Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Jason Rosenblatt interview

September 28, 2021 Neil Warren Season 1 Episode 47
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Jason Rosenblatt interview
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Jason Rosenblatt joins me on episode 47.

A native of Canada but now resident in Israel, Jason is best known for his band Shtreiml, playing a mixture of Klezmer (Jewish) and Eastern European music with great use of the harmonica. 

His first instrument was piano before he went on to pick up the harmonica after hearing Sonny Terry and Paul Butterfield. He then took advantage of the vibrant Montreal blues scene to witness harmonica live.

After hearing Howard Levy’s seminal ‘New Directions in Harmonica’ tutorial video, Jason knew he also wanted to take his own playing down a new path. He proceeded to take lessons with Howard, helping him to expand his sound using the overblow technique.

In 2015 Jason released his album Wiseman’s Rag, a slightly twisted take on the blues and jazz music that first got him started.


Jason's website:

Shtreiml band:

Jerusalem Harmonica Festival:

Joe Spiers custom harmonicas:


Grand Theft Stutinki - Shtreiml CD Launch:

Harmonica Jazz - Paper Moon:

Teaching: using overblows in blues context:

Teaching: Salt Creek:

Podcast website:



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Spotify Playlist: 

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

Podcast sponsor:

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

Born in Canada, recently relocated to Israel
First musical instrument learnt was the piano
Picked up the harmonica age 16 after hearing Sonny Terry and Paul Butterfield
Jason attended blues clubs (underage) in Montreal to check out local harp players
Great blues scene in Montreal, which is ‘festival town’
Piano influences
Lessons with Howard Levy
Connection between playing piano and playing diatonic chromatically using overblows and bends
Plays either more harmonica or piano, as the occasion calls
Playing the harmonica and piano at the same time
How Jason ensures he is hitting the correct pitch when playing overblows (and bends!)
Started learning chromatic over pandemic and comparisons to playing overblows on diatonic
Music scene in Israel
Jason’s wife plays trombone in band Schteiml, who have had good success
First album from Schteiml
Second album with Schteiml, called Spicy Paprikash
Jason is composer and producer for the band’s music, particularly on the band’s later albums
Eastern Hora album
Latest album from Schteiml, Har Meron, has a more jazz elements to the Eastern music
Mizmor album: a jazz album on which Jason plays only piano
Different scales used to play Eastern European music: Phyrgian sharp 3, Dorian sharp 4
Wiseman’s Rag album: “a slightly twisted take on blues, roots and early jazz”
Jason fronted another band called Jump Babylon, releasing more conventional pop songs
John Popper was an influence on Jason’s playing
How Jason constructs harmonica solos on the music he writes for his albums
Has released a book of his instrumental music: A Mother’s Pain
Jason has been involved in organising the Montreal Jewish music festival and a harmonica festival in Israel in November 2021
Has taught a masterclass at SPAH on playing in different modes
Teaches the harmonica to students
10 minute question
Jason’s main harmonicas of choice are Seydels, and same Joe Spiers custom harmonicas
Plays richter tuned harmonicas
Amps and mics
Equipment used for recording
Future plans