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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!

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Showing posts with label J.J. Milteau. Show all posts
Showing posts with label J.J. Milteau. Show all posts

Monday, November 20, 2023

Borealis Records artist: Michael Jerome Browne - Gettin' Together - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Gettin' Together, by Michael Jerome Browne and it's a full plate of authentic blues, performed as written. Opening with Mississippi John Hurt's, Monday Morning Blues, Michael Jerome Browne on vocal and 12 string shows a true understanding of the original music with his articulate picking pattern and vocals, joined by Harrison Kennedy on vocal and harmonica. Excellent opener. Delmore Brothers' I've Got The Big River Blues is a terrific track with MJB on guitar and Mary Flower on lap slide guitar. Really nice. Mississippi born Rube Lacy penned Ham Hound Crave and MJB and guitar wiz Colin Linden really bring this track to life. On Bukka White's (BB King's cousin, Booker T. Washington) Fixin' To Die Blues was reimagined as a mountain duet featuring MJB on vocal and gourd banjo and Teilhard Frost on fiddle. This is a great track and it's hard to imagine it any other way. Slow blues, Black Boy Shine's, Married Man Blues, has terrific vocal phrasing and 12 string by MJB, accompanied by Mary Flower on lap slide. Wrapping the release is Brownie McGhee's up tempo, Living With The Blues, with lively vocals and 12 string by MJB, joined by John Sebastian on harmonica, Happy Traum on lead guitar and John McColgan on washboard. This is a great closer, noted as learned from Penny Lang. 

