Between his huge, blast-furnace sound, his larger-than-life personality, and his massive frame, Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica master James "Mr. Superharp" Cotton is a blues giant in every respect. Cotton, who in 2012 is celebrating his 68th year as a professional musician (starting at the age of nine), has recorded almost 30 solo albums, including two highly-regarded releases for Alligator in the 1980s and the famed Harp Attack! with Junior Wells, Carey Bell, and Billy Branch in 1990. The New York Daily News calls Cotton "the greatest living blues harmonica player." The New York Times adds, "Cotton helped define modern blues harmonica with his moaning, wrenching phrases and his train-whistle wails."
Over the course of his storied career, Cotton has seemingly done it all. As a small boy he learned harmonica directly from Sonny Boy Williamson. He toured with Howlin' Wolf, recorded for Sun Records, and spent twelve years with Muddy Waters before stepping out on his own. Leading his own band, he rose to the very top of the blues and rock scenes, touring the world nonstop and earning his reputation as one of the most powerful live blues performers in the world.
Cotton is one of the few bluesmen to have the power to literally suck the reeds out of the harmonica from the pure force of his playing. He brings that power back to Alligator Records with his latest album Giant (2010), a ferocious blast of brash boogie blues. Produced by Cotton, Jacklyn Hairston, and Derek O'Brien, and recorded by Stuart Sullivan at Wire Recording in Austin, Texas, Giant features 12 tracks, including four new Cotton originals and co-writes, alongside songs made famous by Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Ivory Joe Hunter, and others. Throughout his career, Cotton has always led great bands, and the players on Giant are no exception. With guitarists and vocalists Slam Allen and Tom Holland, bassist Noel Neal, and drummer Kenny Neal Jr., Giant is not just a reminder of Cotton's legendary status - it is a vibrant, hard-hitting album made by one of the true blues masters.