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Beyond The Blues: The Blues Harmonica In Jazz

davidking via Flickr

In the mid-1800s, a German harmonica manufacturer named Hohner started exporting his product to North America. Being relatively inexpensive, relatively easy to play and extremely portable, the harmonica (commonly called a "harp") was the perfect instrument for a nation on the move. Everybody from Abraham Lincoln to Billy the Kid had one.

Over time, its popularity has waxed and waned, and it's now heard most often in the context of blues music. But ever since Marion "Little Walter" Jacobs began playing saxophone lines on his harmonica in the late 1940s, the instrument has occasionally crossed over into the jazz world. Here, then, is a list of five great blues-harmonica players who have applied their skills and their instrument to jazz songs.

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