Hohner's Harmonica Artists Calendar
Paula and the Pontiacs is a New Orleans band which will take you on a joy ridewith soul, blues, and classic R&B. The dynamic 95 pounds of energy fronting for the Pontiacs is Paula Rangell. Her wailing harmonica, powerful vocals and soulful saxophone will make you listen in rapture or dance all night long.
This versatile and charismatic showwoman began studying classical music on the clairinet at an early age of seven. At the age of 14, Paula picked up the harmonica because blues music "had really gotten to her". With her love of jazz, she soon added the alto and soprano saxophones to her growing list of instruments.
Her instrumental influences range from the funky grooves of Lee Allen, King Curtis and Jr. Walker to the brilliant jazz of Charlie parker and John Coltrane, to the soulful harping of Jimmy Reed and Little Walter Jacobs. Paula's vocal inspirations are Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn, to name a few.
A professional position came quickly to such a talented musician, and in 1974 , Paula became the vocalist for the Les Za Zous Jazz Group, a band that was formed by her brother, saxophone player Bobby Rangell. Paula also performed with Rob McClerraan's Beegle Boys, a popular group in the Colorado region known for its unique blend of Southern Delta Blues and jug boogie band music, where she played the clairinet and harmonica and also sing.
In 1979 in Boulder, Colorado, Paula and drummer J.J. Juliano created the Pontiacs. They played R&B, funk and soul music extensively in the Rocky Mountain Region through 1981 when Paula moved to Austin, Texas. She became a fixture on the R&B scene in Texas, keeping the Pontiacs alive by always engaging excellent musicians. In addition, she played the alto saxophone and sang with the Toby Anderson Soul Band.
In Austin, Paula had the pleasure of playing and learning from the late , internationally-renown jazz bassist, Gene Ramey. Shae has also enjoyed jam sessions playing with Mel Brown, Hubert Sumlin, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, as well as many others.
In 1984, Paula moved to New Orleans where she currently resides and performs. The Pontiacs consist of Jack Morgan on Guitar, Willard Ainsworth on bass and James Ledet on drums.
Paula has entertained in the Crescent City with such greats as Earl King, Little Queenie, John Mooney, George Porter, the Batisle Brothers, Ramsey McLean, Charles and Cjarmaine Neville and the Joe "Cool" Davis Gospel Group. During the World's Fair, Paula played Dixiekand jazz on clairinet and saxophone with the Riverside Ramblers, performing nightly on the Riverboat "Natchez" as it cruised the Mississippi.
The Pontiacs are definately on the road to success with Paula Rangell at the wheel, and they're cruising with plenty of determination and musical talent.
Paula plays Hohner's Marine Band 1986, 560 Special 20's and 214 Vest Pocket harmonicas.