Jimmy Chan


Jimmy Chan is one of very very rare specie in Hong Kong : he is a Blues harp player. We knew each other a while ago and it is not until around March this year we started playing some music together. Jimmy is good technically, but the most important thing is he understands the Blues and plays with feel. Jimmy joins me on some Saturday nights. Don't miss him, he would our home-grown Blues harp player. Here is his story :-



On the road to Blues harp

I came to know about Blues Harp and Blues when I bought my first blues harp record "Blues Harp" performed by the blues harp Master, Jean-Jacques Milteau. After I listened to the record, I was filled with queries and astonishment. I kept asking myself: Could these beautiful notes come from harmonica? Or were they simply the product of an electronic musical instrument? In fact, I have been playing Chromatic Harmonica and Tremolo Harmonica for many years. I always thought that my knowledge of harmonicas was wide and extensive. But then I started to cast doubt about this. Driven by curiosity and determination to resolve these doubts, I decided to embark on a journey of Blues Harp exploration.
However, learning Blues Harp was far more difficult than I had expected. At the time, it was hard to find any related teaching materials in Hong Kong. Even if there were any, they were old editions in English or others foreign languages. Besides, it was extremely difficult for me to find a teacher. So, my progress in the first few years was very slow. What I was learning was not comprehensive but piecemeal. Usually, I just played after the records for one or two phrases or sometimes I even played any song I liked without caring whether it was properly performed. As for my knowledge of the Blues Harp musical theories, it was smattering. As the days went by, I became disheartened and I stopped playing Blues Harp. Luckily, 'Moving On', the first record of William Tang, had re-ignited my determination to pick up the Blues Harp again. Out of admiration, I attended a few lessons given by William Tang.  That was the first time that I had ever watched someone playing Blues Harp so closely.  At that time, Internet was becoming popular, so apart from attending classes and buying related learning materials from bookshops, I also tried to search for information related to this field on the Internet. Through these, my knowledge and experience in Blues Harp started to build up. Eventually I had acquired a comprehensive knowledge of the theories and my skills of playing Blues Harp were well developed.

Then, in the millennium, my idol Jean-Jacques Milteau came to Hong Kong togive a recital. During this visit, he had a gathering with the fellow blues-harp players. From his recital and through our chat, I learned a lot. And it set my direction of learning Blues Harp, which was to play after Milteau¹s style.

Believing that enjoyment and fun come through sharing, I started to look for fellow blues-harp players on the Internet. I also hoped that through our experience sharing, we not only learnt from each other but also further sharpened our skills. To my surprise, many people in Hong Kong have affection for Blues Harp like me. They also have the same problems that I encountered before , without proper learning materials, qualified instructors and means for exchanging experiences. All these inspired me to set up a Blues Harp website (http://www.jimmychanbluesharp.com.hk) in Chinese to share with all the fellow players on what I know about this instrument. More importantly, I hope that the website can provide a meeting venue for all the blues harp fans.

Until this March, my website has been set up for more than three years. Many blues harp players keep visiting it every day.  I not only have made any good friends but also have popularized Blues Harp through it.  In fact, this is not what I anticipated.

At this point, I would like to thank my family and friends for the support they have given me. Especially, I would like to say many thanks to Mr. Tommy Chung, he gives me chance to play with him and his wonderful blues band TheTommy & The All Blues. I learn a lot everytime I jam with them ! I am sure this is my new turning point in my blues harp road!

In the future, I will continue to work hard to enhance my skills and to become a professional player. I will also strive my utmost to promote Blues Harp in Hong Kong. Please continue to give your support to me.

Jimmy CHAN