the age of 12, Chris Harper bought his first blues harp. He had always
been fascinated by the sound of the harmonica, so he was thrilled to try
to play it. At first, he had to endure some harsh criticism from his
friends: "Give it a rest; you'll never learn to play it." However, he
didn't let them discourage him and as time passed, the feedback got
better-in any event, he never lost his desire to master the blues harp.
At 13, Chris started playing the bass, while continuing to play the
blues harp as a second instrument. In the years that followed, he played
the bass in various hard rock, jazz rock and Dixie jazz groups,
including the Finest Session Band and the Tom Kelly Band.
From 1985, all his energies were consumed establishing his business,
leaving him little time to pursue his musical activities, although he
did make special guest appearances and jam occasionally on the harmonica
with groups such as the CBB Heartrock Band.
In 2001, Harper enjoyed a cautious comeback on harmonica, initially
guesting with the former Black'n Blue blues band. He then really got
back into his stride, appearing on a live recording for Black 'n Blue
with Aron Burton, the world-famous blues vocalist and bassist from
By mid-2002, it was back to the blues harmonica. During trips to
Chicago, the very heart of the blues, he jammed with J.W. Williams,
Sugar Blue, Melvin Taylor, Charly Love,
Billy Branch, Jimmy Pryor,
Burns, Pistole Pete, Chainsaw Dupont, Two for the Blues and lots of
Chicago's other well-known blues performers in the city's best clubs.
In 2003, he switched from the lip technique to the tongue block
technique, taught by Sugar Blue, who had spent years learning about the
blues and Harp techniques from the veteran blues man Big Walter Horton in
Chicago. Sugar Blue had played with all the well-known blues musicians
in Chicago and the world, toured for over a year with the
Stones, and six months with Prince. Using his stile of tongue block
technique, he's the fastest tongue block harmonica player in the world.
When Chris Harper stands on stage, he often thinks how much he owns
Sugar Blue. Articulating this debt, he says "Blue, thanks for everything
that you have taught me about the blues and stile of tongue block
In 2004, Harper met the Italian Sharade Band in Zurich. Harper and
the band had compatible musical styles and got along well together. They
enjoyed playing together right from the start. Their jams are like
musical fireworks, sometimes soft before exploding back into an
outpouring of blues energy. Their collaboration intensified after a
festival organizer discovered them at a blues jam and signed them up for
the Flims Blues Festival. They will be recording their first CD in
Chris Harper loves the blues in all its forms, whether it be
traditional or blended with elements of funk, jazz, rock and Latin. He
is currently playing in various groups; apart from the Sharade Band, he
is most notably performing with Larry's Blues Band with Larry Schmucky
(Switzerland), who have been drawing in the crowds for decades.
With considerable experience behind him, Chris is getting back into
the scene at a slightly older age. He's in good company with other
well-known, successful musicians and blues men. His love of the blues,
his pronounced feeling, and his talent for sound and virtuosity on the
harmonica make him a unique musician who has lots to offer.