Big Harp George

Big Harp George

San Francisco singer songwriter and harmonica man Big Harp George made a smart move across the bay taking his act to Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, CA to work with his team on his seventh studio album. The pair enlisted top players to lay down a dozen new tracks of simmering soul, funk and jazzy blues aptly named Cooking With Gas.

Monster drummers Derrick D’Mar Martin and June Core share rhythmic duties with Joe Kyle Jr. and the legendary Jerry Jemmott on bass, while Kid Andersen handles the guitars, and producer Chris Burns tinkles the keyboards and trombone genius, Mike Rinta, leads the five-piece horn section with the Sons of the Soul Revivers stepping up to the mic on backing vocals. With a team like that in the kitchen how could one go wrong.

The tongue-in-cheek title track is the first dish of this musical feast with George comparing his love life to a culinary conundrum on the piano driven track that evokes sonic images of Eddie Harris & Les McCann in their heyday. George blends satire with swing on the timely commentary on our reliance of handhelds during “Cellphone Hater,” followed by an adventure ride on the Salsa flavored “Doom Loop.” George channels Amos Milburn on “Wine Is My Friend,” singing the praises of his favored libation on the classic R&B styled track. Saxophonist Michael Peloquin wrote the JB’s styled funk instrumental “ Maceosity,” honoring Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, and the great players, who originated the art form backing the Godfather of Soul. The theatrical tome “Awkward Me,” is orchestrated like a 1930’s radio melodrama and the whole crew swings hard on the zany “What The Missus Misses,” and its 50’s sitcom theme song vibe.

George demonstrates his vaunted skill on the chromatic harmonica on the sweetly swinging instrumental “June’s Tune,” named after the much-loved drummer and the spicy rhumba, “DIY Mama,” is a modern twist on a classic form. George asks the tough questions on the thought provoking “Paradise Is Burning,” and then pokes fun at himself and fellow men of a certain age on the big band number “The Older We Get.” The sentimental ballad, “When I First Held Valerie,” finishes off the banquet with George using his blues harp to convey his deep feelings of love and inspiration.

Rick J Bowen


Big Harp George/George Bisharat is a San Francisco Bay Area blues singer, songwriter, and chromatic harmonica player. The chromatic, compared to the 10-hole diatonic more common to blues, has a distinctive voice, giving Big Harp George a jazzy and sophisticated sound. He is increasingly recognized as one of the most incisive and often hilarious songwriters in contemporary blues.

Big Harp George’s 2014 debut release Chromaticism earned “Best New Artist” award nominations from the Blues Foundation and Blues Blast Magazine, as well as high praise from music critics. Wash My Horse in Champagne (2016) and Uptown Cool (2018) followed, earning extensive airplay and even wider critical acclaim.

Subsequent releases in 2020 (Living in the City), and 2023 (Cut My Spirit Loose and Big Harp George Does Christmas) garnered similarly enthusiastic listener and critical response, culminating in George’s nomination by Blues Blast Magazine as Harmonica Player of the Year.

Before prioritizing music, George was a criminal defense attorney, award-winning professor of law at UC College of the Law, San Francisco, and expert commentator on law and politics in the Middle East. There’s a great interview about George in Blues Blast –





MAY 15, 2024