It’s probably a good thing Carlos wasn’t there when the harmonica appeared in North America in the 1860s. Neil Young and Bob Dylan can probably roll with it when he says they are very mediocre harmonica players. Aspiring harmonica players Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid might have overreacted and pulled out their pistols.
Carlos has been awarded Gold Medals from the Hohner World Harmonica Championship in Trossingen, Germany, as well as multiple national awards in Canada which includes Carlos’ eight time Harmonica Player of The Year wins at the Maple Leaf Blues Awards.
To say he plays the harmonica is like saying “Jimi Hendrix plays guitar”. He blows the blues harp through a prism — suddenly it seems he’s holding every colour in the musical rainbow right there in his hands. Simultaneously sophisticated and raw, his playing blurs the boundaries between blues and jazz (hence the name for his band “The Blues Mongrels”, they could just as well be called “The Jazz Mongrels”). The emphasis is on blues, but they are not afraid to merrily traipse off in other directions delivering a seamless fusion of New Orleans second line grooves, jazz swing, Latin, hip-hop or ska melodies, to swampy roots rock.
The Blues Mongrels are: bassist Henry Heillig (founded the nine piece Latin band Manteca), and guitarist Eric St. Laurent. Get ready to trash all you thought you knew about the harmonica. The Blues Mongrels deliver a no-holds-barred display of fun and melodic virtuosity.
For more information about Carlos: http://www.carlosdeljunco.com
2010 JUNO NOMINATION for STEADY MOVIN’ cd
1997 – 2013 Harmonica Player of the Year – EIGHT time WINNER
2005 “Best Blues” Award – NOW Magazine, Toronto, ON
1998 JUNO NOMINATION for BIG BOY cd
1996 Blues Musician of the Year Award: Jazz Report Magazine
1993 Hohner World Harmonica Championship – Trossingen, Germany Two Gold Medals in both diatonic blues and diatonic jazz
“…a model of focus and urgency..a true virtuoso..
Brad Wheeler – The Globe and Mail
“One listen to the man who bent his first notes on the harmonica at the age of fourteen and it’s obvious he’s in a class with such greats as Toots Theilemans, Paul Butterfield, and Howard Levy…
Peter North – The Edmonton Journal
“FOUR (out of 4) STARS – Latest Cd Review: MONGREL MASH
It’s not likely that you’ll ever hear the harmonica played so well and in so many different ways than at the hands of Cuban-born Torontonian Carlos del Junco. But what makes his album an especial treat is the sheer let’s-do-it positive energy that radiates from the eclectic collection of nine tracks. Mongrel Mash refers to the crazy mix of styles, ranging from deep, heavy-duty blues-rock (“Mojo”) to Herb Alpert’s slightly cheesy “Slick,” and jivin’ “Lil’ Laptop” to sweet, rootsy ballad “The Field,” which arrives via languid dobro set-up. Del Junco may be the headliner, but the songs and arrangements shine the light on an excellent band of equals who all get some time in the sonic spotlight. There is something here to put a smile on anyone’s face — and it only gets better with each listen. My favourite: Del Junco’s own “My Favourite Uncle,” a gently hip-swinging sweep down Louisiana way.
John Terauds – TORONTO STAR