Come on now Bonn. Okay, there was football on the telly and it was a Wednesday evening – but the Harmonie was offering not Only the popular Richie Arndt’s BluEnatics but the overall winners of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Georg Schroeter and Bluesharp Maestro Marc Breitfelder – history makers in fact for German Blues!
The five goals from the footie you can relive on the Internet anytime, but those magical Blues sounds from The German Blues Project are now gone forever.
It really is a shame when talented musicians play to half full halls. Maybe the name ‘German Blues Project’ put some people off? It was chosen as a sort of quick identifier in view of the band playing gigs across Europe but also suggests that an early foray into an alien Musical style by a Country keen to learn but, well, in its early Bluesy days. That’s nonsense of course as anyone who’s laid hands on a Henrik Freischlader disc will know. Proof of it is also in the form of two of the evenings’ musicians. Keyboarder Georg Schroeter and Marc Breitfelder not only won the European leg of the Blues Foundation’s ‘International Blues Challenge’ – they went on to win the whole damn competition and in doing so wrote Blues History.
This was an enjoyable evening of quality Blues. In large part covering the ‘German Blues Project’ CD with tracks like the choppy ‘Happy Without Reason’, Bluesy ‘CEO Blues’ and ‘Rockin’ USA’ (which not surprisingly rocked mightily. There was a smattering of Bluenatics material on offer too, my favorite being the Gary Moore inspired ‘Drowning in my Soul’ which showcased Richie Arndt’s wah wah pedal skills.
The real excitement of the evening though came from a man who looked so unassuming that he could have passed for the local Vicar, only to deliver a harp sound so powerful and broad-ranging the likes of which I have never before heard. Seeing Marc Breitfelder hold his harps microphone up to the amplifier like Pete Townsend used to do with his Les Paul made me wonder if he was about to hurl it to the floor and stamp the reeds out of it one by one.
After a bright and rolling version of ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ had brought the show to a lively close I asked Breitfelder to name his musical inspiration. Without a pause he answered ‘Jason Ricci’ who is something of a livewire onstage himself. Did you get the feedback idea from Ricci? I asked. “No, it just came to me a few months back” he smiled. Maybe you want to give Marc a call and pick up some tips Jason?