Franz Chmel, harmonica

Posted by: Bech

Franz Chmel, harmonica - 01/08/11 12:52 AM

Franz Chmel is probably the greatest chromatic harmonica player in the world.

Some of you may not know exactly what a chromatic harmonica is. It's the one with the "button" on the end you push in and out for sharps and flats. Any kind of music can be played on it. The diatonic harmonica is the one, without a "button", you see most blues players playing.

You can see him playing Zigeunerweisen on YouTube. He also plays other pieces.

Larry Adler was probably the most famous chromatic harmonica player in the world but Chmel is much more accomplished.

While at YouTube check-out violinist Sarah Chang's performance of Zigeunerweisen. She's great, lovely personality.

Bech
Posted by: Bech

Re: Franz Chmel, harmonica - 02/26/11 04:45 PM

I left out several harmonica players (harmonicists) in my previous post.

Rudy Hung--mostly classical and several performances on YouTube. He has an unusual vibrato but I think you can see how the chromatic harmonica qualifies as a serious instrument through his playing.

Chamber Huang. I believe he's deceased but he was a well-known classical player and did well with his harmonica manufacturing business.

Charles Leighton. A pop/jazz chromatic harmonica player and my very favorite. He really made it sing. I have his only CD titled "Angle Eyes." I see Amazon lists it as unavailable but a used copy could probably be found.

Robert Bonfiglio. Very accomplished and from classical to blues.

Tommy Reilly. Some classical and also pop/jazz.

Toots Thielemans. Jazz. Big reputation. Also plays guitar.

I know of a couple of jazz pianists who also play the chromatic harmonica. Something some of you pianists might consider for a nice musical diversion.

It's a shame that the chromatic harmonica is not considered a serious instrument by most people and much of that has to do with so many players making it sound like a toy or worse. Even the little diatonic harmonica is wonderful when played by a skilled player and one of the prettiest tunes for it is Shenandoah.

Hard to imagine but there are a couple of high-end chromatic harmonicas that sell for 5-6,000 dollars.

Bech