UP AND AT EM' (2001 release): Harmonica driven genre defying tunes with a bit of blues, jazz, world music, Latin, bluegrass, tex Mex - Listen in! Get ready to trash all you thought you knew about the harmonica. Eclectic is the name of the game here with this release being more a showcase for Carlos' different playing styles. Featuring his band which includes the amazing Kevin Breit on guitars.
UP AND AT 'EM CD REVIEW
Continuously, delJunco is moving away from blues in it's strict form. It is amazing to learn how easily he is crossing musical borders. On this one he brings us bluesy, rock, jazz standards, modern jazz and fusion, and anything in between. He's one of the greatest stylists when it comes to innovative harmonica blowing. Harpplayers: listen carefully - this man's got something to say. Perfect recording and high level musicianship throughout. Highly recommended for harp players with open ears.
Detlev Hoegen of Crosscut Records - Germany
1997 - 2009 Harmonica Player of the Year - SEVEN times out of the Canadian Maple Blues Award's TWELVE year history
2005 "Best Blues" Award- NOW Magazine, Toronto, ON
1998 JUNO NOMINATION for BIG BOY cd
1996 Blues Musician of the Year Award&-Jazz Report Magazine
1993 Hohner World Harmonica Championship – Trossingen, Germany Two Gold Medals in both diatonic blues and diatonic jazz
Born in Havana, Cuba, del Junco (loosely translated "of the reeds") immigrated with his family at the age of one. He bent his first note on a harmonica when he was fourteen, making his debut with his high school math teacher at a student talent night. In his early 20's del Junco was immersed in a visual arts career; he graduated with honours from a four year program, majoring in sculpture at the Ontario College of Art. Sculpture has definitely had an influence on his outlook on music: "Music is just a different way of creating textures and shapes."
Carlos is certainly not your straight ahead blues harmonica player. Carlos' influences are far and wide and can quickly stray from a straight ahead blues groove into more adventurous roots related territory which may include, jazzy, Latin, New Orleans second line grooves, or ska. He will occasionally take a blues standard and flip it upside down to breath new life into it. He has recorded with Bruce Cockburn, Kim Mitchell, Oliver Schroer, Zappacosta, and has also worked with Dutch Mason, Hoc Walsh (Downchild Blues Band) and Holly Cole.
Playing a ten hole diatonic harmonica, Carlos has developed the unique ability to play chromatically by using a recently developed "overblow" technique taught to him by jazz virtuoso Howard Levy. Overall, this approach to the diatonic harmonica, although much more difficult to achieve, is in many ways more expressive and communicative than the mechanized tone produced by the chromatic harmonica . Carlos is one of the few pioneers of this overblow method, bringing musical credibility to what has still been considered by many in the music industry - a fringe folk instrument. The sophisticated sound produced by del Junco is at once sensitive, soulful, and sexy while never forgetting the rawness inherent in blues music.
With the late Bill Kinnear, Carlos del Junco released his first CD, Blues on independent label, Big Reed Records in November 1993. The rich collection of blues classics was a collaborative effort with Kinnear playing acoustic and dobro guitars and handling lead vocals. Five out of six reviewers in the Toronto Blues Society, selected Blues for their top ten releases of 1993.
In March/April 1995 del Junco travelled to Chicago with a Canada Council grant to study with Howard Levy. This year saw the release of of the critically acclaimed Just Your Fool a sizzling live session with Kevin Breit on guitar, Al Duffy on bass, and Geoff Arsenault on drums. It was this CD and the collaborative effort with Thom "Champagne Charlie" Roberts Big Road Blues, that won Carlos the 1996 Blues Musician Of The Year Award...
...del Junco continues to produce an eclectic palette of music on Steady Movin', his (2008) 5th recording in a band setting and his second CD for Northern Blues. It features a mostly acoustic set with 3 solo showcases of Carlos harmonica wizardry. Remarkable guitar work by Kevin Breit, one of the most sought-after session players in Canada and now in the U.S. thanks in large part to his work with Norah Jones and Cassandra Wilson, adds beautiful textures to the 11 track collection.
Carlos has toured Canada regularly since 1996 and tours often in Europe and the United States. He has played all the major jazz, blues, and folk festivals across Canada.