The past two decades have seen the emergence of young harmonica-led blues bands. In California, groups that draw their inspiration from the Chicago school but add elements of jump blues and rock ‘n’ roll into the mix have come up with an exciting new style of West Coast blues. In Oakland, the northern capital of California blues, resides the incredibly powerful harmonica player and vocalist Mark Hummel, leader of The Blues Survivors, who has been a major force in shaping and defining this musical genre.
Mark Hummel is a road warrior - a true Blues Survivor. Along the way, he has crafted his own trademark harmonica sound - a subtle combination of tone, phrasing and attack combined with a strong sense of swing.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Los Angeles, California, Mark absorbed the music of such Chicago based harp blowers as Little Walter, James Cotton, and Sonny Boy Williamson, before settling in Berkeley, California in 1972. There he played with local bluesmen such as Cool Papa, Boogie Jake, Mississippi Johnny Waters and Sonny Lane. In 1980, he took the helm to lead the popular Blues Survivors Band.
He has performed at numerous festivals across the country, including the San Francisco Blues Festival, Chicago Blues Festival, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Waterfront Blues Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and has performed and judged at the Hohner Harmonica World Championship, held in Germany.
Since 1991 Mark has been both producing and performing at his Blues Harmonica Blowout series. These shows have grown to be much-heralded events and continue to draw sellout crowds wherever they appear.
Enjoy dinner at El Rio Mexican Restaurant before the music begins at 9 p.m.
1. Mark Hummel
2. Little Charlie Baty