Don DeStefano

Don D

Don "Don D." DeStefano Born with the full name Donald Walter DeStefano, sharing the same middle name as legendary blues harp virtuoso Marion "Little Walter" Jacobs, Don may have well been destined to play the harmonica. Picking up the instrument as a teenager, he didn't seriously study the harmonica until attending college in the Midwest, when he came under the spell of the Chicago blues style, observing such legends as Junior Wells and Big Walter Horton who were still actively gigging in the Windy City during the 70's. Back home in Connecticut, James Cotton and Magic Dick with the J. Geils Band were frequently performing in the area at that time and provided further inspiration...especially Cotton who performed regularly at some nearby nightclubs, whom Don would occasionally ask for any tips or tricks in mastering harmonica.

Over the years Don eventually became more proficient on the harmonica, and also learning guitar, performing with many different acts of various musical genres playing blues, bluegrass, rock, country, folk, reggae, and most notably R&B/funk/soul. Don's harmonica style is a musical gumbo inspired by traditional blues legends, such as Little Walter, Rice Miller, Walter Horton and the modern blues/rock and R&B/soul practitioners; Paul Butterfield, Lee Oskar, Magic Dick, Stevie Wonder, Norton Buffalo, and legendary Nashville recording session, country and bluegrass harmonica virtuoso, Charlie McCoy...and his playing is also heavily influenced by many R&B horn players such as King Curtis, Junior Walker, Maceo Parker, and Grover Washington Jr.

Don has performed across the four corners of North America, from Alaska to the Canadian Maritimes, southern California to the Caribbean, and points in between. In addition to performing steadily over the past 30+ years and sharing the stage with such notable musicians as, Mark Naftalin (of the Paul Butterfield Band), Eric Von Schmidt, and Jimmy Vivino & Mike Merrit (of the Max Weinberg 7) and opening for many major artists including Robert Cray, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Peter Wolf, Greg Rolie Band (of Santana) and Rick Derringer, Don also has been active as a studio musician, recording on several commercial jingles and songwriter demos. His harmonica and slide guitar playing were featured a few years back on recordings by two of America's musical icons: bluesman B.B. King and country star Johnny Cash. His harmonica playing has also been featured on CD releases by Peter Gale ("Landlord Of Love"), Gershwin's Roommate ("Walking On Water Wasn't Built In A Day"), jazz vocalist Sally O'Brien's ("Passion"), the collaboration CD (The Cutting Room Sessions) by two of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands most popular music entertainers, Becca Darling & Barefoot Davis, along with Davis's newest release (Barefoot Dreamin') and the recently released single, (Wicked Man Rail) by Connecticut based, power funk/rock trio, Solistic. Don also appeared as an on-air guest, along with internationally renowned harmonica virtuoso, Howard Levy, on a radio broadcast dedicated to the harmonica,"Harmonica Heroes Take Over WNPR" on the nationally syndicated Colin McEnroe Show on WNPR Public Radio.

In addition, he has reprised the legendary harmonica performance of Paul Butterfield in the critically acclaimed Martin Scorsese concert movie by The Band,"The Last Waltz", as a performer with the musical re-creation "Last Waltz Live." In addition to his performing and recording credits, his willingness to share his knowledge on all things "harmonica", Don has also written numerous articles on harmonica repair and customization, and amplifier modification for harmonica use in several print and online publications.

For the past 21 years, Don D. was a member of the popular Connecticut based R&B party band, The Bernadettes. Known for their high energy, sweat drenched, no holds barred shows, and packed dance floors, The Bernadettes have gained a reputation as "the" A-list, "must have, must see", high society party band in southern New England and the greater New York City area. Performing a repertoire of classic soul, Motown hits, and "boogie till ya drop" funk...unique to the band is that there are no "horns", but a full time harmonica player, copping all the horn parts! Don D's masterful use of the harmonica in the R&B/funk/soul genres made him an integral part of The Bernadettes show. The band was in such demand that they're usually booked up solid, a year in advance for weddings, private, and corporate events.

For several years, Don divided his time with both The Bernadettes and Creamery Station, but is now devoting his musical talents full time with roots/Americana jam band, Creamery Station... In little more than two years and nearly 200 shows under their belt, the band has evolved into a powerhouse on the jam band festival scene with a unique sound the people can’t get enough of! Within this relatively short time, the band has risen through the ranks having done shows with national acts such as Twiddle, John Kadlecik Band, Max Creek, Pink Talking Fish, The Garcia Project, Kitchen Dwellers, & many more. The band is primarily focused on developing their original material, the songs have already become crowd favorites. Alongside a healthy mix of classic songs you know and love, this eclectic, multi genre band, with their unique blend of bluegrass, blues, reggae, and soul, and dynamic improvisations has been garnering some serious attention lately delivering stellar performances that you don’t want to miss!

Don is genuinely pleased to become a SEYDEL endorser, stating that the 1847 series are without a doubt the best "out of the box" factory harmonica around with incredible tone, response, and durability...add the fact that SEYDEL offers so many alternate tunings and extended ranges in all keys is a godsend for any harp player looking to break out of the "blues box" and increase their versatility and ability to play different musical genres and styles.

 

>The Creamery Station's webpage



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Don DeStefano
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