In 1996 Satan and Adam were the cover story in Living Blues magazine; Gussow was, according to editor David Nelson, “the first white blues musician to be so prominently spotlighted in the magazine’s 26-year history.” Gussow was one of the first amplified blues harp players, in the late 1980s to make overblows a key element of his stylistic approach, adapting Howard Levy’s innovations in a way that helped usher in a new generation of overblow masters such as Jason Ricci and Chris Michalek. According to a reviewer for American Harmonica Newsletter, Gussow’s playing is characterized by “technical mastery and innovative brilliance that comes along once in a generation.”
In his new solo release, Kick and Stomp (2010), Gussow takes a cue from his Harlem mentor and does it all as a one-man band—singing, blowing amplified harp, and stomping out some thump-and-metal grooves. Ranging from old school blues like “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” “Poor Boy,” and “Goin’ Down South,” to Cream’s blues-rock standard, “Sunshine of Your Love,” and their power-trio version of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads Blues,” all the way to a techno/house remake of Stanley Turrentine’s soul-jazz classic, “Sugar,” Gussow’s album surprises. His original instrumentals mix sanctified Mississippi two-beats, hard bop (Art Blakey), and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s big-beat shuffles. The album concludes with a dazzling solo workout on Scott Joplin’s ragtime standard, “The Entertainer.”
Gussow is known to harmonica students around the world as a result of his “dirty-South blues harp channel” at YouTube and his pioneering offerings in the field of digital-download video tutorials at his website, Modern Blues Harmonica. Gussow’s other musical credits include a stint with the bus-and-truck tour of Big River; several decades as a blues harmonica instructor at The Guitar Study Center in New York and in private practice; and a nine-time coach at Jon Gindick’s Blues Harmonica Jam Camps. He’s released two albums on the Modern Blues Harmonica label with guitarist Charlie Hilbert: Blues Classics (2007) and Live in Klingenthal (2008). He’s headlined the Mundharmonika-Live festival in Klingenthal, Germany (2008) and has taught at Blues Week in the UK (2008). In the spring of 2010, Gussow added a new credit line to his resume´ as the creator and promoter of Hill Country Harmonica, a two-day intensive that drew more than 100 players from 30 states and 7 foreign countries to Foxfire Ranch in north Mississippi to study with Billy Branch, Billy Gibson, Johnny Sansone, and other top pros.
An award-winning scholar and memoirist, Gussow is the author of three blues-themed books: Mister Satan’s Apprentice: A Blues Memoir (1998; reissued in 2009); Seems Like Murder Here: Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition (2002); and Journeyman’s Road: Modern Blues Lives From Faulkner’s Mississippi to Post-9/11 New York (2007).
Edited by kudzurunner on 3 Sep 2010, 15:28
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