REVIEWS and PRESS
Posted September 2018 by Bill Mitchell
BluesBytes - What's New
Noted harmonica ace Mark Hummel lets his harp do most of the heavy lifting on Harpbreaker (Electro Fi Records), an all-instrumental album with the song selection coming from various previously-released albums, unreleased sessions, and a few new cuts. But the listener is also treated to some mighty fine guitar slingers, with a significant array of Hall of Fame caliber players on the album, including Anson Funderburgh, Little Charlie Baty, Billy Flynn, Rusty Zinn, Chris "Kid" Andersen, among others.
The music on Harpbreaker generally has a jazzy/swing feel to it, especially on the live version of Buddy Rich's "Rotten Kid," which gives Charles Wheal a chance to stretch out on guitar and includes a killer drum solo by Marty Dodson. "Walkin' With Mr. Lee" is a New Orleans classic, written and recorded in 1958 by saxophonist Lee Allen, and Hummel does an outstanding job at using his much smaller instrument to the same effect as Allen's iconic tenor sax.
Posted August 24, 2018 by Duane Verh
Roots Music Report Album Review
Drawing from previously released, unreleased and brand-new material, blues harmonica master Hummel has stitched together an all-instrumental set that showcases his tasty and tasteful harp work in a wide range of settings, from traditional turf to jazzy regions. Nods to both Little Walter- “Crazy Legs” and Buddy Rich- “Rotten Kid” can be found as well as a high-octane original, “Harpoventilatin’” and an impressive run-through of Horace Silver’s “Senor Blues”. Guitar-wise, Mr. Hummel keeps excellent company with the likes of Anson Funderburgh, “Li’l” Charlie Baty and others.
GOLDEN STATE LONE STAR BLUES REVUE
Posted on July 16, 2016 by John Mitchell
Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue | Album Review
The term ‘super-group’ is perhaps tainted by some of the excesses of such concepts in the 70’s, mostly short-lived and over-hyped. This one though may have legs as it combines the talents of two guitarists who have been absent from the scene for health reasons, Little Charlie Baty and Anson Funderburgh. Both these fine (and very different) players made their reputations in bands fronted by vocalist/harmonica players (Rick Estrin and Sam Myers respectively) and here Mark Hummel takes that role. The band is rounded out by the rhythm section of RW Grigsby on bass and Wes Starr on drums who have played together since high school. Mark and Anson produced the album which was recorded (like a lot of fine albums these days) at Kid Anderson’s Greaseland studio.
Posted on April 15, 2016 by Jim Hynes
Mark Hummel’s Golden State Lone Star Revue
Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue | Album Review
This is the debut from the blues super group that features acclaimed guitarists Anson Funderburgh and Little Charlie Baty as well as bandleader, harpist, and vocalist Mark Hummel along with drummer Wes Starr and bassist R.W. Grigsby. The blending of Northern California and Texas musicians is the fortuitous melding of configurations where some members had played together while others had not prior to touring together in 2012. Charlie Baty (Little Charlie and the Nightcats) describes it this way: “It’s all about five guys who have been playing music all their lives, but each night play with the excitement and energy of their first gig.” In the case of Baty’s (who has been playing with Hummel since 2011) previous band, the Nightcats, and Funderburgh’s Rockets, both had been led by a harpist/vocalist. Starr and Grigsby have been playing together as a rhythm section since high school and did play in the Rockets as well. So they fit together rather naturally. Baty’s fast fingered jazz style of playing is pitted against Funderburgh’s smoother, fluid lines and the two play off each other wonderfully.
Golden State-Lone Star Revue Press Quotes
"the guys have a sound as big as their combined resumes that shines on cuts like a buoyant cover of Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown's 'Midnight Hour,' Lowell Fulson's sassy 'Check Yourself' and Hummel originals like the swinging 'Cool to Be Your Fool,' the twangy and appropriately '50s-leaning 'Lucky Kewpie Doll' and the very slow and smoky 'End of the World.' Guest players on sax, piano and organ help out the all-stars throughout."
"Though described as a blues 'supergroup', this fivesome-plus refreshingly displays none of the showboating or excess such a tag can suggest. With guitar giants Anson Funderburgh and 'Little' Charlie Baty in tow, master blues harp craftsman Mark Hummel fronts a lineup which lays down a set of blues as rock-solid as each of their individual resumes...Hummel’s originals, including 'Cool To Be Your Fool”', 'Lucky Kewpie Doll' and the haunting 'End Of The World' mesh well with well-selected covers such as Mose Allison’s 'Stop This World'. Keyboardist Jim Pugh stands out as a guest artist."
(Duane Verh/Roots Music Report)
"a stunning piece of work from start to finish…There is no jockeying for position here despite the formidable talent…Hummel handles lead vocals and is the featured soloist more often than not, but Baty's swinging, sophisticated guitar lines…and Funderburgh's more aggressive and stinging--but always tasteful--approach anchor every song on which they appear. From the swinging, mid-tempo 'Midnight Hour'…to the closing 'End Of The World', an extended slow blues with ominous undertones that are reinforced by the sound of police sirens looping in the background, these artists display a chemistry that evinces their decades of experience touring and performing with some of the top names in the genre…rhythm section deserves special mention…They seem to have scratched the surface of their creative potential--here's hoping this collaboration will endure well into the future."
(Roger Gatchet/Living Blues)
"Hummel’s harmonica is certainly no slouch either, burning down “Georgia Slop” after chromatically classing up “Stop This World,” one of several originals camouflaged amongst classics. Or getting its Jimmy Reed on “Detroit Blues” after swinging like a sax on “Walking With Mr. Lee”.
(Baltimore Blues Rag)
REMEMBERING LITTLE WALTER
Winner of Blues Music Awards - Album of the Year and Best Traditional Blues Album
Grammy Nominated for Best Blues Album
Posted on June 6, 2013 by Grant Brill
Remembering Little Walter - Various Artists | Album Review
Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, James Harman
Even if the subject wasn't harp god Little Walter Jacobs, this one would be a keeper due to the wealth of talent assembled to pay tribute to him for this project on Blind Pig records. Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia, and James Harman on one stage for one evening is the ticket you want for an unequaled evening of reed-bending ecstasy. Two of the 5 harmonica superstars featured on this Blind Pig release, Charlie Musselwhite and Billy Boy Arnold, knew Jacobs and performed with him.
Mark Hummel, host of scores of left coast Blues Harmonica Blowouts, recorded this one live in San Diego at Anthology. He kicks it off with Jacobs' “I Got To Go,” chugging like a freight train, his harp trills sparking off like red hot cinders spattering to the floor around his feet. Former Little Charlie and the Nightcats namesake Charlie Baty weaves around him seamlessly, framing Hummel's solos like they were old masters.