Jim Hughes and Rob Paparozzi talk and play

Jim Hughes was 94 when Rob and I decided to make an unplanned visit to his home in Birmingham. Rob knew about Jim’s years of session work including ‘Last of the Summer Wine‘ and many radio broadcasts, but they had never met.

Jim is possibly the best teacher of the chromatic harmonica and two of his students were World Champions.

Rob uses Jim’s highly regarded course books when teaching his own pupils.

Jim’s teaching materials, CDs, and a huge list of written scores for harmonica by James Moody and other composers are available through email – jamesmoodyscores@gmail.com

Jim was a great advocate of learning to sight read music and did so all his working life – a great asset for recording sessions. Unfortunately he is now totally blind but he practices many hours a day and has become very good at playing by ear. This has also led to him now to concentrating on his love of jazz standards.

Rob and Jim got on very well and they had a mutual respect for each other. After some discussion, they started to play together as can bee seen in the 20 mins video below. This was not a performance. It was all spontaneous and as is easy to see, a very enjoyable time for both of them.

A musical meeting of minds (and chromatic harmonicas)

Tommy Reilly – In his own words

Tommy Reilly set the standard for playing chromatic harmonica and he was mainly responsible for the acceptance of the harmonica as a solo instrument on the classical stage. He had a prolific recording career. He was born in Canada in 1919 but spent most of his life in the UK.

Here Tommy talks about his musical life and plays some music on two BBC radio programmes – Music Weekly (Michael Oliver, 6 May, 1979), and Studio Portrait (Wilfred Parry (piano), 10 February, 1967).

Tommy’s silver chromatic harmonica was developed before the first radio programme in 1973 and after the second one in 1967.

1 – Music Weekly – Talking about the harmonica – Tommy Reilly
2 – Music – James Moody
3 – Talking playing the harmonica and repertoire – Tommy
4 – Villa Lobos Concerto for Harmonica – Tommy Reilly
5 – Talking about his Silver Harmonica – Tommy Reilly
6 – Parash’s Aria – Stravinsky
7 – Studio Portrait – Talking about composers – Tommy Reilly
8 – Caprice – Gordon Jacobs
9 – Scherzino – James Moody
10 – Talking harmonicas – Tommy Reilly
11 – Strawberry Fair – Leonard Morris
12 – Seventeen Come Sunday – Leonard Morris
13 – Talking history and harmonicas – Tommy Reilly
14 – Chanson Russe – Stravinsky
15 – Talking film music – Tommy Reilly
16 – Après un Rêve – Faurè
17 – Talking about Polish customs – Tomy Reilly
18 – Bulgarian Wedding Dance – James Moody