I’m so thankful that when Jason Ricci became part of a punk band, other members of that band decided he should be a harmonica player. Jason was only 14 at the time and he started listening to Howard Levy, who used an overblowing technique.
Levy (born July 31, 1951) is an American multi-instrumentalist. He was a founding member of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and of course, played a mean harp.
Jason furthered his knowledge as a harpoon man by listening to and learning from Little Walter, Paul Butterfield, Rat Ramsey and Adam Gussow.
In 1995, he moved from his hometown, Portland, Maine, to Memphis where shortly after arriving he placed first in the Sonny Boy Blues Society contest. He was just 21.
That year he recorded his first album, Jason Ricci.
Fast forward to 2019 and he’s put out My Chops Are Rolling! which only clarifies why he received the Blues Music Award for Best Harmonica in 2010 and 2018.
The album was record at Midwest Audio Recording in Bloomington, Indiana.
This is Jason at his honking best with the upbeat “Don’t Badger the Witness” and the heart-on-sleeve classic “The Way I Hurt Myself.”
While in Memphis the harp man got addicted to drugs and served a one-year stint in jail.
He came out a better man and in 2009 recorded the album Done with the Devil. He started delving into the occult and that seed sprouts in every recording since.
The band as a whole has been nominated for Blues Band of the Year three times by Blues Wax magazine. Ricci won the Blues Critic Award for Harmonica Player of the Year (2008) .
By January 2011, Ricci had relocated to New Orleans, and assembled a new band, Approved By Snakes, with guitarist John Lisi. Ricci received "Best Harmonica Player" at the May 6, 2010 Blues Music Awards.
This is hot stuff dripping with blues and energy. If you love harmonica — you definitely need to get some Jason today.