Artist Biography by Evan C. Gutierrez (allmusic.com)
Relish New York-based folk group/ethnomusicology experiment Hazmat Modine draw from a wide array of influences and time periods. Performing music from the ’20s through the early ’60s, including genres such as swing, klezmer, hokum jug band, blues, rocksteady, and more, the dual harmonica-fronted band has earned a reputation as fearless world music alchemists. Founder Wade Schuman was brought up in Ann Arbor, MI, a city known for its music scene, before relocating to New York. His mastery of early blues styles earned him opportunities to record with some of New York’s greatest, including an appearance on Joan Osborne’s Grammy-nominated Relish. Schuman also performed opposite Chicago native Randy Weinstein, a fellow harmonica great with a stellar performance record. Schuman’s bandmates include Joe Daley (tuba), Michael Gomez and Pete Smith (guitars), Pamela Fleming (trumpet), and Rich Huntley (drums). Other instrumental rarities like the sheng (a Chinese mouth organ) and the cimbalom (a Romanian hammer dulcimer) combined with unique repertoire drawn from artists including Slim Gaillard, Jimmy Rogers, Jaybird Coleman, and Irving Berlin opened doors for Hazmat Modine to perform in some of New York’s most exclusive venues. With growing public esteem and a fan base to match, the time came for Hazmat Modine’s debut release. Bahamut came out in 2006, landing a spot in Billboard’s Top Blues Albums category and numerous international charts. The band appeared on stages throughout North America and Europe, including performances at some of the world’s most renowned jazz festivals.