The evening started with a six-piece band playing some mundane music. A good lead guitar, sax, bass sax, bass guitar, and drums. Good stuff. Looked like an enjoyable evening. Then Paul Oscher got on board and began playing the harp B mouth harp/ mouth organ/ harmonica. Make that harps as in big time plural.
Like most Western males, I have puffed a harmonica now and then. My family kept wanting me to be talented instead of just another hard-nosed German/ Danish/ Welsh/ English/ Dutch/ American. Unfortunately, it simply wasn't in the genes. My fingers were too short and too fat for stringed instruments, my teeth were encapsulated with braces making the brass impossible and the reeds painful and I couldn't make the transition from music to memory on the classical piano.
When Mr. Melchior came to town looking for a Basso Profundo protegee, we thought we had found an "out" with singing, but it soon became evident I had a problem with memorization which precluded walking around with a dozen full operas in my mind. I did; however, become a good B if somewhat eclectic B listener. Wednesday evening was a true gift.
Mr. Oscher turned out to be simply a fantastic musician with a wealth of talent evidenced by his ability to wring fantastic sounds from a half dozen different mouth harps, rumble my bones with piano, and strum an excellent slide guitar. He rasped out blues that put you in Mississippi and Chicago depending upon your bent. Finally, he PLAYED
Note: there is no period on that last statement. This man simply got into his music and played! My wife and I had to quit around ten thirty as it had been a long day for her and an early day following. But it was apparent Mr. Oscher is simply cruising at full rpms.
Now some talents back themselves with a few good sidemen, but Mr. Oscher managed to pick up a whiz 19-year-old guitarist who simply defied explanation. It was like that first four-minute mile. Unbelievable! It is most unfortunate that the Tillet blurb didn't print the names of the boys in the band. Mr. Oscher gave them credit several times, but my mind is a sieve for names. Bottom line, there is a young guitar player who must be heard to be believed. And the sax? This apparently middle aged gentleman looking a bit bored when he wandered onto the stage, turned out to be a 79-year-old virtuoso of one of the most satisfying sounding instruments of American music. I mean the man SPEAKS.
During the first real display piece the drummer rolled off a few nice rifts and began to subside back to obscurity on the back of the stage. Mr. Oscher called on the Cadillac Man to pay attention and give the folks a show. Rising to the challenge, the drummer beat another set and showed his true colors. From then out, we knew we were being treated to some of the best.
What a NITE!