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Gindick is also a blues guitarist and singer. Jon studied trombone in elementary school, and started playing guitar at the age of Influenced by The Beatles, he started playing harmonica at the age of Influenced by Dylan, he began playing harp and guitar at the same time, and writing songs, in the late sixties.
While getting his degrees in Sociology and Psychology and at UC Berkeley, Jon really majored in playing folk and blues harmonica and guitar on Sproul Plaza, the center of campus street fair scene.
To Jon, it was a musical paradise, moving from group to group with his bag of harmonicas and guitar, getting introduced to the real folk and blues for the very first time. When Jon graduated from college, he worked in the fields and packing houses of California, loading box cars, and sometimes sleeping in them.
He wrote short stories, novels, trying to find himself as a writer, but finding greater creative outlet in music-making. Over time he developed an easy system for understanding how to improvise. While Jon never gave up control of his properties, he did create a book, audio and harmonica kit in this case a Pocket Pal harmonica.
This book, Country and Blues Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless, made Jon one of the best-selling musicial instruction authors of all times. I have always been a player, not content with just listening. So to me, the blues has always been a challenge, a "practice", something to get better at, something to understand and teach, and to feel from the inside out. It demanded wild aggressive freedom to improvise, but it also required extreme sensitivity to adjust, stop on a dime, make sense of a chord change, figure out a melody, to arrange your part on the fly.
As I dropped my shell and started to play with others, the Blues became a clarion call to courage, to step out, to perform, to organize events, to travel through life as a musician and bluesman.
What were the reasons that you started Sociology and Psychology studies? Because I am interested in understanding and motivating people, and skillful with language and ideas. I understand the value and impact of small groups and love to run them — in my case harmonica learning groups.
Also helped me to understand how people learn, how they learn music, and the arts of persuasion. How do you describe Jon Gindick sound and progress, what characterize your music philosophy? So right away, the chord structure of my sound is not going to sound like typical blues.
My harp playing is bluesy, and also melodic and clean, emphasizing expression over pyro techniques. I lip block and tongue block, occasionally overblow, and play pretty fluently in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 12th positions.
I love playing with bands, either leading, or sideman--but my real deal is harp and guitar at the same time-- with vocals. This lets really lets Jon be Jon. I have been playing rack harp for 50 years now. My guitar playing is still a work in progress. The last components of my sound are my lyrics and songs and singing voice. Your fullness is the essence of what you do. My music philosophy is to keep it simple, universal, and new. A bluesy paperback of harmonica short stories about love and life in the deep places of the soul.
Where does your creative drive come from? Ask my shrink! I have my own way of learning, my own way of teaching, my own way of playing, my own way of living. Just riding a 70 year lucky streak… What would you say characterizes new recording in comparison to your previous albums? I went into the recording studio with a lot more confidence. By now, Ralph Carter and I had played together for hundreds of hours and developed a great friendship. Just the three of us, with Ralph bass and keys.
But then we fought in Franck, and he knocked it out of the park. The side of life that happens when the sun goes down…that Tom Waits feeling…a particular kind of lonely soulfulness What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your paths in music circuits?
The more you do it, the better you get. Simplicity that works is brilliant. Reach out to others for help in music and gigs. Everyone needs encouragement.
Give it and get it. In their defense, assholes usually have the blues. Learn to sing. Write in pictures, in the senses. Avoid writing long-assed songs. Play to the groove, and make the groove strong. The time for copying is over. You can make more money teaching than performing.
Some people define specific music as three or less chords with flatted 7ths, 3rds 5ths etc. Some people use it to describe sadness. Depression is a disease. Back to the music: To me blues a word that anyone can use however they want.
It has about 7 chords that must be played in precise timing with the melody, plus an extraordinary one of a kind bridge. I say its one of the best blues songs of all time. By the way, I can list several best blues songs of all time. So, the answer is: the blues is whatever you want it to be. And probably get in a lot of stupid arguments. Advice to new generation: stay off sugar, wheat, and any alcohol except red wine.
Pot is healthful in moderation. No matter what happens in your life, keep creating. A deep and varied collection of very good songs with driving harmonica, superb lyrics and complete instrumentation. Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? So many! Growing up, working in the packing houses, catching freight trains in the San Joaquin Valley, falling in love with Dylan, reading everyone from Tolstoy to Rilke, learning to play guitar and harp in college, deciding to be a writer in college, reading business self-help books, self-publishing my harmonica books and audio cassettes and selling over a million, starting Blues Harmonica Jam Camp in , hiring my wonderful harmonica-playing coaches to help me teach, meeting Ralph Carter who produced the album and played in many of the songs, coming from a wonderful supportive family, and of course having the stability and love of my wife, Karen.
She will tell me when something sucks. I once played a Stephen Foster medley for 5 thousand people with a 99 piece orchestra on the edge of a lake with fireworks being set off at the conclusion.
It was my 50th birthday, and in my hometown and all a coincidence that it happened in that way. How started the thought of seminars? Praying for a great idea because I was broke once the company that sold 1,, copies of my book over 20 years was sold. That was 12 years ago, and slowly the seminars have evolved into the deep experiences they have become.
We used to do them in typical airport hotels, now we do them at The Shack Up Inn. We have a core coaching team, great players and great friends, and band, and the best location in America for a blues seminar.
We have developed certain protocol, things that work. We have now done over 50 jam Camps! Just like a musician improves the longer he actively plays, so has Jam Camp! What has made you laugh lately and what touched emotionally you?
What are your hopes and fears for the future of? The last day of jam camp, when everyone presents a song, even the beginners, is an incredible emotional experience. Watching people joyfully face their demons, present songs they have written, sing on stage for the very first time, take tentative harmonica solos in front of an audience of fellow music travelers.
Sometimes the lights go on stage. My greatest hope is that I miraculously start getting physically younger while retaining all of my long developed skills and wisdom. What is the impact of Blues, Jazz and Folk music to the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?
Everyone can and should play music. It makes racial, political and socio-cultural implications turn into forgetfulness, big smiles and good times. Musicians can and should promote their beliefs through fund raisers and contributions, and do good by bringing the learning of music to disadvantaged and anyone who needs it. I have started a program in Tutwiler, Mississippi that teaches music to the poor kids in that community. The cause is funded by musicians in honor of Sonny Boy Williamson.
Many musicians are involved in encouraging fans to make music. Do you know why the sound of harmonica is connected to the blues? What are the secrets of? These blue notes are the "falling tones" the griots used in story telling in Western Africa. This minor key slurring way of hitting notes from inside the body is old and new and completely unique in the world of music, except for singing.
But even a great vocalist cannot harmonize with himself; sing two notes at the same time, as can the harp player when he or she plays octaves.
Why did you think that the Blues music continues to generate such a devoted following?
Country & Blues Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless: Revised Book and 73-Minute CD
Country blues harmonica for the musically hopeless pdf