Reply To: The Amazing Melodica! – Tutorial (fragments )



For the first time I’ve touched Melodica in 1970 – after I happened to hear Jack de Johnette, the great jazz percussionist and pianist, playing Melodica. By then I was already a professional musician – playing viola as a “classic” musician and playing piano as a “jazz” musician. I was so impressed by the sound of this new instrument that I immediately fell in love with it. Apparently, I was the first musician in USSR who recorded solo improvisations on Melodica while playing jazz compositions with local radio and TV orchestra.
Many years later I moved to Israel and continued my career as a jazz musician. I’ve never forgotten the Melodica and used it extensively in studio recordings, in concerts and during jam sessions.
Most of all I enjoyed and will always love improvising on Melodica; this instrument allows the artist to express his soul most frankly, almost like on the saxophone – one sound will define you completely! And this effect is achieved much easier than on other instruments. Maybe the mouth harmonica alone can be compared to Melodica’s direct expressiveness.
Exactly this similarity in Melodica and harmonica sound urged me to listen to and imitate the great harmonica artists such as Toots Thielemans and Stevie Wonder. But I did not dare try it during concerts – so as not to be accused of musical plagiarism.
During seventies I had a chance to use Melodica while participating in concerts with one of the great blues musicians, Memphis Slim – and this is how I discovered the expressivity of blues and fell in love with it for life.
Working on Melodica in blues style, my experience of playing jazz on piano and clarinet, and later also on the saxophone, my mastering of various jazz styles – from ragtime and blues to free jazz and fusion – all these became ingredients in the melting pot of creating my concept of playing the Melodica.
Lack of special literature for teaching how to play Melodica (except for some isolated instructions odds and pieces that could be found on the internet) compelled me to research deeper Melodica’s potentials.
As I worked more on Melodica, its hidden possibilities revealed themselves amazingly; finally, the most striking of all features became open– straight road to improvisation!

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