Mark Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowout™


The 30th Harmonica Blowout will feature Magic Dick, Sugar Ray Norcia, Anson Funderburgh, Bob Welsh, John Nemeth, Aki Kumar, Randy Bermudes and Wes Starr.


Harmonica Blowout History

Mark Hummel’s Blues Harmonica Blowout™ started on a Sunday night in 1991 at Ashkenaz in Berkeley with four harmonica players - Rick Estrin, Mark, Dave Earl and Doug Jay.  Each player performed a twenty to thirty minute set and everyone jammed together with Hummel’s Blues Survivors as backup.  Over the next five years it grew to become a multi venue event around California and included bigger names like William Clarke, Norton Buffalo and Paul DeLay.   By the year 2000 the Blowout was headlining Yoshi's in Oakland as a four night show with Rod Piazza, Kim Wilson, Rick Estrin, James Harman and Billy Branch.  These shows were recorded for Mountain Top Records.  

Since then it’s become a who’s who of older and younger players, black, white, male and female, national and international.  From icons like Snooky Pryor, Carey Bell, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, John Mayall, John Hammond, Little Sonny, Lazy Lester, Billy Boy Arnold, Sam Myers, Corky Siegel, Magic Dick, Huey Lewis, Lee Oscar, Jerry Portnoy, Howard Levy and Paul Oscher to younger players like Sugar Ray Norcia, Jason Ricci, Son Of Dave, Aki Kumar, Curtis Salgado, Kenny Neal, RJ Mischo, Sugar Blue, Annie Raines, Carlos Del Junco, just to name a few. 

The selection of guitarists has also been a stunner including Duke Robillard, Rusty Zinn, Bob Welsh, Little Charlie Baty, Anson Funderburgh, Jr. Watson, Billy Flynn, Steve Freund, Mike Keller and many more.  

In 2013 the tribute to Little Walter Blowout was recorded for a CD on Blind Pig Records called Remembering Little Walter.  This recording was nominated for a Grammy award and won two Blues Music Awards ( Album of the Year and Best Traditional Blues Recording). 

Year after year Mark Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowout™ continues to play festivals nationally and internationally as well as sold out venues coast to coast.

MAGIC DICK is the original harp man from the J. Geils Band, whose many hits flooded the airwaves during the 1970s and 1980s. Chart-toppers like "FreezeFrame", "Centerfold", "First I Look At The Purse", "Must a Got Lost", "Give It To Me" and Magic Dick's own "Wammer Jammer" were in the Top Ten off and on for 20 years and made them one of the few top bands(other then WAR) that featured a harmonica prominently in the frontline. Dick went on to start "Bluestime" with J. Geils after the original band broke up, making two CDs for Rounder Records.

BILLY BOY ARNOLD  Starting in the early 1950s, he joined forces with street musician Bo Diddley and played harmonica on the March 2, 1955 recording of the Bo Diddley song "I'm a Man" released by Checker Records. The same day as the Bo Diddley sessions, Billy Boy recorded the self-penned "You Got to Love Me" which was not released until the box set, Chess Blues 1947-1967, in 1992. In 1993, he released the album Back Where I Belong on Alligator Records, followed by Eldorado Cadillac (1995). In 2012, he released Blue and Lonesome and in 2014, he was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year category.

RICK ESTRIN has been the harp wizard, frontman, singer, songwriter & master of ceremonies for Alligator recording artists Little Charlie & the Nightcats for over 30 yrs. More then a little of the bands' success can be attributed to Estrin's far reaching skills & humor. Estrin's won the Blues Music award a few times now thanks to his songwriting. Tunes like "My Next Ex Wife", "Dump That Chump", "Thimking With the Wrong Head" and many other songs Rick has written have garnered him fans worldwide. Throw in Rick's colorful stage personna & offbeat humor and you have the makings for one of the most entertaining stage shows on the planet. Estrin is one of the most formidable harp men alive, offered the coveted harp chair in Muddy Waters' band in the early 70s.

Lee OskarLEE OSKAR  was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, moved to the States in the late sixties,and along with Eric Burdon,went on to become a founding member of the soul-funk-rock group WAR. Hits like "Lowrider", "World Is A Ghetto", "Spill The Wine", "Me And Baby Brother", and "Slippin Into Darkness" were huge records that got national airplay coast to coast and stayed high up in the charts for months. Oskar's unique approach to harmonica has earned him the distinction of being voted 1976's Instrumentalist Of The Year in three major music publications, Billboard, Cashbox and Record World. Lee went on to start the Lee Oskar Harmonica company in 1983,which is second only to Hohner Harmonicas in popularity and sales.

Notable Harp Players