One simply cannot talk about people of importance to this genre without tipping the hat to the most masterful musician, teacher, musicologist, producer, folklorist and preservationist of the traditional blues. By now, Stefan Grossman is a venerated, iconoclastic and respected acoustic blues figure of mega-proportions. He came out of the vibrant Greenwich Village, New York, 1960s scene around Washington Square, where so many American folk and blues musicians launched their careers. His friend and occasional collaborator, Steve Katz, formerly of the Even Dozen Jug Band, the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, once half jokingly told this writer: “There we were, all these New York Jews playing the black blues.” Indeed, the blues had a strong influence on young New Yorkers during the folk revival. These musicians, Stefan Grossman, Happy & Artie Traum, Danny Kalb, and many others, in turn had a powerful influence on the acceptance of the blues by the American baby boomer generation at large; and, they significantly helped to launch the folk, roots & blues revival, thereby reinvigorating the careers of many original blues musicians whose careers had waned.
Many people know Stefan Grossman as the paramount teacher and entrepreneur in what has become the world’s largest “blues school”, Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. He is one of the most skilled guitarists in the genre, having been a student of Rev. Gary Davis in New York City. He also picked up lessons directly from Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and others.
This is a challenging set of three lessons presenting a variety of stringband rags to classic rags to novelty instrumentals.
Lesson One: Two New Orleans standards are presented in this lesson. Both are played in the key of C with a style that combines an alternating bass with single-string runs and counterpoint lines. Mabel's Dream was popularized by the King Oliver Band. High Society is a well known Mardi Gras instrumental.
Lesson Two: Two rags are presented in this lesson. We begin in a dropped D tuning with the classic rag Powder Rag. This is followed by an arrangement of the 1928 Dallas String Band recording of Dallas Rag. This combines alternating bass with counterpoint techniques and single-string runs.
Lesson Three: One of Rev. Davis's most popular show instrumentals was Soldier's March. It has sections played in the keys of F and C and is a challenging guitar solo that takes the listener from early morning to lights out in the day of a soldier.
Level 3 • 32 page tab/music book with three compact discs