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Instrumental - J.J. Milteau

Listening to one of Sonny Terry’s albums touched Jean-Jacques Milteau to the core, although he did confess, “I’d already heard a bit of harmonica...”. So we can just imagine this young Parisian born in 1950 and living in the 13th arrondissement, not far from the Porte d’Italie, and how his childhood and youth must have been lulled by one of the chromatic instruments of someone like Albert Raisner. The latter, once past the golden age of his second trio (i.e. 1947 – 1953) had now become a radio and TV star, and had been broadcasting bravura pieces such as Le Canari since 1959. Or maybe Milteau, like most of his fellow-countrymen, didn’t even know Jean Wetzel’s name but been nourished, perhaps even to excess, on his mouth organ – Jean was that enigmatic performer (1954) of Jean Wiener’s theme specially composed for the film Touchez Pas Au Grisbi. Here indeed was stuff to render the ears of a young man more sensitive, forge them even, but from there to inspiring a true vocation, there’s a whole world ! And that world is the Blues. We can imagine Jean-Jacques Milteau much more sensitive to the You’re No Good that opens Bob Dylan’s first revolutionary album (March 1962) – and what do you bet he used to listen over and over again to the new Dylan version of the famous Freight Train Blues ? Then in October 62, Milteau fell under the spell of The Beatles’ first single Love Me Do, a Paul McCartney composition given extra polish by John Lennon with a riff on harmonica inspired by Delbert McClinton (who’d recently scored a hit with Hey Baby ! by Texan Bruce Channel [February 62]). Like most of his contemporaries, he only discovered recordings made by Cyril Davis and Paul Butterfield much later, yet as early as 1963, they were taking up position as real ambassadors for the instrument. But in February 1964, one thing our hero didn’t miss was the Rolling Stones’ first single, Not Fade Away, suffused from beginning to end with Brian Jones’ flaming harmonica, true to his own nature. “I bought a harmonica because there was some kind of rock-folk fashion at the time on the part of blokes like Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Donovan, John Mayall...” John Mayall was on the scene from 66 and before that, in 1965, there’d been Sonny Terry and his breathtaking Lost John. From that moment on, this was the music, with that special sound, that form of expression that by common accord “could only come from the blues”. That title comes from a 1954 Folkways recording ; the label founded by Moses Asch in 1948 proposed recordings by the heroes of the folk scene at the same time – people such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Dave Van Ronck (all Bob Dylan’s idols)... and some survivors of the golden age of Country Blues such as Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Willie Johnson, Brownie McGhee, Jazz Gillum, LeadBelly, Josh White, Big Joe Williams, Reverend Gary Davis... Outside the USA the label was distributed by Le Chant du Monde – and this would be Jean- Jacque Milteau’s first producer. Surprisingly enough, the harmonica was put aside or remained unknown to all those who took part in the Rock ‘n Roll revolution started by Elvis Presley, with one noteworthy exception : Bo Diddley, who took Billy Boy Arnold on board, whose incisive and decisive style on (most notably) Bring It To Jerome, Diddley Daddy and Pretty Thing struck home. When a so-called rocker wants a “blower” with him, he ‘s usually more likely to take a saxophone ! So it’s not the least of the merits we can credit Dylan with, as we can many of the early idols of English pop, who all worshipped the likes of Presley, Cochran, Berry, Holly and Jerry Lee, but didn’t forget to bring their other heroes lurking in the shadows to our attention too – Sonny Boy Williamson, for example (the real one, n° 1, John Lee Curtis d. 1948 and the fake, n° 2, Rice Miller), Bill Jazz Gillum, Howlin’ Wolf, Peg Leg Sam, Sonny Terry, Walter Horton, Slim Harpo, Jimmy Reed, Little Walter, Junior Wells, James Cotton... Like Bob Dylan, Brian Jones, Keith Relf, Cyril Davis, Paul Jones, John Mayall in England, Don Van Vliet and Alan Wilson in the USA, were all hammering out the same message through their records, and the Rolling Stones’ first album was typical of what groups such as the Pretty Things, the Yardbirds, The Blues Incorporated, Manfred Mann and so many others were doing at the time... Some famous names and titles are recalled or evoked on their albums : Little Walter, I Just Want To Make Love To You (a Willie Dixon theme first sung alongside Muddy Waters in 54) ; Jimmy Reed Honest I Do ; Billy Boy Arnold Mona – I Need You Baby (by and with Bo Diddley) ; James Moore (ex Harmonica Slim) alias Slim Harpo I’m A King Bee. Jean- Jacques Milteau received the message loud and clear and, fired with delight and passion, he took a new, exciting turn to set him on his personal “road to Damascus”. Soon he knew before many others who DeFord Bailey, Jaybird Coleman and Noah Lewis were... His first harmonica cost him the small fortune of 8.50 FF. No question of lessons or teaching ; like the Jew’s harp, the harmonica always responds to self-teaching. Jean-Jacques Milteau concluded his autodidactic period in autumn 1970 by taking a trip to the USA. This immersion in the home of the blues allowed him to drink at the source and tap into the true roots of this music that was his personal obsession. He got to know of contemporaries who were already fine marksmen on the scene : Charles Musselwhite who’d been recording since 67, and Carey Bell, since 69. There was also talk about a certain Charlie McCoy in Nashville working as a sideman since 61 under Chet Atkins’ leadership, though he’d recorded a promising first album in his own name in 1967. Once back home, Milteau was aware he was ready to start a professional career, though for the moment he lived off odd jobs (some say he was a cook and a record dealer !). “It was pure chance, I was playing for sheer pleasure. Certain people needed what I could do and I happened to meet them”. (Standing at the crossroads bending on his knees ? History doesn’t tell us). For the moment, one day in 1977, our humble servant met Eddie Mitchell just back from Nashville, where, incidentally Charlie McCoy had become the star not to be missed on any account. In Milteau, Monsieur Eddy found his own McCoy ; it turned into an adventure that lasted till 1987. “I was playing with Eddy Mitchell in the late seventies. He’d had Charlie McCoy come to the Palais des Congrès and we’d played some harmonica duets. I still considered myself a beginner at the time and for me this was hugely exciting.” Jean-Jacques’ fate was sealed, whether he liked it or not, and from now on he was a professional musician. The offers of jobs weren’t in short supply – concerts, music for advertising, film scores, recording sessions all lined up. In France it was clear as spring water for everyone – he was the one and only ! Recently a commentator called our attention to the fact that it would be easier to list the artists Milteau hasn’t accompanied than try and draw up a list of those he has. In 1973 his first recording for Le Chant du Monde was released, an album devoted to the harmonica in the Instrumental Special series. Then Blues Harp was released in 1980 and Just Kiddin’ in 1983. (The Blues Harp CD released in 1989 brings together pieces selected from both these albums). In 1991 Explorer does as it names suggests, going into all the potential areas for diatonic accordion except the blues. The following year Jean-Jacques Milteau was awarded a Victoire de la Musique (national music awards) for this same album. Meantime, he went on to record another album in 1992 with the Grand Blues Band before appearing as first part of Michel Jonasz’s and Eddy Mitchell’s shows. He was a member of the Enfoirés collective for the show Regarde les riches ! [Look At The Rich !], staged at the Garnier Opera House in Paris. His next album Live (1993) is evidence of his intense work for stage and theatre. In 1994, again with the Enfoirés, he went onstage at the Grand Rex with Eddy Mitchell, Paul Personne and Renaud for the show La route de Memphis [The Road To Memphis]. In 1995 he added texts to of 15 of his own compositions (sometimes penned jointly with Jean-Yves D’Angelo or Manu Galvin) for another album Routes. Then in 1996 came the deliberately chanson-oriented Merci d’être venus ; many of the guest stars here had once been his boss - Francis Cabrel, Maxime Leforestier, Charles Aznavour, Florent Pagny, Eddy Mitchell, Richard Bohringer, Michel Jonasz and Claude Nougaro. In 1997 he worked with the organisation Enfance et Musique by leading a workshop for sick children at the Bullion Rehabilitation Centre in the Yvelines. His assistant on this project was one of his pupils and another harmonica player, Greg Szlapczynski. 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”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jack The Man - J.J. Milteau, Demi Evans and Manu Galvin

Jean-Jacques Milteau (born 17 April 1950 in Paris) is a French blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter.
Milteau became interested in the harmonica when he first heard folk and rock music (such as Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones) in the 1960s. He played with French singers like Yves Montand, Eddy Mitchell, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Maxime Le Forestier, Barbara, and Charles Aznavour in various styles, from blues to jazz. In 1989, he recorded his first solo album, Blues Harp, and toured the world with Manu Galvin at the guitar and with guest musicians like Mighty Mo Rodgers and Demi Evans. He has authored methods for learning the harmonica
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