Who Needs a Singer? When You Play Harmonica Like Bob Corritore, You Don't

Categories: Blues

Dave Blake
Bob Corritore

Bob Corritore's new CD Taboo, which was released earlier this year, is unique. Why? The master harp-player's album is all-harmonica. Not a single voice appears anywhere on the album. In place of vocals are the sounds of Corritore's harmonicas.

Corritore has a harmonica style unlike anybody else in the world. That is why he plays all over the world and is rated among the best blues harmonica players in the world.

"Everybody can come up with something that's their own. I use my secret agent stuff on this CD. That's what you do for yourself. In the studio, you take a little more chance because if it's going in the wrong direction you can stop," he says. "The magic of this CD is that it's different than anything else."

Corritore surrounds himself with other great musicians, and while this instrumental CD allows him to focus on the harmonica there are many other great musicians who join him on the CD.

Corritore, who lives in Scottsdale, has made a career of partnering with blues vocalists. He just got back from a Chicago tour where he did several gigs with Dave Riley. So the Taboo CD gave Corritore the chance to put the focus more on his harmonica playing.

"After all the musicians I've worked with, it's great to let the harmonica do the talking. I was inspired to do this CD by Fred Kaplan and Junior Watson, so I started talking to them about it and they were receptive," Corritore says.

So Kaplan and Watson ended up on the CD along with an all-star lineup of musicians.

"I have such respect for those musicians that I wanted to be on my A-game," Corritore says. "I've been a fan and a friend of those artists for years. The theory that I envisioned worked out in practice. It was great fun making this CD. They took my rough concepts and made it work."

When Corritore, who was recently nominated for another Living Blues Award, took the harmonica instrumental proposal to Randy Chortkoff at Delta Groove Records he wasn't sure how Chortkoff would respond. Chortkoff loved the idea and couldn't stop listening to "Taboo" once the CD came out. He's not alone, as Taboo has been ranked fourth on the Living Blues charts and has received strong reviews almost universally.

"I'm blessed to be in a world that accepts me, especially with this CD that goes into uncharted territory," he said.

Kaplan plays piano or organ on nine of the 12 tracks.

Ivan Marcio

"Fred is a genius," Corritore says. "He knows what it takes to make a piano sound good. He just plays along with the song except when he does a solo and then he shines."

Watson plays guitar also on nine of the 12 tracks.

"Junior inspires with his ideas on the guitar. He has a rare gift where he can play humor in one moment and sadness in the next. His inventiveness never stops. I look forward to his solos because I don't know what he's going to come up with, but I know it's going to be good," Corritore says.

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Will Passinault
Will Passinault

I remember his radio blues show in Phoenix in the 80's

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