Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Jens Bunge interview

June 10, 2022 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 63
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Jens Bunge interview
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Jens Bunge joins me on episode 63.

Jens is a German chromatic player who started out playing the tremolo, before discovering Stevie Wonder. He then found Toots Thielemans and he started teaching himself jazz by ear and joined the local big band. He released his first album in 1991 with members of this band, and has since released a number of other albums of mostly original material, as well as guesting on albums by other artists. 

Jens has travelled extensively, particular in Asia, where he has tapped into the burgeoning chromatic harmonic scene there, and has been invited to play at numerous concerts and the Asian harmonica festivals. Jens is also appearing at the HarmonicaUK Chromatic Weekend June 18/19, 2022.




Soundcloud for more of Jens’ recordings:

Hohner ‘Masters of the Harmonica’:

HarmonicaUK Chromatic Weekend:


The Getaway soundtrack: end credits:

That Misty Red Beast played by Jens:

Silent Dreams:

Tribute to Toots & Bill with Andreas Hertel trio:

2016 HarmonicaUK festival with Chris Collis:

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/

Jens is a chromatic player from Germany, who started out playing tremolo
Doesn’t play any diatonic harmonica
What Jens would say to promote the chromatic to diatonic players
From a small town near Heidelberg in south west Germany
What inspired Jens to take up the harmonica
Started playing some harmonica with school choir
First instrument was a melodica, and then guitar
Starting playing chromatic aged 18 when heard Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder
Is a self-taught player
Participated in the World Harmonica Championship in Trossingen
The first time Jens became aware of embouchre (he plays pucker)
Lack of learning material for chromatic harmonica when Jens was learning
No way to slow down recordings in the pre-computer age
Stevie Wonder’s Fingertips
First heard Toots Thielemans on The Getaway movie soundtrack
Played along with German pop songs on the radio
Playing along with Toots
Jens learnt jazz with use of Aebersold backing tracks, Band In A Box and playing along to chords on guitar
Mainly learnt by ear, while also learning to read music
Joined a big band in Germany where he also played trumpet solos (on the Cornet)
Released first album in 1991, Harmonicology and inexperience of the first album
Getting the right sound in recording harmonica by using a dynamic and not a condenser mic
Musical travels started when won a small amount in the lottery and how it led to recording album in the US: Meet You In Chicago
It’s A Beautiful World album from 1994
Releases original songs as record companies make more money that way
With All My Heart album, released in 1996
Tangoletta song is only one Jens uses octave playing, and has been his most lucrative recording to date
Joe Powers is the specialist harmonica player for tango music
Duo album released in 2004: Pas De Deux, with songs recorded to the ‘character of wine’
Jens has travelled and performed in Asia extensively, and Shangai Blue album from 2009
Shangai Blue is Jens’ last album: may not record another whole album due to costs involved
Now releasing music on digital platforms
Jens will be producing his own music video for his song Silent Dreams
How Jens got involved in the Asian harmonica scene
Recording with Andreas Hertel, a German piano player
Recorded some film music in Germany and also for a Bollywood movie
Wrote a jazz column for the Harmonica Educator magazine
Jens is teaching at the HarmonicaUK Chromatic Weekend event June 18/19, 2022
10 minute question
Played in festivals around the world
Jens is a Hohner endorsee and plays Super 64 Performance chromatic now after trying a few Hohner models
Likes the 16 hole model for the extra range
Has he tried some of newer models from other manufacturers, such as Seydel Symphony
Uses Shure SM58 mic and Mark Bass acoustic amp
Uses PA when available
Effects: sometimes uses a little reverb when playing live, but not when recording
Future plans