CD Release – “Mongrel Mash”
It’s probably a good thing Carlos del Junco wasn’t there when the harmonica appeared in North America in the 1860s. Neil Young and Bob Dylan can probably roll with it when he says they are very mediocre harmonica players. Aspiring harmonica players Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid might have overreacted and pulled out their pistols…
Carlos is one of those players whose music is so advanced that when it comes to awards, it’s either retire the category or rephrase the question to “Best Harmonica Player Not Named Carlos”. This includes two Gold Medals from the Hohner World Harmonica Championship in Trossingen, Germany, as well as multiple national awards in Canada.
To say he plays the harmonica is like saying “Jimi Hendrix plays guitar”. He blows the blues harp through a prism — suddenly it seems he’s holding every color in the musical rainbow right there in his hands.
Simultaneously sophisticated and raw, his playing blurs the boundaries between blues and jazz (hence the name for his band “The Blues Mongrels”). The emphasis is on blues, but Carlos and his band are not afraid to merrily traipse off in other directions delivering a seamless fusion of New Orleans second line grooves, swing, Latin, hip-hop or ska melodies, to swampy roots rock.
His new CD – Mongrel Mash – is his 6th recording in a band setting. It features an energetic set with 3 straight up blues numbers and his usual hybrids of fun and quirky roots influenced instrumentals. This is an “almost live” CD that lets the band stretch out as they would in front of a live audience. Some jaw dropping harmonica work from Carlos. Kevin Breit, his creative partner in the studio has become very much a part of the sound of Carlos’ CDs but it is very rare to hear them live together on stage. Kevin is 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.