Hello harmonica Lovers!
If you want a harmonica masterclass then you need to read this post!
I’m going to talking about “James Whiting” more formally known in the harmonica world as “Sugar Blue” born Dec.16th 1949′ in Harlem New York City, he got the name Sugar Blue leaving a concert by “Doc Watson” he found a old box of 78s someone thru out shuffling through the box he came across one by Sidney Blechet that was called “Sugar Blues” he immediately shortened the Blues to just “Blue” and said that’s it! I’ll call myself “Sugar Blue” that was a name that hadn’t been used by any blues harmonica players yet all the good nicknames were already taken. Blue grew up in Harlem New York City, his mother was a singer/dancer at the Apollo Theatre being that she was in the show business Sugar Blue was exposed to a lot of great musicians like Billie Holiday for example and other musicians. Sugar Blues Aunt gave him his first harmonica he would play along with the radio so he could learn from greats like Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan to mention a couple. After a while “Sugar Blue” Went by just “Blue” but still uses “Sugar Blue” when he performs he began playing as a street musician in Harlem his first recording was with the great “Brownie McGhee” in 1975.’
Blue met the “Rolling Stones” in France where he became their studio musician and is hear on several of the Stones songs. He has also performed live with the “Rolling Stones” and was offered a permanent position as their harmonica player but he turned it down to pursue his dreams and goals of his own band.
Blue decided to go back home even though he was sought after as a session player buy a lot of great musicians. He then decided to go to Chicago and ended up sitting in with all the masters of the blues harmonica players like James Cotton, Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells and Carey Bell. Blue toured for 2 years with his friend and mentor “Willie Dixon” in a band called the “Chicago Blues All Stars.” Then Blue put his own band together in 1983′ called “Blue’s Star” he received a Grammy Award in 1985′ on Atlantic Records for his music.
Blue has performed at many festivals with artist like B.B.King and Muddy Waters he also pursued Television and Movies which he is featured on both and has performed with Ray Charles, Fats Domino and even Jerry Lee Lewis such a diversity of talent that Blue performed with. Blue has traveled all over the world playing at festivals in USA, Africa, Montreal and Europe.
Sugar Blue has learned to play with a singular note style soulfully with bends and shakes and precision technique that sets him apart from other great harmonica players he is also known for his bandolero of harmonicas he wears when he performs and is featured here with “John Popper” who also has a bandolero of harmonicas who performs with his band the “Blues Travelers.” Sugar Blue has an amazing soulful voice when he sings but his unbelievable harmonica playing overshadows it.
Here’s a video of “Sugar Blue”
Have you ever heard of Sugar Blue?
Tell me what you think of Sugar Blue?
Do you know anyone else that plays like Sugar Blue does?
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