Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Jim Hughes interview

October 26, 2020 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 26
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Jim Hughes interview
Show Notes Chapter Markers

British Chromatic royalty Jim Hughes joins me on episode 26.

Jim has been playing professionally for over 60 years. From his early success in harmonica competitions, he went on to forge a successful career as a session musician, with countless appearances on the BBC, including playing on the hit TV show, Last Of The Summer Wine. 

Jim set up quite possibly the biggest harmonica festival of all time, The World Harmonica Championship in Jersey, 1987, as well as involvement in other festivals. He has several albums to his name and is a harmonica teacher who has helped guide some real star pupils to go on to achieve great things.

Select the Chapter Markers tab above to select different sections of the podcast (website version only).

Roger Trobridge's Archivist site:

Dror Adler Classical Music project info:

Franz Chmel

Ricky Cool:


Ronald Chesney Flight Of the Bumble Bee

Jersey World Harmonica Festival 1987

Philip Achille - The Story So Far, including a duet with Jim (4 mins in):

Jim playing at the NHL event Birmingham 1988:

Audio recording Jim playing at a NHL concert in 1983:

Harmonica Group Jim ran:

Hotcha Trio:

Fata Morgana:

My Funny Valentine, at Jim’s 90th birthday party:

Franz Chmel YouTube Channel:

Podcast website:

If you want to make a voluntary donation to help support the running costs of the podcast then please use this link (or visit the podcast website link above):

Spotify Playlist:
Also check out the Spotify Playlist, which contains most of the songs discussed in the podcast:

Podcast sponsors:
This podcast is sponsored by SEYDEL harmonicas - visit the oldest harmonica factory in the world at www.seydel1847.com  or on Facebook or Instagram at SEYDEL HARMONICAS
and Blows Me Away Productions: http://www.blowsmeaway.com/

Jim has been playing professionally for 60 years
First started playing in the army
Larry Adler was Jim’s first inspiration
Golden Age of chromatic harmonica
Harmonica News magazine published by Hohner
Entered a harmonica competition from Hohner and placed second
Great Chromatic players of the past
Jim was winning harmonica competitions in the 1950s
Jim formed various harmonica bands
Changed from being an ear player to learning to read music
Took some ‘lessons’ from Tommy Reilly
Started working for the BBC
Jim’s first appearance on TV, playing a duet with Tommy Reilly
Playing with Johnny Patrick and others, made thousands of broadcasts
Started doing session work and become an efficient sight reader
Last Of The Summer Wine
The different harmonica players who recorded on Last of the Summer Wine
The different harmonica players who recorded on Last of the Summer Wine
How Jim developed his sight reading abilities
Chromatic harmonica is Jim’s only instrument
Jim organised the World Harmonica Championship in Jersey in 1987
Jim met Dror Adler in Jersey
Advised on setting-up a festival in Israel and teaching there for four years
Jersey festival led to establishment of the regular Trossingen festival
Jim is part of the museum in Trossingen
Pari Passu album
James Moody album his music for the harmonica
Some of Jim’s star students: Julian Jackson, Adam Glasser and Philip Achille
Jim held harmonica posts at two prestigious music colleges in the UK
Album with Paul Lewis
A Taste of Summer Wine album, containing swing jazz pieces
Christmas recordings with Rob Janssen from Fata Morgana
John Barry concerts
Jim’s 90th birthday party last year
Organised the Harmonica Orchestra of Great Britain
How Jim developed his tone
Franz Chmel
Legato playing and tackling the multiple C notes
10 minute question
Jim has written some Chromatic Harmonica exercise books
What harmonicas does Jim play
Only plays chromatics in key of C
Does Jim play any diatonic?
Has used customisers to keep his harmonicas in shape
Amps and mics
One of Jim’s favourite current chromatic players
How to keep people playing the chromatic harmonica