David Naiditch, Pat Cloud, Eric Uglum, Austin Ward, Steve Trovato | Bluegrass Harmonica

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Bluegrass Harmonica

by David Naiditch, Pat Cloud, Eric Uglum, Austin Ward, Steve Trovato

The harmonica isn't commonly used in bluegrass, and bluegrass chromatic harmonica is extremely rare. David produces a pure, sweet, fiddle-like sound and can handle fast intricate melody lines. All the tunes are played with just a C-tuned chromatic.
Genre: Country: Bluegrass
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  song title
artist name
1. Blackberry Blossom (feat. Pat Cloud) David Naiditch
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2:32 $0.99
2. The Lovers' Waltz David Naiditch
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2:59 $0.99
3. Dixie Hoedown (feat. Pat Cloud & Eric Uglum) David Naiditch
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2:30 $0.99
4. Whiskey Before Breakfast (feat. Pat Cloud) David Naiditch
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3:09 $0.99
5. Down Yonder (feat. Pat Cloud) David Naiditch
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2:19 $0.99
6. St. Anne's Reel (feat. Uglum) David Naiditch
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2:41 $0.99
7. Jerusalem Ridge David Naiditch
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2:23 $0.99
8. Gold Rush (feat. Pat Cloud & Eric Uglum) David Naiditch
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2:53 $0.99
9. Blue Violet Waltz (feat. Steve Trovato) David Naiditch
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3:16 $0.99
10. Cherokee Shuffle (feat. Pat Cloud & Eric Uglum) David Naiditch
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2:49 $0.99
11. Cuckoo's Nest (feat. Eric Uglum) David Naiditch
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3:03 $0.99
12. Katie Hill (feat. Pat Cloud) David Naiditch
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1:58 $0.99
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Album Notes
This bluegrass instrumental CD features the chromatic harmonica. The harmonica isn’t commonly used in bluegrass, and bluegrass chromatic harmonica is extremely rare. Bluegrass harmonica players, the few that exist, typically use diatonic harmonicas to create a raw, bluesy sound, sometimes accompanied with chord chugging. In contrast, the chromatic, when played properly, can produce a pure, sweet fiddle-like sound and can handle intricate melody lines. All the tunes on this CD are played with C-tuned chromatic harmonicas, mostly the Seydel Saxony and Hohner CX-12 Jazz. The harmonica harmonies on tunes such as The Lovers’ Waltz, Dixie Hoedown, Whiskey Before Breakfast, and Jerusalem Ridge were produced with multiple harmonica tracks.

The other musicians on this CD are all great bluegrass players. Banjoist Pat Cloud has taken melodic playing to new heights, and is equally fluent in jazz and bluegrass. He has played with bluegrass greats such as Clarence and Roland White. Pat has two instruction manuals, "Key to Five-String Banjo" and "Straight-Ahead Jazz for Banjo," both published by Mel Bay. Instructional materials, videos, and audios are also available on Pat’s website, www.patcloud.com.

Eric Uglum plays lead guitar on all the tunes, except for Blue Violet Waltz. He also plays rhythm guitar and mandolin. Eric has been in many topnotch bluegrass bands, such as Lost Highway, and has recorded with bluegrass artists such as Alison Krauss and Ralph Stanley. In addition to playing the guitar and mandolin, Eric recorded, mixed, and mastered this CD at his New Wine Sound Studio. Visit the Uglum family and studio website at www.ericuglum.com.

At 20, Eric’s son, Austin Ward, is already recognized as a master bassist with great timing and tone. His fingers effortlessly glide across the strings, producing a smooth, yet swinging feel that holds the band together.

Steve Trovato plays lead guitar on Blue Violet Waltz. Steve is known as the great chameleon because he has mastered so many styles—country, blues, jazz, and rock. To experience Steve’s virtuoso guitar playing, visit http://www.stevetrovato.com/home.cfm.

Hope you enjoy listening to this CD as much as I did recording it.
David Naiditch, www.davidnaiditch.com


to write a review

Joe Ross

A jaunty and pleasing instrumental album
From the Los Angeles area, David Naiditch once half joked, “Harmonica players are about as welcome at bluegrass festivals as the mosquitoes that come out to feast.” That may be often true, especially when the harmonica player is not well versed in the nuances of the bluegrass music and the jamming etiquette associated with the genre. However, in the hands of a chromatic harmonica master like Naiditch, the instrument should be heard much more with the standard bluegrass instruments. When properly played, a fully chromatic instrument (capable of playing in all keys) produces a bouncy lilt that can handle even the most intricate melody. Perhaps that’s why, nearly a century ago, Judge George D. Hay invited DeFord Bailey to play tunes like “John Henry” and “Fox Chase” for about 15 years on the Grand Ole Opry. And today, Canadian Mike Stevens has also made a name for himself using the harmonica in a bluegrass context, but he doesn’t use chromatic instruments like David Naiditch’s Seydel Saxony or Hohner CX-12 jazz models.

David Naiditch is well known in the Los Angeles music scene, and he’s equally comfortable with blues, country, swing, and gypsy jazz as he is with bluegrass. Legendary bluesman Sonny Terry got him started during his teen years. By the 1960s, Naiditch was teaching and performing throughout southern California. Fast forward to the mid-1990s, and we find David focusing on the chromatic harmonica, playing in all keys, and improvising many styles of music. In 2005, he produced an eclectic album with 36 tunes called “Harmonica and Guitar Duets.” His highly-acclaimed 2008 CD, “High Desert Bluegrass Sessions,” included Christian Ward’s fiddle, and I miss that on his new and lively 2011 release, “Bluegrass Harmonica,” especially when slower tunes like “The Lover’s Waltz” and “Blue Violet Waltz” are sweetly blown. However, with the benefits of multi-tracking, twin harmonicas offer both melody and harmony to the former tune, as well as Dixie Hoedown, Whiskey Before Breakfast, and Jerusalem Ridge. Naidtich is clearly after that alluring fiddle sound with his instrument, and he wisely picks some favorite jam tunes. I do wish that he would’ve also demonstrated a few more bluegrass harmonica backup techniques and fills on the CD.

Naidtich is clearly well versed in many of the standards that are oft-heard in bluegrass jam sessions. He kicks the album off with a rapid-fire version of “Blackberry Blossom,” trading breaks with the masterful Pat Cloud on banjo who clearly pushes the melody into adventurous new territory. While the CD emphasizes the instrumental work of Naiditch and Cloud, guitarist Eric Uglum injects thrilling breaks in Dixie Hoedown, St. Anne’s Reel, Gold Rush, Cherokee Shuffle, and Cuckoo’s Nest. Sadly, no mandolin breaks are heard, and that instrument (also played by Uglum) is relegated to chordal accompaniment. Guitarist Steve Trovato appears with an expressive break on “Blue Violet Waltz,” always a crowd-pleaser at fiddle contests. The low end is solidly fueled by acoustic bassist Austin Ward (Eric’s son).

This is a jaunty and pleasing instrumental album, and some might even call it somewhat quirky. The repertoire is fairly standard, and the featured lead instruments are chromatic harmonica, banjo and guitar. It’s clearly a treat to hear the potential of chromic harmonica within the bluegrass context. David is currently working on a Gypsy jazz album with Gonzalo Bergara, and I look forward to hearing that. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, Oregon)