Bob Margolin and Frank Salis’ H3O: Back To the Blues

After the Christmas holidays and the new year’s symphony concert (where I had the pleasure to listen to a great concert of Beethoven’s 9th symphony) it was time to go back to the roots – back to the blues. This week offered the right choice to do that:

1. Bob Margolin in Marian’s Jazzroom: Bob Margolin, who played between 1973 and 1980 in Muddy Water’s band came with Tad Walters on guitar and harmonica and Chuck Cotton on drums.

Quite an unusual setup but Bob showed where the blues is coming from: A man with guitar sings the blues. Some friends join in – that’s it. The way Bob Margolin plays the guitar reminded me very strong of the sound of Muddy Waters and this is also something Bob admits himself:

“Having spent so much time on bandstands with Muddy playing next to me, listening super-critically to my every note, I still feel like he’s there, judging everything I play, and giving me special inspiration, and sometimes a smile, sometimes a dirty look.”

It was not any different this evening, the spirit that came from Bob Margolin was full of that feeling sucked in from his time with Muddy. And the stories he told, showed how the blues, how this inspiration is handed over from generation to generation. Bob Margolin does it the same way as he learned it before, he brought Tad Walters as the young guy to teach it.

Bob played some of his tunes, some classic blues pieces and a little bit of country-blues (we heard “The Weight”).  After starting rather slowly, the band picked up during the show and it became a nice evening with a lot of memories coming up.

Bob Margolin “didn’t want to scare us” with too loud or to fast songs, but the second group I saw this week didn’t really care about that.

2. Frank Salis H3O feat. Francis Coletta in the bejazz club: Frank Salis (org),  Marco Nevano (sax), Rocco Lombardi (dr) from Ticino together with Francis Coletta (g) from Fribourg didn’t waste any thoughts if it could be too loud or too fast, they played what they love – groovy and funky jazz music. Franko Nevano’s playing has a heavy blues touch and Francis Coletta adds the hard-bop component to this band. The H3O band is very well rehearsed, Francis Coletta was in the studio to record the “Stonebreaker” CD in 2011 and joins every now and then the band.

These guys knew each other very well but that did not save the audience from surprises: The young talented singer Céline Piguet joined the band to sing one song at the end of each set. And here I had my deja-vu. Again people with different experience and age come together and pass on this spirit for live, rhythmic and improvised music from generation to generation.

If you like a groovy-funky jazz-organ then don’t miss this band, Frank Salis knows how to play this instrument very well and he is backed-up with an excellent drummer and a bluesy saxophone. If you get the chance to see H3O with Francis Coletta, even better, because he added the special touch with his guitar solos to this evening.

Two very good concerts which had one thing in common and brought me back to the roots of jazz music. It was indeed an excellent start in the new year.

The iTunes widgets contain links to two albums with Bob Margolin. The young Bob in Muddy Waters’ famous CD “Hard Again” and the grown-up Bob on his solo CD “In North Carolina”:


Frank Salis’ CD is not available on iTunes (you can order it directly from him, look at,  but I have added a live video which is found on YouTube:

My Favorite CD Shops

What was once a main street business has become a niche market: the CD store.

The way music is sold has significantly changed over the last few years. Huge CD stores with multiple floors where you could get everything from Bach to Zappa have been closed and the CD stores (even in major cities) are difficult to find. The biggest players are now online with Amazon and iTunes as the leaders of the pack. In addition, streaming services like Spotify use the availability of the web to propose their music “to go”.

Entertainment retail stores offer bigger departments for computer games then for CDs, and for the Jazz lovers the choice is typically reduced to the stuff from the marketing campaigns of the big music labels. Shelves of CDs are only equipped with Jamie Cullum, Diana Krall or Gregory Porter. Even if the music is nice and entertaining, once you have bought the CDs there is no need to go into that store again. There is nothing to discover there, no hidden treasures and no local artist you have seen recently in a jam session or a concert.

I’m one of those die-hards who love to hold a CD in their hands and carry it around e.g. to listen to it in the car and for that reason I’m constantly looking around where to get new and interesting material.

Lucky enough for me, there still is a nice CD store in Bern where you can go to search and discover those hidden treasures.

The store is called Roody Be Goode Records and it is right in the center of Bern. The exact address is Spitalgasse 36. The store is in the basement of the building so from the street you should see only the singing black lady and a banner with the store’s logo but when you take the the steep stairs down you find the biggest selection of Jazz and Blues in Bern. You find all the popular stuff (obviously) but also all the local Jazz and Blues artists.


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In addition there is also a very nice CD store on the web which I would like to introduce to you: It’s called

They call themselves the best independent music store on the web and I think that online store is also full of interesting stuff you will never find at the big stores. I discovered CDs from some of my favorite guitar players like Frank Vignola, Bruce Forman or Mark Whitfield on This online store gives all those artists that manage their CDs themselves a platform to sell their music online. The store is very well organized and you’re able to listen to all the songs before buying.

They are able to handle the distribution to international addresses as well, it just takes a little bit more time, but the stuff is well wrapped and your CDs should arrive without damages.

And: I received the funniest automatically generated mail ever when my order was being shipped.

Finally, I found a third way of buying CDs: Go to a concert and buy the music directly there. If you are lucky, you even get an autograph from the artists making your CD really a collector’s item.