Jay Gaunt (BMI) began playing harmonica at the age of 12, developing a passion for blues music. One of Jay’s first exposures to blues was The Blues Brothers movie and shortly thereafter he went to see Dan Aykroyd (in full Elwood mode) at the Opus Theater in West Nyack, NY, at which time Dan called up Jay to sit in for the encore. The moment he stepped on stage and played the Mississippi sax, Jay was hooked. Since then he has been hungrily seeking out everything he can find that relates to harmonica, blues and roots music.
While Jay’s favorite music is the blues, he is not limited to just one genre. He also plays jazz, funk, rock and pop. Jay’s main influences on harmonica are James Cotton, Jason Ricci, Little Walter, Dennis Gruenling, Paul Butterfield, Chris Michalek, Sonny Boy Williamson, Kim Wilson, and Junior Wells. However, Jay does not only listen to harmonica players, but also draws influences from an array of musicians as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, and Donny Hathaway.
Jay has shared the stage with Dan Aykroyd, Honeyboy Edwards, the James Cotton Blues Band, Tab Benoit, Kenny Brown, Keith Sykes, Jason Ricci, Bob Margolin, Dave Fields, Rich DelGrosso, Eric McFadden, Zac Harmon, Jimmy Hall, Mark Hummel, Jon Paris, Rob Paparozzi, Michael Powers, Ian Siegal, Richie Canata, Victor Wainwright, Davis Coen, Treasa Lavasseur and Mike Zito.
In addition to performing at B.B. King’s Clubs in New York and Memphis, Terra Blues and The Cutting Room in NYC, Jay has also gigged at Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Ms., Rum Boogie and New Daisy in Memphis, Tn and Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco. Festival performances include The Greeley Blues Fest (2008 & 2009) and Blues from the Top (2008 & 2009) in CO as well as the Cape May Jazz Festival (2009) in NJ. In December 2009 he undertook his first European dates performing with Knut Reiersrud and The Alabama Lovesnakes in Oslo, Norway. Jay showcased in Memphis on Beale St. in 2010 during the IBC at Blind Raccoon’s invitation only showcase.
Gaunt has studied with Dennis Gruenling, David Barrett, Jason Ricci, Chris Michalek, Adam Gussow, Mark Hummel, Jon Paris and Michael Peloquin. He is presently studying music composition with Dr. Pedro Da Silva of NYU.
He is a regular attendee and performer at the annual SPAH conventions and is featured in the spring 2010 issue of Harmonica Happenings. In June of 2010, Jay was the featured artist on a CBS Sunday Morning segment about Harrison Harmonicas, both videos of which are posted on his YouTube channel www.youtube.com/jaygauntharmonica .
“Harmonicopia”, was recorded at Willie mitchell’s Royal Studios in Memphis, TN and produced / mixed by Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell and Charley Burch. 2010 Harmonica BMA winner Jason Ricci Co-Produced. It debuted at #13 on the Living Blues Charts Nov. 2010. The album debuted September 7th at #11 on the Roots Music Report and remained in the top 25 for 7 weeks dropping to #38 the week of Oct 29th from #22 the week of October 22nd, 2010. The Album is a combination of Jazz, Funk and Blues songs (1/2 originals & 1/2 covers) with Blues constituting over 50% of the albums’ content. Jay is slotted in 3 separate fields for consideration on the entry list for nomination ballot of the 2011 Grammy awards. Many of the 12 songs on Harmonicopia are in heavy rotation worldwide including Charley Burch (ASCAP) songs “Home of The Blues” and “Devil Dealt The Blues” featuring Victor Wainwright on vocals. Arrangements, orchestration and keyboards are by Lester Snell. Musicians on the album include “The New Memphis Strings”, “The Royal Horns”, Steve Potts, Dave Smith, Skip Pitts, Josh Roberts, Dave Cousar, Rick Steff, Cody Dickinson, Brandon Bailey and Lyrika Holmes. The Album was mastered at Sterling Sound in NYC by Greg Calbi.
Jay Gaunt plays and is endorsed by Harrison Harmonicas. Jay’s manager is Charley Burch email@example.com 901-335-3152 and his Publicist is Betsie Brown firstname.lastname@example.org 901-278-6850. Digital and physical distribution is currently through CD Baby. Additional Jazz radio promotion is being worked by Groov Marketing in L.A. in conjunction with Betsie at Blind Raccoon.
