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.
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.
Don is an endorser of and sponsored by Seydel Harmonicas, the worlds oldest harmonica manufacturer.
Besides performing and recording, Don teaches beginning, intermediate, and advanced students the fundamentals of the diatonic harmonica (blues harp) and will cover genres such as folk, blues, rock, country, R&B, and bluegrass. Techniques such as chording, scales, note bending, alternate tunings and positions, and music theory as it is applied to the harmonica. An introduction to beginning blues chromatic harmonica for intermediate and advanced students. Don has been teaching harmonica for 20 years.
Don is sponsored by and is an endorser of Seydel Harmonicas.
Don now has his own Seydel Artist page…visit him at: Don D’s Seydel artist page…