This is an informal chronicle of my journey with diminished harmonica.

October, 2021. Published "Exploring the Diminished Harmonica"

Purchase on Lulu.com

Exploring the Diminished Harmonica

Winter, 2016. Recorded in the studio with Rich Lamanna and the Last Word, for the CD "Views"

Lamanna says: "Views is an eclectic exploration, incorporating jazz and symphonic elements, featuring Scott Kinsey - keyboards (Tribal Tech), Alex Acuna and Manolo Badrena - drums and percussion (Weather Report), Othello Molineaux - steel drum (Jaco Pastorius), Nicky Orta - fretless bass (Arturo Sandoval), The Fuoco Quartet (Philadelphia Orchestra Musicians) and other great talents."

Selected tracks:

August, 2016. SPAH Convention. San Antonio, TX.

It was an honor to have lunch with two harmonica legends - and exceptional people! I wish the picture was clearer. Left to right: Bill Barrett, Jason, David Naiditch.

December 11, 2015. Lee Shaw Memorial Concert

I was very pleased and honored to be among the 21 musicians asked to perform at the Lee Shaw Memorial Concert at The Whisperdome at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Schenectady, N.Y. on Dec 11 2015. A quartet with Lee's one-time student, John Medeski (piano), Rich Syracuse (bass), Jeff Siegel (drums) and myself (harmonica), played two of Lee's originals, Restless Wind, and Tears. There were many great performances that evening, and it was very good for all of us who appreciated Lee so much to be able to get together, honor Lee, and share how much she meant to us. Photo by Al Brooks.

October 25, 2015. RIP Lee Shaw.

I am sad to see Lee go, and thankful I had the chance to know her. As great as all the accolades say, she had a musical will of iron, and a huge heart, and all in a very small frame! She had to sit on a phone book to play the piano, but her music was larger than life.

At her advanced age, she may have left some of her most facile chops behind, but she was still an extraordinary pianist. There was something about her sound, and musical intention, that was very satisfying to hear, and she played the whole piano. I loved her improvised intros to tunes. She often came up with some striking inventions during these solo introductions.

She was a tremendous listener on the bandstand and in conversation as well.

She had an enormous repertoire, and knew a great deal of history about every tune. She would routinely give a small history lesson before playing each tune. In addition, she had amassed a collection of auto-biographical original tunes, and with the encouragement of her band, Rich Syracuse and Jeff Siegel, released a whole album of them, called simply, “Originals”. This recording captures her wonderful piano sound and the interplay of the trio very well. The trio had an exciting dynamic, in that Lee had so much history in her playing, but Jeff and Rich would, at times, push her to play in an updated context as well. She wanted this - to be challenged - and always dealt with it beautifully.

I think of her as one of the classiest people I have known. She was inquisitive, and strong, and always kind, generous, positive, thoughtful, and willing to share music with anyone who was interested.

I was a student of Lee – not in a formal way - but it was a lesson every time I sat in with her and her trio. Every conversation or drive home from a gig with her was a cherished special event. I grew enormously on harmonica by trying to play her repertoire, and a long list of her originals, and she generously encouraged me to sit in with the trio at every chance.

At her memorial, we had the chance, in person, to see just how many people had been touched by Lee's spirit.

Thank you Lee, for all you shared.

August 13, 2015. Seminar on "Exploring the Dimi" at SPAH (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica) Denver, CO.


March 17, St. Patrick's Day, 2015. Jamming with Fiddle Circle


July 2, 2014. "Brilliance in Beantown," the Annual Gathering of Mensa, Boston, MA. Ran Blake and Jason Rogers present seminar on "Primacy of the Ear"

2014. Some sample tracks.

July 2013. Rhythm changes in E Major, on the C Diminished Tuned Chromatic Harmonica.

Sound clip to accompany the "It's All About the Line" article, published Harmonica Happenings Magazine, Summer 2013.

March 2012. Just blowing on the Diminished Tuned Chromatic Harmonica. There Will Never Be Another You.

October, 2010. Self-Publish "Primacy of the Ear" by Ran Blake and Jason Rogers

Jan, 2010. Recording Session with Lee Shaw Trio

Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans

Restless Wind by Lee Shaw

Rainthreads, by Lee Shaw

December 2008. Left to right, Jeff Siegal, Rich Syracuse, Lee Shaw, Jason Rogers.

May 2008. With Lee Shaw Photos by Al Brooks

April 18, 2005. Ran Blake's 70th birthday concert at Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory.

From left to right: Dave Fabris (gtr), Dmitri Shapria (gtr), Steve Chaggaris (drums), Jason Rogers (harmonica), Artie Barbato (trp).
I was experimenting with a CX-12 diminished tuned half valved chromatic amplified like a blues harp, with a Harmonica Honker mic and a Fender Blues Jr amp.