The Cazanovas know a thing or two about excellent harmonica players. After all, one of their members is Maurice Nazarro, one of the best harmonica players in the Atlanta area, which overflows with wonderful musicians. And Saturday night, Nazarro and the band did a great job of bringing together marvelous players for the annual Harmonica Blowout. Local favorites Hobo Creed, Ira Malkin, and the legendary Stoney Brooks were there, as was Country Bill Edwards and the headliner, Johnny Sansone.
The place was packed inside and out, with people partying on the front porch and the back deck, every table occupied and people happily crowding the bar and every inch of floor space.Somehow the dancers still managed to commandeer the usual space in front of the stage. Everyone was glad to be there and ready to have a blast and I believe everyone did!
Maurice Nazarro, in a very sharp suit, was the perfect host, keeping everything moving smoothly, while the rest of The Cazanovas backed up each harp wizard in turn. Hobo Creed, who once played with Mudcat in the Piedmont Playboys started things out and got the crowd revved up, and then Ira Malkin, who has played with Fatback Deluxe and other great local bands, continued to get our mojos working and people;s feet moving.
Then things got a bit fuzzy for me and I can’t remember if Country Bill Edwards or Stoney Brooks came next, but they were both so amazing. Country Bill was formerly from Atlanta but has moved away. He seemed delighted to be back and making music for us. Stoney Brooks , of course, plays regularly around town, and he is always a joy to hear.
It was all just one giant blur of glorious harp backed by Danny Vinson’s spectacular guitar, the solid drumming, and my favorite local bass player Jacob Holliday.
The evening was topped off by Johnny Sansone from New Orleans,a harp master who used to tour with David “Honeyboy” Edwards and other blues masters and who now often performs with Anders Osborne
After Sansone, we had to leave (it was midnight by that point) so I can’t tell you what happened next. But what a marvelous night it was! Every year the blowout is a packed, mesmerizing, and delightful explosion of sound, dance, food, drink and just pure joy. We all have reason to be grateful to Darwin’s, Maurice Nazarro and The Cazanovas and the harmonica players who came out to entertain us in what has become my personal favorite music event in the Atlanta area each year. If you missed it this year, make a note to be there next year!