I have always been fascinated by those who could play the harmonica. It’s an instrument that when properly played, adds so much to a song and can send chills when featured in a solo part within a song. It’s essential in any blues song and has become a focus in jazz, rocking blues, country and appears as a welcome cross over for other genres of music.

I spent some time in Chicago, I lived there for seven years and frequently I would head down to the blues clubs on the south side and hear some terrific music. Depending on the group or artist, you could tell the good harmonica players from just another musician filling in the necessary element.

I’ve had the honor and pleasure to meet and work with one of the most talented harmonica players in the world. Meet Rob Paparozzi. If you Google best harmonica players you’ll see his name pop up among some music icons.

John Posada

He’s Jersey through and through, born in Newark, Rob has played with major artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Judy Collins just to name a few.

He played with the Original Blues Brothers and led his vocals and harmonica talents to Blood, Sweat and Tears. He’s fronted his own band The Hudson River Rats which sometimes features our friend Bernard Purdie, the world’s most recorded drummer. Rob has toured all over the world and was a guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center and appeared there again a year later with the talented Jeff Beck.

Pat Guadagno, our musical director for The Big Joe Henry Variety Show introduced me to Rob about six years ago when we were doing our TV show. I enjoyed meeting him and hearing some of the great stories of his travels and music collaborations.

Rob’s passion for entertaining and playing is what I believe makes his talent so apparent. He captures the audience and sells every song that he plays. You feel like you are a part of his music. I enjoyed our discussions about music and entertaining and have subsequently had Rob on our live show on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights the last two years.

I have also seen Rob play with Pat Guadagno’s big shows for his tribute to Bob Dylan at Bobfest and Pat’s Van Morrison tribute show, he kills it every time.

Enjoy an interview with Rob from my TV show, and a video of him playing at the Morristown Blues and Jazz Festival. Enjoy it and the next time you hear a harmonica, appreciate the instrument and its contribution to great music.

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