Harmonica Almanac – September 1
A Jesuit missionary, Marin Mersenne was one of the very first Europeans to write about the free-reeded instruments that he heard being played in the Orient. Mersenne died on this day in 1648.
Chromatic harmonica soloist Alan “Blackie” Schackner was born on this day in 1917. Schnackner learned how to play the harmonica from his boyhood pal, Victor Pankowitz. He was playing professionally by the early 1930’s and was even featured in Ripley’s “Believe it or not” for being able to play the “Hora Staccatto” in 90 seconds.
Blues harmonica player Henry Strong had a short but notable career, playing in Muddy Waters’ band from 1952 until his death in 1954. Strong was born on this day in 1928.
Bluesman Raful Neal died on this day in 2004. Neal began playing the harmonica in 1950 and began recording as a solo artist in 1968. His first band included Buddy Guy on guitar. His son, Kenny Neal, carries on the family tradition as a Blues musician.
That’s it for today. Have fun and practice!