Legendary Blues Harmonica players converge with HARMONICON: The Ultimate Harmonica Experience
Sugar Blue “…an extravagantly lyrical harmonica player” – New York Times
Billy Branch “can effortlessly segue from vintage Little Walter to thoroughly up-to-the-minute funky blues without dropping a beat.” – Bill Dahl, author and music critic
Jason Ricci “…is one of the best harmonica players of his generation.” – Adam Gussow, Blues Access Magazine
Award winning artists Sugar Blue, Billy Branch and Jason Ricci have launched HARMONICON. The ultimate harmonica experience. The new harmonica driven blues ensemble is dedicated to advancing the heritage of the harmonica art form. HARMONICON is an amalgam of two legendary players (Blue and Branch) with Ricci, a relative new comer to the Blues world. HARMONICON spans generations and gathers traditional fans as well as new recruits to the genre of Blues driven harmonica music.
*Grammy Award Winner Sugar Blue was raised in Harlem, New York, where his mother was a singer and dancer at the fabled Apollo Theatre. He spent his childhood among the musicians and show people who knew his mother, including the great Billie Holiday, and decided that he wanted to be a performer. In a career spanning decades, Blue has played and recorded with Willie Dixon Stan Getz, Frank Zappa, Johnny Shines, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones,… That’s his harmonica blasting on their platinum disco hit “Miss You” from the Some Girls album.
*Three time Grammy Nominee, Billy Branch was discovered by Willie Dixon, the “father of modern Chicago Blues,” while Billy was still in college. Willie encouraged Billy to finish his college education, which he did, but instead of going to law school after receiving his political science degree, Billy began touring with the Willie Dixon Chicago All Stars. This gave Billy the unique opportunity to travel and work as an understudy for the legendary Carey Bell who was planning to leave the All Stars and form his own band. When Carey took his leave, the young Billy Branch took his place, touring with Willie Dixon for six years. In addition, he has won multiple W.C. Handy Awards from the Blues Foundation, an Emmy Award, an
Addy Award (this is like an Oscar for TV ads), two Chicago Music Awards, and numerous humanitarian achievement awards.
*Raised in Portland, Maine, Jason Ricci started playing music in punk bands at the age of 14. After discovering a love of the harmonica and Blues music, he turned his attention in that direction. In 1995, Ricci moved from Portland to Memphis, TN, where shortly thereafter he placed first in the Sonny Boy Blues Society contest at 21 years of age. Later that same year Ricci recorded his first album, Jason Ricci. In Memphis, Ricci began playing with David Malone Kimbrough, son of blues great Junior Kimbrough, and also sat in with R.L. Burnside. In 2014 he entered the studio with Johnny Winter for his final album, Step Back. This album is the proud 2015 Grammy Nomination for Best Blues Album of the Year. Jason is considered one of the finest harmonica players of the new generation.
HARMONICON is in rehearsals and will be available beginning in May 2015.