There are so many different ways to admire Adam Gussow that it’s almost difficult to write about him. He began as a busker, traveled the world playing jazz and blues festivals, recorded multiple award winning blues albums, became a teacher of both academics and music, and has generally spent the past three decades defining the blues harmonica scene. He is so fundamental to the modern blues harmonica scene that I’d be willing to wager that most of you reading this have watched at least one of his tutorials on YouTube or heard him as half of the blues duo, Satan and Adam. Well today I came across a video of Adam busking on a Mississippi sidewalk in the sweltering Summer heat. His sound is clean and powerful and his sense of polyrhythm is driving and invigorating. In the spirit of his teaching ways, pay attention to how the construction of his phrasing makes for a simple and effective blues song. He begins the song with an easy little lick, a call that is immediately answered by a simple 4-note response (I think it’s 3-draw, 4-blow, 4-blow, 3-draw). This 4 note response will become the anchor for the whole song. No matter what he plays as a call, that response always brings the song back to its center line.
Now sit back and enjoy some fantastic playing by an amazing player! And when you’re done, head over to his YouTube page for more awesome harmonica videos than you can shake a harp at!