When jump blues guitarist Doug Deming's band was hired in 2006 to back up harmonica master Gary Primich, Deming was already an admirer of Primich's music. "I liked his approach," Deming said. "We shared a musical vision. It was a pleasure to meet him and an honor to play with him." After that it didn't take long for Deming to become an equally ardent fan of the man himself. "He was one of the guys. It wasn't about any ego or star time. Gary was about getting the job done." Continuing a longstanding connection to Primich and his music Doug Deming and his band the Jewel Tones take part in the First Annual Grand Rapids Harmonica Summit, a Tribute to Gary Primich, on Sept 6 in Grand Rapids. Deming will play the original songs of Primich and then back some of the brightest names in the blues harmonica world today. The harp players expected to descend on the St Cecilia Music Society for this one day event include Dennis Gruenling, Peter Madcat Ruth, and Hank Mowery. Deming and Primich shared a musical camaraderie before they ever met. Deming's buoyant, bouncy hollow-body guitar turned into a perfect match for the Tiny Grimes side of Primich, who passed away in 2007. Deming's dart tip emotion-loaded solid body guitar had pinpoint accuracy on the slow blues. "Within the blues genre Gary did a real variety of traditional styles," Deming said on the way to a tour stop in Springfield IL. "That's kind of where I live as well. I'm a fan of all the early American music which is largely blues based. It has a jump blues feel and we throw in a little jazz with a touch of rockabilly. It all filters into to a style we've developed." Deming, who ended up being the last guitar player for Gary Primich, has fond memories of their time together. "I was his last guitar player for his last few tours. We did a Midwest tour up into Canada in the spring before he passed. He was a great guy, always fun to be around. He liked nothing more than to hang out, listen or play some good music, and watch a football game."
The First Annual Grand Rapids Harmonica Summit, Sept 6, St. Cecilia Music Society, 7 pm. $10 at the door.