“Christo Redemptor” was first recorded by Donald Byrd in ’64 and written by Duke Pearson under the name “Christo Redentor”. Charlie Musselwhite’s version of the tune “Cristo Redemptor” is a classic harmonica instrumental. Charlie released it on his album ‘Stand Back’ in 1967 but we are going to analyze the extended version that he released in 1969 on the ‘Tennessee Woman’ CD. In this class we will cover the melody played in the introduction and some of his ideas later on in the solo. Have a listen to the song we will be learning here: https://youtu.be/SHPkxzs7pEE
It’s a perfect 3rd position song study for those who are comfortable bending. It’s played in the key of C minor on a Bb harmonica in 3rd position. We will review the minor pentatonic and blues scale for 3rd position which are both very approachable in the middle octave of the harmonica and available without overblowing on the lower octave.
From there, we will dissect the melody contained in the introduction of the song and discuss some nice patterns to consider when improvising in 3rd position across holes 1-10. This scale is extremely approachable and quite useful for many blues styles. While being a minor scale, you can confidently play it over a major song with great results too. It’s the most important position outside of 2nd position that harmonica players should learn.