneously on the instrument's 21 strings, Kaira was the first ever album of solo kora music and the start of a remarkable international career.

As an innovative and experimental collaborator, Diabaté recorded the two acclaimed Songhai fusion albums with the Spanish flamenco group Ketama and has worked with Damon Albarn, Björk, and the London Symphony Orchestra. His collaboration with Taj Mahal on 1999's Kulanjan explored the connections between West African music and the blues and was cited by Barack Obama as his favorite album during the 2008 Presidential election campaign.

In the more traditional vein, Diabaté has recorded widely with most of the greatest names in Malian music, both on his own albums and as a guest on releases by singers such as Salif Keita and Kasse Mady Diabaté. In recent years, he has recorded a series of thrillingly diverse releases for World Circuit/Nonesuch, including two albums of kora-guitar duets with Ali Farka Touré, including the Grammy-winning In the Heart of the Moon (2004), Boulevard de l'Indépendance (2005) with his groundbreaking Symmetric Orchestra, and the acoustic solo kora collection The Mandé Variations (2008).

---

BASSEKOU KOUYATE ngoni (born Garana, Mali, 1966)
Descended from a long line of griots, Bassekou Kouyate was born in the Segu region of Mali, where his mother was a famous singer and his father was a celebrated player of the ngoni ba (banjo-like lute) on the local wedding party circuit. At the age of 16, Bassekou took his father's place, and by the end of the 1980s he had joined Toumani Diabaté's Symmetric Orchestra.

Since then, Kouyate has revolutionized the playing of the ngoni, adding extra strings to give him a wider melodic range and inventing new plucking methods to allow faster runs and more versatility. He also became the first ngoni player to use the instrument like a guitar, performing on his feet, instead of in the traditional seated position. As an accompanist, he went on to record with a wide variety of performers, including Taj Mahal and Ali Farka Touré, before forming the ngoni quartet Ngoni Ba and making his debut as a band leader on Segu Blue, which won the 2007 BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music as Best Album. He followed it in 2009 with a second album, I Speak Fula.

---

KASSÉ MADY DIABATÉ vocals (born Kangaba, Mali, 1949)
The veteran griot singer Kasse Mady Diabaté began performing with the Super Mandé orchestra in his early 20s. He went on to become lead vocalist with Las Maravillas de Mali (later known as National Badema du Mali), a band famous for reworking traditional Mandé songs into a Cuban dance-band format. He recorded his debut solo album, Fode, in Paris, in 1989. An electric, dance-based recording produced by Ibrahima Sylla, Fode was followed a year later with a contrasting album of acoustic griot songs, Kela Tradition (1990). Kasse Mady Diabaté also sang on the fusion album Songhai 2 (1995) with Ketama and Toumani Diabaté.

After a decade in Paris, he returned to Mali in 1998 and joined Taj Mahal, Toumani Diabaté, and Bassekou Kouyate on the recording of Kulanjan and became lead vocalist with Toumani's Symmetric Orchestra on the 2006 album Boulevard de l'Indépendance. AfroCubism is not the first time he has worked with Cuban musicians, for the late Buena Vista Social Club star Cachaíto López guested on his 2003 solo album, Kassi Kasse. His solo album Manden Djeli Kan appeared in 2009.

---

DJELIMADY TOUNKARA guitars, (born Kita, Mali, in 1947)
Arguably the finest guitarist in Africa, Djelimady Tounkara was born Kita and grew up playing drums and the xalam (lute). His parents wanted him to become an Islamic cleric but the plan was abandoned as soon as he saw and heard his first guitar. After early success playing in the Kita regional band, by the mid-1960s he had moved to Bamako, where he joined Misra Jazz, before he was promoted to join the state-sponsored Orchestre National as rhythm guitarist.

After the orchestra was disbanded, Tounkara joined the now legendary Rail Band on its formation in 1970, playing at the Buffet Hotel de la Gare, next to Bamako's train station, in a line up that included the singers Salif Keita and Mory Kante. He remained the Rail Band's arranger and lead guitarist throughout its glory years and in its later revival as the Super Rail Band, and continues to perform with them in Bamako to this day. In addition to appearing on all the Rail Band's recordings, he has also released the solo acoustic albums Sigui (2001) and Solon Kono (2006), as well as Big String Theory (2002) with his trio Bajourou.

---

FODE LASSANA DIABATÉ balafon (born Conakry, Guinea, 1971)
Born in Guinea into a family of virtuoso balafon players, Lassana Diabaté moved as a young man to Bamako in the early 1990s. He has since become fêted as Mali's most gifted player of the 22-key xylophone of the Mandé griots, appearing on albums by Salif Keita, Bassekou Kouyate, and Kasse Mady Diabaté, among others, and has been a long-standing member of Toumani Diabaté's Symmetric Orchestra. He also played on Kulanjan, Toumani's celebrated collaboration with the American bluesman Taj Mahal.

