About Blues Music: Little Walter Jacobs

About Blues Music: Little Walter Jacobs

Born: August 16, 1915

Died: May 30, 1976

An innovator of blues harmonica, Marion Walter Jacobs, a.k.a. “Little Walter,” is the only artist inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame as a harmonica player. Born and raised in Louisiana, Jacobs quit school when he was 12. He later worked odd jobs and lived in New Orleans, Memphis, Arkansas, St. Louis and Helena, developing his skills on guitar and harmonica with older bluesmen as guides before hitting the Chicago blues scene in 1947. On Maxwell Street at the Jewish market district, Jacobs met and played with other musicians for tips and also learned guitar. He joined the Muddy Waters Band in 1948 and became an integral part of Chicago blues sound. Little Walter is a blues pioneer for being the first to intentionally use electronic distortion, created by pushing his harmonica amplifiers beyond technical limits.

What is Blues Music About According to Walter Jacobs: Jacobs’ music was about energy, creativity and flexibility. He fused the styles of John Lee Williamson with the jump blues of saxophonist Louis Jordan.

How to Gear up like Walter Jacobs: To play like Jacobs, try a Hohner Special 20 in the key of C or a Hohner Marine Band harmonica.

Essential Blues Music Tracks from Walter Jacobs:

Mean Old World

Teenage Beat

Blues with a Feeling

Famous for Playing With: Sonny Boy Williamson II, Sunnyland Slim, Honeyboy Edwards, Muddy Waters

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