"In my view, the true blues man were people expressing authentic feelings... and many of the "new" blues man are more concerned about image and marketing..."
Gustavo Lazo: Silver Mountains Blues
Gustavo Lazo is an Argentinian harmonica player and luthier. He began his musical studies in 1994, learning the rudiments of the harmonica diatonic Blues-Rock style. Self-taught techniques perfected, coming to reach a high level of performance and composition. Since then he has been summoned to play as a session musician renowned local artists (Argentina). He has also played the harmonica in live shows by blues artists such as Michael Burks (USA), Lorenzo Tompson (USA), Big Chico (Brasil), Enrico Crivellaro (Italy), Linwood Slim (USA), Jimmy Rip (USA), Andy Sugarcanne Collins (Australia), Ale Ravanello (Brazil), Gonzalo Araya (Chile), Zakiya Hooker (USA), Bob Margolin (USA), Bob Stroger (USA), Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (USA) and JC Smith (USA) among others.
Gustavo Lazo currently serves as harp player and vocals in the band "The Kings Highway" and as harp player in the band "Black Cat Bone". The love for this instrument leads, after a thorough analysis and investigation of the properties of this instrument, launching its own line of custom harmonicas "Lazo Custom Harmonicas." Their products meet the optimum technical standards that meet the needs and expectations of the professional musician.
What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?
When I discovered blues music gave my life force and direction to move forward ... The Blues harmonica found the road I want to ride the rest of my days!
How do you describe Gustavo Lazo sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?
I consider myself a blues harp player of traditional, learned to play listening to recordings of guys like Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson, Walter Horton, Little Walter, James Cotton ... I try to reflect my life experiences through my harmonica. Mixing what was ever done with what comes out of my soul at that time.
In choosing the songs I like singing classic Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Junior Wells, Jimmy Reed. I play the songs as their own in order to make an upgrade leaving my style...
"I think if there is a resemblance of blues music with Tango music is in the lyrics of songs, many speak of loving deception, friends who betray hard work in the port, lack of money to pay the rent, gambling, fights etc..." (Photo: Lazo & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith)
Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio which you’d like to share with us?
Living in Argentina shows international blues artists are more limited than in other countries... Of the shows that were great for me were the James Cotton, the Phill Guy and Bob Stroger ...
I remember the first blues show I saw at the Grand Rex Theater in Buenos Aires was the BB King's band in the early '90s, tears of emotion came out of my eyes when listening to this music!
The closest that I was the true blues harmonica was to have played in a jam session with Willie "Big Eyes" Smith on drums and Bob Margolin on bass. I also remember being on stage with Bob Stroger!
What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
In my view, the true blues man were people expressing authentic feelings... and many of the "new" blues man are more concerned about image and marketing....
If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
I would like a law worldwide that require all places of public entertainment to hire shows with musicians playing live every day who are open....
Make an account of the case of the blues in Argentina. Which is the most interesting period in local scene?
The first musical bands trying to make records in Argentina are blues bands like "Manal" or "Pappo's Blues" in the '70s, with lyrics in Spanish... but the real movement was in the year blues' 90s when they came a lot of blues artists of this country....
Currently there are many blues musicians under a very good level of interpretation here in Argentina.
"I try to reflect my life experiences through my harmonica. Mixing what was ever done with what comes out of my soul at that time."
What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues from US to Argentina? How close is the blues with Tango?
I think if there is a resemblance of blues music with Tango music is in the lyrics of songs, many speak of loving deception, friends who betray hard work in the port, lack of money to pay the rent, gambling, fights etc...
You are also known as harmonica manufacturer. What made you get involved in the craftsmanship of harp?
Repair all kinds of harmonica and build my own line of custom harmonicas...
I began to investigate the dynamics of this instrument in the late '90s. At first curious and then I realized I could improve an instrument built in Germany! From that moment no longer investigate the harmonica.
Currently I make handmade custom harmonicas for many musicians from different countries...
How much time do you spend on an instrument? How difficult is the construction of an instrument?
The construction time for harmonica is approximately 15 days ... LAZO Custom Harmonicas is the product of meticulous investigation of acoustic properties and dynamics of interpretation required by demanding professional and amateur performers ....
I would say that is the right combination of Art and Technology.
Do you know why the sound of harmonica is connected to the blues? What are the secrets of?
The harmonica is the representative of the blues music instrument, I think the secret is to express what you feel right through the instrument using a language that was already written many years before "The Blues" and will continue to live for many more years!
What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the local music circuits?
Rick Estrin shows me a lot fun and I love your style!
I would call or Sonny Boy number 3! Hahaha…
Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?
The decision is difficult; I would like to go to several days ... so now I think a time machine be in Newport Jazz Festival 1960. Watching the show Muddy Waters sitting on a chair enjoying the sun and drinking a good beer...
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