by Art M. Daane

The Sharp Harp originated from the Big Harp Harmonica Club in San Jose, California, when a few members of the club decided they would like more playing sessions than the club's monthly meetings afforded. The weekly Sharp Harp sessions were so enjoyable they often lasted all night, and eight very tired, but happy, harmonica players went directly from the session to their workplaces.
The fabulous harmonica ensemble known as the Sharp Harp was comprised of eight professional musicians; CHUCK FENDALL - RAY TANKERSLEY - TOM STRYKER - PETE BLASBERG - JIMMY KREUSER - BOB BERTHIAUME - ED MARSHALL - AL SMITH, who put aside their competitiveness and gathered weekly throughout the 1970s for the sheer pleasure of creating and enjoying the type of lush sounds presented in this recording. Each member of the Sharp Harp was a master harmonica player and an accomplished arranger. Consequently, the Sharp Harp music library expanded weekly with exciting new musical arrangements. While the group's preference leaned toward swing and light jazz, they also enjoyed playing classical and light rock, e.g. Ravel's "Bolero" and the overture from the rock opera, "Tommy."

The Quintet's personnel who created this "MAJOR HISTORICAL" album are as follows:

The ideal lead player for the Sharp Harp, Ray's dynamics and phrasing made him one of the finest lead players ever to grace the chromatic harmonica. He was adept on all harmonicas and excelled in playing the full range of polyphonias. Ray appeared in two movies with the Borrah Minevitch Harmonica Rascals.
In "Always In My Heart," he played bass harmonica and in "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp" he played chord rhythms on a handful of harmonicas.

An outstanding jazz harmonica player, Pete was raised in an orphanage where he learned to play the chromatic harmonica. He spent his early professional years with Carl Freed's Harmonica Lads which later became known as Senor Carlos and his Caballeros. Recently, Pete was a featured guest performer at the California Jazz Harmonica Festival.

An incredible chromatic player. Jimmy's technical ability on a chromatic harmonica is astounding. He is the type of player that can sight read Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with ease and expression. He began playing harmonicas at age thirteen as a student of Ray Tankersley and Bob Berthiaume. But Jimmy's musical genius would have emerged on any instrument.

An accomplished chord harmonica player and music arranger, Al has written more than thirty books of harmonica instructions and ensemble arrangements. He spent his early years with the Borrah Minevitch Harmonica Rascals followed by fifteen years with the Harmonica Express quartet.

Another accomplished all-round harmonicist is the bass player of the group. Judy currently performs with her husband, Al, as the Harmonica Hotshots. Together they have worked on Holland America cruise ships and the Delta Queen riverboats and conducted harmonica ensemble reading sessions at the annual SPAH conventions.

Track list:
1. Front Page
2. So Rare
3. A Foggy Day
4. Give My Regards to Broadway
5. I May Be Wrong
6. I'll See You In My Dreams
7. On The Sunny Side of the Street
8. Sweet Georgia Brown
9. I'm Putting all My Eggs in One Basket
10. My Wild Irish Rose
11. Bye Bye Blues
12. Darn That Dream
13. Jalousie
14. Time Was
15. Valse Bluette
16. Always In My Heart
17. Take The A Train
18. Here's That Rainy Day
19. Charmaine
20. Chelsea Bridge
21. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
22. Moonlight In Vermont
23. Moonlight Serenade
24. Shiny Stockings

Buy CD - $15.00 (includes shippning) directly from:
Al Smith:
2398 Southern Road
Ohio, 44286-9520
U. S. of America
Phone/Fax: ++1-(0)330-6596458

Contact Al: e-mail

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