P>Listening to Hot Summer Music
is akin to going to bed at night and waking up in harmonica heaven. On a couple of summer evenings in Minneapolis a conclave of nine harmonica players, dubbed the Global Harmonica Summit, gathered together with a group of good jazz players for a rip-roaring session of hot jazz music peppered with funk and R & B.
The organ, traditionally the harmonica's favorite playmate, is featured on some tracks. It turns out that this was to be the late Brother Jack McDuff's last recording. He and Howard Levy team up on an up tempo, well improvised, "There Will Never Be Another You". Another veteran of jazz and R & B, drummer Bernard Purdie helps Rob Paparozzi lay out on an impressive rendition of "You Better Watch Yourself". Not only does Paparozzi excel with the mouth organ, but he sings a couple of choruses. Running right along side is the twanging guitar of John Penny and Howard Levy, this time on B3 organ. Levy is a virtuoso who happens to be a harmonica player as he demonstrates on "The Masquerade Is Over". There are some tracks where the harmonica players get a rest and one turns out to be another winner. The oft recorded "Lover Man" is given modern treatment by the sax of Eddie Berger and Gene Adam's trumpet with Penny's blues guitar getting significant solo time. Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell for You" gets as soulful a rendition as one will hear by vocalist Ginger Commodore.
Don't be confused by designations like harp and keys. They are really harmonicas, For example, Sean Turner's keys D is a double sided harmonica tuned in the key of D. Exhilarated by the enthusiasm of the audience, the performance is inspired and fun. Luckily Summit Records saw fit to capture it on tape and release it as a CD. Recommended.