Greg Szlapczynski

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Greg Szlapczynski is a polish harmonica player who used to study with Milteau and who is more than adequate to carry on the torch of French harmonica. He was Milteau's student for many years and now runs the harmonica school that Jean-Jacques launched.

Parallel to this tuition activity, Greg has put together a band, under the name of Zlap Zynski, with a broad musical spectrum and exceptional musicians. Unfortunately, only a small elite has had the chance to see Zlap live or hear their CD. I managed to obtain said CD through one of Greg's students and (without wanting to spoil the review below), it's undoubtedly one of the best harmpnica albums I've heard this year.

Unfortunately for Greg (and for you if these few paragraphs get your appetite going), his album 'Ternaire madness' is not distributed by the main record retail companies in France, so I cannot as of now tell you how to acquire it. You should be able to find more info about that on his website GregTime that has just opened. A word of advice : get your dictionary out, it's only in French !

Greg's harmonica style is versatile and very jazzy, technically impressive but doesn't sacrifice it's soul to this technique. Greg's use of overblows is so clean that they are impossible to distinguish from 'normal' notes. In other words, his Golden Melodies play chromatic in a very impressive way.

Zlap Zynski - Ternaire Madness

One of my friends who was going to see Zlap live asked me :'what style do they play ? Chicago ?'... The only possible reply being of course : all styles except classical ! One of the amazing things on this record is the versatility of its contents. Everything goes : Jazz, Acoustic Blues, Funk, Funky Jazz , Country, Folk Blues, and even Gospel are featured here ; and the most impressive is : they all work ! Who would've thought that a harmonica, furthermore played by the one harmonica player could blend into so many different musical styles ?
Anyway, this album is really a gem to the ear. Szlapczynsky is not by far the only excellent musician on this album, and when I listen to it it becomes obvious that this was never a 'harmonica player's album', but a rather a musician's album. My favourite pieces are the title track, 'ternaire madness', a hard-swinging jazzy instrumental with a harmonica melody leading to excellent guitar and keyboards solos ; and 'Blues bend boogie', an acoustic blues that never fails to get my feet tapping (how Greg manages to play the end of the theme over chord V at that speed I just don't know...
All in all, even though this album may be hard to acquire, make the effort, contact me of you can't manage to get it, but it's too good to be missed !