An innovator on his instrument, on AfroCubism, he can be heard playing two balafons tuned a semi-tone apart, extending the harmonic range of what is a fixed pitch instrument and allowing greater scope for improvisation.
Like my Facebook Page, Post your video on my Wall or post your Photos of great blues events! Share your favorite posting and get more exposure for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Carlos Del Junco


It's probably a good thing Carlos wasn't there when the harmonica appeared in North America in the 1860s. Neil Young and Bob Dylan can probably roll with it when he says they are very mediocre harmonica players. Aspiring harmonica players Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid might have overreacted and pulled out their pistols...

Carlos is one of those players whose music is so advanced that when it comes to awards, it's either retire the category or rephrase the question to "Best Harmonica Player Not Named Carlos". This includes two Gold Medals from the Hohner World Harmonica Championship in Trossingen, Germany, as well as multiple national awards in Canada.

To say he plays the harmonica is like saying "Jimi Hendrix plays guitar". He blows the blues harp through a prism -- suddenly it seems he's holding every color in the musical rainbow right there in his hands.

Simultaneously sophisticated and raw, his playing blurs the boundaries between blues and jazz (hence the name for his band “The Blues Mongrels”). The emphasis is on blues, but Carlos and his band are not afraid to merrily traipse off in other directions delivering a seamless fusion of New Orleans second line grooves, swing, Latin, hip-hop or ska melodies, to swampy roots rock.

Born in Havana, Cuba, del Junco (loosely translated "of the reeds") immigrated with his family at the age of one. He bent his first note on a harmonica when he was fourteen, making his debut with his high school math teacher at a student talent night. In his early 20's del Junco was immersed in a visual arts career; he graduated with honours from a four year programme, majoring in sculpture ( click here to see photos ) at the Ontario College of Art. Sculpture has definitely had an influence on his outlook on music: "Music is just a different way of creating textures and shapes."

Playing a ten hole diatonic harmonica, Carlos has developed the unique ability to play chromatically by using a recently developed "overblow" technique taught to him by jazz virtuoso Howard Levy. Overall, this approach to the diatonic harmonica, although much more difficult to achieve, is in many ways more expressive and communicative than the mechanized tone produced by the chromatic harmonica . Carlos is one of the few pioneers of this overblow method, bringing musical credibility to what has still been considered by many in the music industry - a fringe folk instrument. The sophisticated sound produced by del Junco is at once sensitive, soulful, and sexy while never forgetting the rawness inherent in blues music.

During the 80's del Junco performed with many bands including Latin/reggae/r&b band "Eyelevel", "Ontario College of Art Swing Band" with Bill Grove and he had a 6 year stint with rhythm and blues group "The Buzz Upshaw Band". With Kevin Cooke in 1990 he formed a blues/jazz/fusion band, "The Delcomos". He has recorded with Bruce Cockburn, Kim Mitchell, Cassandra Vassick, Oliver Schroer, Zappacosta, and has also worked with Dutch Mason, Hoc Walsh (Downchild Blues Band) and Holly Cole.

In 1991 del Junco performed and composed the music for Tomson Highway's Dora award winning play Dry Lips Oughta Move To Kapuskasing. The production toured Canada and was held over for seven weeks at Toronto's Royal Alex Theatre.

In 1993 Carlos del Junco won two gold medals at the Hohner World Harmonica Championship held in Trossingen, Germany. He was judged world's best in both the diatonic blues category and the diatonic jazz category.

With the late Bill Kinnear, Carlos del Junco released his first CD, Blues on independent label, Big Reed Records in November 1993. The rich collection of blues classics was a collaborative effort with Kinnear playing acoustic and dobro guitars and handling lead vocals. Five out of six reviewers in the Toronto Blues Society, selected Blues for their top ten releases of 1993.

In March/April 1995 del Junco travelled to Chicago with a Canada Council grant to study with Howard Levy. This year saw the release of of the critically acclaimed Just Your Fool a sizzling live session with Kevin Breit on guitar, Al Duffy on bass, and Geoff Arsenault on drums. It was this CD and the collaborative effort with Thom "Champagne Charlie" Roberts Big Road Blues,that won Carlos the 1996 Blues Musician Of The Year Award...

...del Junco continues to produce an eclectic palette of music on Mongrel Mash, his 6th recording in a band setting on the BIG REED RECORD label. It features an energetic set with 3 straight up blues numbers and his usual hybrids of fun and quirky roots influenced instrumentals. This is an "almost live" CD that lets the band stretch out as they would in front of a live audience. Some jaw dropping harmonica work from Carlos. Remarkable guitar work by Kevin Breit, one of the most sought-after session players in Canada and now in the U.S. thanks in large part to his work with Norah Jones and Cassandra Wilson, adds beautiful textures to the 9 track collection.

Carlos has toured Canada regularly since 1996 and tours often in Germany and the United States. He has played all the major jazz, blues, and folk festivals across Canada.
Get Facebook support for your favorite band or venue - click Here