Since I heard about the death of Terry McMillan at age 53, I’ve felt a deep sadness. I actually cried because I felt so touched by this man. This blog is a dedication to one of my favorite harmonica players and an opportunity to take a moment to celebrate his life.

I’ve always loved gospel harmonica. But the players I loved were old, black and dead (e.g. Reverend Gary Davis). That is, until Terry came around.

When you listen to the below YouTube video, I encourage you to send a blessing to this amazing harmonica player and remember that music transcends…and includes…all spiritualities. So whatever your beliefs are about life, treat yourself to a good ol’ time and let the spirit of Terry McMillan take you for a magical harmonica ride!

Thanks for sharing the ride with me!

(Terry is playing a Hohner Golden Melody in the key of C. If you’d like to play along, any 10-hole harmonica in the key of C will work)

For me Terry was not only a mind-blowing harmonica player, percussionist, drummer and SINGER …he was cool.

I met Terry in Greenwich Village, New York, sometime in the early 90s (after a gig he played with guitar virtuoso Larry Carlton).

I was a young, budding harmonica player and he was more than happy to hang out and show me every trick he knew. What an honor!

When I asked him which harmonica players he listened to for inspiration he surprised me when he said, “I listen to guitar players for harmonica inspiration.”

Wow! That Blew My Mind.

But then it all made sense. I remember the first time I heard, “A Cold Day In Hell” off Larry Carlton’s CD, Renegade Gentleman. I actually thought Terry’s harmonica was a guitar for a moment. For me, the first 30 seconds of that song is one of the greatest moments in harmonica history.

In honor of Terry, each month I’m going to dedicate a blog to a harmonica player who has touched the world.

I’m really curious if you enjoyed the above video and would love to hear from you. If you want you can leave your comments below. (If you wrote in on a previous blog,  I thank you! I read all your comments and they really make my day. Finding time to respond is another trick. I’m sure you understand).


JP Allen


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