Best harmonica players...old and new

I would like to hear who @Luke considers to be some of the best harmonica players to listen to, but am also open to all opinions!

I’m looking for maybe top 10 harp players to listen to. Yes, there are the classic greats:
Paul Butterfield
Little Walter
Charlie Musselwhite
John Popper
Big Mama Thornton
Toots Thielemans
James Cotton
Sonny Boy Williamson II
Muddy Waters
John Lee Hooker
Alan Wilson
I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of greats of all time - let me know!

But, what I’m really looking for is TODAY’S GREAT harmonica players. Who are the best current, living, harmonica players that everyone should know and listen to? @Luke - who are the current masters that you look up to? Anyone and everyone is welcome to chime in, also!
I’ll start with a few I know of - please let me know your thoughts:
Lee Oskar - one of @Luke’s favs, yes?
Jason Ritchie
Will Wilde
Juzzie Smith - one man band
Indiara Sfair
Adam Gussow
Howard Levy
Carlos de Junco
Joe Falisko - @Luke - I believe you once said he’s “the foremost living authority on the harmonica”. Is that true?
Yuri Lane, Phil Henry and Moses Concas - beatbox harmonica

Who else am I missing? Either on the “oldies” list, or the “living” list? Anyone who definitely needs to be on my watchlist? Anyone on my lists that doesn’t belong?

2 Likes

Mmm very tricky. Looks like you’re already very well equipped to seek out good harp players. Each one has their own tricks or complex rifts they’ve mastered. It’s like comparing apples to cheese in my opinion. You see moments of greatness in random pieces played by some then you watch them play something else and you hate it. I might add Christelle Berthon. Living. David Bowie dead. Bowie because he gives it a go is pretty crap technically but pulls it off.

2 Likes

One player that should be right up on top is the fellow that played the dances With Wolves harp music, he died a few years ago but what a resume he has and player he was, I think his name is Tommy Tompson (sp ? ).

Scott

1 Like

Hello @Mystr_E,
first of all, welcome to our forum.

Fortunately, music preferences are different, including when it comes to playing the harp. In addition, there are global differences even across continents. In addition, one should not forget the age structures.

I like, among other things: Mr. Bloe :uk: with Mr. Bloe very good. For me one of the main reasons to learn to play the harp.

Regards from Germany from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:

2 Likes

Hey @Mystr_E - welcome to the forum my friend! I LOVE this thread topic. WONDERFUL. Thank you! :facepunch:t3:

Here are a few newer albums I discovered in 2023 and LOVED:

  • Yes you are correct I love Lee Oskar and his recent album “She Said Mahalo” is no exception. A couple of my favorite tracks on the album are “Most Favored Nation” and especially “Funky Rhetoric”

  • Carlos Del Junco Band “Just Your Fool” released in 2017, I first heard it last year, and it’s my favorite of Carlos’ discography. The guitar player is a total shredder and shines just as much as Carlos does on harp.

  • Roots Duo (Joe Filisko & Eric Noden) Destination Unknown released in 2018. Yes I consider Joe Filisko to be a foremost expert on the instrument, and I don’t think you’d find many pro’s who’d squabble with me on that. He’s so humble and understated not flashy at all - but he’s a total expert, and especially on the old pre-war stuff. He’s all about tone and breathing, as he signs off on his emails: “aka the Chord Whisperer.”

  • Roly Platt “Inside Out” album is FANTASTIC. The Canadian released this debut album in 2014. I just discovered it last year. My favorite version of Over the Rainbow, and lots of cool funk. You’ve gotta buy the CD from his website though.
    Inside Out | Roly Platt

  • Todd Parrott “Songs from the Harp” another album I just discovered last year. From North Carolina, there are aspects of the production that I’m not in love with (a bit clean for my taste), but his blazing gospel riffs and soulful use of overblown are second to none in my opinion. Meeting Todd changed my life. This is another one you have to buy the CD: MUSIC

  • Grant Dermody is a New Orleans player I met a SPAH and found his tone absolutely gorgeous. I like his 2022 release “Digging in John’s Backyard” which you can check out on streaming services.

  • Jerry Fierro originally from Long Island resides in Florida and his group Mudbone has a live record “Live at the Dogtooth” that I listened to on repeat in my car in 2023 for about 3 months. I LOVE THIS ALBUM!!! The musicianship of ALL the musicians is so high. Very funky, which is my wheelhouse. Another one where you gotta buy the CD though: https://jerryfierro8.wixsite.com/mysite-1/music

So those were my happy discoveries last year, and I hope you check some of them out and love them! Rock on! :sunglasses:

Oh the other player I listened to a ton last year who is I think one of the best alive is Buddy Greene. I’m making a Spotify Playlist of my favorite harmonica songs of his, and I’ll come back to this thread and post it when it’s done. :call_me_hand:t3:

2 Likes