“Jay Gaunt - Harmonicopia”
1. Listen Here (Eddie Harris) 10/09 “Royal Horns”, D. Cousar (guitar), L. Snell (wurlitzer/piano/b3), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
2. Midnight Rider (Greg Allman & Robert Payne) 2/10 “New Memphis Strings”, S. Pitts (guitar), R. Steff (wurlitzer), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica), J. Bidwell (tambourine).
3. Catnip (Jay Gaunt) 10/09 J. Gaunt (intro guitar), D. Cousar and S. Pitts (guitar), “Royal Horns”, L. Snell (b3), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
4. Misty Muse (Jay Gaunt) 10/09 L. Snell (rhodes/piano/b3), “Royal Horns”, D. Cousar (guitar), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
5. If 6 was 9 (Jimi Hendrix) 10/09 S. Pitts and D. Cousar (guitar), L. Snell (b3), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
6. Wonder Boy (Jay Gaunt) 2/10 L. Snell (clavinet & wurlitzer), R. Steff (b3), S. Pitts (guitar), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
7. Why People Like That ? (Bobby Charles) 10/09 feat. V. Wainwright (vocals), D. Cousar (guitar), J. Roberts (guitar), L. Snell (wurlitzer/ b3), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
8. Louisiana Blues (Muddy Waters) 10/09 feat. V. Wainwright (vocals), D. Cousar (guitar), C. Dickinson (electric washboard), B. Mitchell (percussion), J. Bidwell (tambourine), L. Snell (b3), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
9. Home of The Blues (Charley Burch & Jay Gaunt) 2/10 feat. V. Wainwright (vocals), R. Steff (b3), S. Pitts (guitar), J. Roberts (guitar), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
10 .Devil Dealt The Blues (Charley Burch) 2/10 feat. V. Wainwright (vocals), J. Gaunt (harmonica), R. Steff (piano), S. Pitts (guitar), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums).
11. Greensleeves (Traditional) 10/09 L. Holmes (harp), L. Snell (b3/wurlitzer) , D. Cousar (guitar), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
12. Double Shuffle (Jay Gaunt) 2/10 J. Gaunt (harmonica), feat. B. Bailey (harmonica), S. Pitts (guitar), R. Steff (piano), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums).
13. Rattlesnake Shake (Peter Green) 2/10 feat. V. Wainwright (vocals), S. Pitts (guitar), J. Roberts (guitar), B. Mitchell (percussion), J. Bidwell (tambourine), R. Steff (b3), C. Dickinson (electric washboard), D. Smith (bass), S. Potts (drums), J. Gaunt (harmonica).
HOME OF THE BLUES - ISRC: US8P71000009
DEVIL DEALT THE BLUES - ISRC: US8P71000010
There's no catalog number for the album but the UPC is 700261307008.
Produced by Charley Burch and Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell
Engineered by Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell
Mixed by Charley Burch and Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell
Executive Producers: Jan Bidwell and John Gaunt
All songs recorded during October of 2009 were co-produced by Jason Ricci
Album credits, title and design concept: Charley Burch
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound NY, NY
Publicity and Marketing: Betsie Brown, Blind Raccoon LLC
Recorded at Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios, Memphis, TN (Recorded between October 2009 and May 2010)
Harmonica = Jay Gaunt
Bass = Dave Smith
Drums = Steve Potts
Guitar = Skip Pitts
Guitar = Dave Cousar
Guitar = Josh Roberts
Guitar = Jay Gaunt
Vocals = Victor Wainwright
Keyboards (B3/Clavinet/Rhodes/Wurlitzer/Piano ) = Lester Snell
Arrangements for horns/strings = Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and Lester Snell
Orchestration = Lester Snell
Keyboards (B3/Rhodes/Piano/Wurlitzer) = Rick Steff
Baritone Sax = Jim Spake
Tenor Sax = Gary Topper
Tenor Sax = Lannie McMillan
Trumpet = Marc Franklin
“New Memphis Strings”
Cello = Jonathan Kirkscey
Viola = Beth Luscombe
Viola = Jennifer Puckett
Violin = Roy Brewer
Violin = Jessica Munson
Violin= Daniel Gilbert
Electric Washboard = Cody Dickinson
Harp = Lyrika Holmes
Harmonica feature on “Double Shuffle”= Brandon Bailey
Tambourine = Jan Bidwell
Percussion = Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell
R.I.P. Willie “Pops” Mitchell (1928-2010). Thank you for your guidance and empowerment of this project.