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Welcome to ‘Harmonica Riff’

Harmonica RiffThis site explores the possibilities and pleasures of jamming on the diatonic harmonica. I have been playing the diatonic harmonica since I was 14 years of age. My father first taught me the basics, by showing me how to get the basic notes of do re mi fa so la ti do in order to play South African folk songs like SARIE MARAIS. I discovered that once the basic technique was mastered of producing whole notes or chords under control you had at your disposal a compact and extremely portable instrument which you could use with the same dexterity as the human voice.

Once I had discovered how to play harmonies in first or second position I was on a roll. I soon was playing in bands and ultimately formed my own band ‘Blue And Beyond‘. Even though I play guitar the harmonica is definitely my first instrument. What ‘Harmonica Riff’ aims to do is reel in the wealth of material out on the internet and organise it into logical steps, so that anyone can enjoy jamming for pleasure to their favourite bands while improving their playing. There is a wealth of material already out there on explicit technique, but since the harmonica sounds different from player to player, I believe it is more important to show and develop your own style rather than desparately trying to carbon copy the great players.

John Tribe

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  • Short Break
    Just a head's up that I'll be out of town the next couple of weeks so there will be no new shows. We will be running some older shows those weeks so tune in live or to the stream. Also make sure to listen to the new  “Jazz90.1 Swing & Blues” stream (see the previous […]
  • Jazz90.1 to Launch New Blues and Big Band Station
    Jazz90.1 WGMC-FM is pleased to announce they will launch a brand new internet radio station beginning this summer. The new stream, “Jazz90.1 Swing & Blues”, will feature 108 hours of classic and new blues music each week from 6 a.m. Monday – 6 p.m. Friday, and big band music all weekend long from 6 p.m. […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 7/17/16: Honkin' Sax From L.A. Pt. 1- Maxwell Davis
    Show Notes: Today's show is inspired by Wailin' Daddy: The Best of Maxwell Davis 1945-1959 a great 3-CD compiled by Dave Penny for the Fantastic Voyage label a few years back. Several other sax themed shows will follow in upcoming weeks. Unsung hero is term often thrown around but in cases like Maxwell Davis it […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 7/10/16: Mix Show & More
    Show Notes: Read Liner Notes Today's show opens with several songs by Buster Bennett and Sax Mallard I didn't get to on the last show due to the station's coverage of the Rochester Jazz Festival. Both sax men were much in demand in the 30's and 40's. Bennett made his debut in 1938 and his […]
  • Big Road Blues Show 6/26/16: Chicago Killers Pt. 6 – Buster Bennett & Sax Mallard
    ***Due to the Rochester Jazz Festival, today's show is shorter than usual. We'll be playing some of things we didn't get to next week*** Show Notes: As writer Mike Rowe notes "it was a white businessman, Lester Melrose, who was really responsible for shaping the Chicago sound of the late 30's and 40's." From March […]