An uncle gave Paul a harmonica at the age of 12, but he did not learn how to make it until the day before, followed by hauling groceries to a school job, a customer who just tried to become a blues musician. was doing. To play “Red River Valley” And proceeded to teach him the ropes.
By 15 he was playing at the Black Club in Brooklyn and became part of a network of musicians in that scene. He was 17 years old when he met Mr. Waters one night after a Waters show at the Apollo Theater in Harlem; Three years later, when Mr. Waters returned to New York City for a gig and lacked a harmonica player, he invited Mr. Oscar to sit. At the end of the show, Mr. Waters offered him a job.
For a time Mr. Osser lived in the basement of Mr. Waters’ Chicago home, sharing space with Otis Spahn, the noted Chicago blues pianist and member of the Mr. Waters Band. Mr. Oscar later stated that he had learned his blues timing from Mr. Spann.
He toured with the band throughout Europe and America, often dressed like his bandmates in a red brocade Nehru jacket. (Mr. Waters wore a black suit.) When they collided with the isolated South, they were not usually allowed to stay in the same hotel as their bandmates, and they remembered that as a sign How the group fell on the road one day. Declaring, “You’re entering Klan County.”
Mr. Oskar left the band in the early 1970s to pursue a solo career back home in New York City. Over the years he performed with Eric Clapton, Levon Helm, T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker and many others.
In addition to harmonica, he played piano and guitar, often at the same time – his harmonica in a neck rack, guitar on his lap and one hand on the keyboard. He also played the roles of Accordion and Vibronone.
In the late 1990s, Mr. Oscar was playing at Frank’s Cocktail Lounge in Brooklyn when they met Suzan-Lori ParkPlaywright and writer, and he asked her to teach him to play the harmonica. They married in 2001 and amicably in 2008, later divorced but remaining friends. Mr. Oscar did not have any survivors.