Roy Blumenfeld Drums, Vocals
Roy Blumenfeld had a ringside seat from his drum kit on some of the most exciting musical events in New York City during the mid-'60s. Born in the Bronx in 1944, he reached his teens as the first wave of American rock & roll was being created. He took up the drums and found himself drawn to blues, R&B, and jazz. Blumenfeld linked up with bassist Andy Kulberg through work with Al Kooper on the latter's early solo recordings for the Elektra Records sampler What's Shakin'. In 1965, he joined guitarist Danny Kalb in the latter's new band, which, with the addition of Kooper to the lineup, became the Blues Project. Blumenfeld was one of the longest serving members of the renowned group, whose mixture of R&B, blues, jazz, folk, and rock & roll influences made them a major cult band of the '60s, and a huge influences on generations of other musicians. He was there past its end: with Kulberg, he formed Seatrain out of the ruins of the Blues Project in 1968. He played on folk singer Mark Spoelstra's self-titled album for Columbia Records in 1969, and also on the subsequent Blues Project reunions. Blumenfeld worked with Nick Gravenites in the '70s and Robert Hunter at various times in the '80s and '90s, but his most visible gig was with Kooper on the live shows that became Soul of a Man.
Back in the mythic Summer of Love, 1967 -- if you were in New York City, the place to be was MacDougal Street. The club to be in was the Cafe Au Go Go, pedigreed in hipness by Lenny Bruce's famous profanity bust there by the NYPD. The Au Go Go's star band was the Blues Project, a group on the cutting edge of improvisational, classical, blues and jazz. Danny Kalb was the Project's lead guitarist and vocalist; Al Kooper was the keyboardist and vocalist; Steve Katz was its guitarist and vocalist; There was Andy Kulberg on bass and flute. And the drummer -- the heartbeat -- for the group was Roy Blumenfeld.
Steve Katz Guitar, Vocals
Guitarist/singer/songwriter/storyteller Steve Katz has played on an enviable string of recordings during the 1960s and '70s in acoustic folk, jazz, blues, R&B, hard rock, and almost every other popular genre that's come along in America since the start of the 1960s.
Katz was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1945 and grew up in the upstate city of Schenectady. Already a gifted musician in his early teens, he was good enough to get hired for a local television program called Teenage Barn, doing his versions of pop hits of the late '50s.
As he got older, Steve was drawn to folk music and blues. He studied traditional American guitar styles with Dave Van Ronk and the Rev. Gary Davis. Eventually, he became part of a circle of similarly minded folk and blues enthusiasts who formed the Even Dozen Jug Band, which also included John Sebastian, Maria Muldaur, David Grisman, and Stefan Grossman.
After moving to Greenwich Village, Steve Katz became an established part of the Village music scene, eventually joining The Blues Project, New York City's first major home-grown contribution to blues- rock. The Blues Project had an impact on music that far exceeded their relatively modest record sales. Katz was part of the Blues Project lineup that played the Monterey Pop Festival.
Later that same year, with Blues Project bandmate, Al Kooper, Katz founded the original Blood Sweat & Tears. He recorded five albums with the band. Throughout the end of the 1960s and early 70s, Katz performed at countless historic venues including the Fillmore East, and several major rock festivals including Woodstock. Among a host of other awards, the band
won three Grammies, including one for Album of the Year. Steve's influence on BS&T resulted in several chart topping hits and millions of record sales worldwide. Steve left BS&T to pursue the craft of record production. One of his first productions was the Lou Reed classic, Rock'nRoll Animal. He went on to work with Reed on two more albums before returning to his musician roots in the country- rock band, American Flyer, whose first album was produced by the Beatles' George Martin.
In 2015, wrote his memoirs, Blood, Sweat, and My Rock 'n' Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?, published by Lyons Press. This year, Steve recorded first solo album, an acoustic career retrospective called The Juggle. Steve Katz has been performing and doing book talks all across the country to rave reviews and rapt audiences.
Jesse Williams: Bass
Jesse Williams prides himself on his musical depth AND breadth! He has performed and recorded internationally, including two Grammy Nominated Albums and six W.C. Handy nominated albums. He has played with Jimmy Vivino, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Duke Robillard, Jay McShann, Al Kooper, Jay Giels, John Hammond Jr., Karin Allyson, Harry Allen, Ruth Brown, Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Johnny A., Maria Muldaur, Johnnie Johnson, Ronnie Earl, Henry Butler, Charles Neville, Julien Kasper Bruce Katz, and many others. He's been a member of touring bands with Duke Robillard, Al Kooper, Johnny A, W.C. Handy All Stars, and others.
Festivals and Venues include: North Sea Jazz, Edmonton Folk, Montreal Jazz, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage, Vancouver Jazz, Byron Bay, Russian River, Boston Globe Jazz and Blues, Preakness, Beantown, Lincoln Center. Beacon Theater, Mountain Stage, Beacon Theater, Lincoln Center. He has appeared on PBS, Sesame St., AMC, National Film Archives, as well as multiple commercial spots. Mr. Williams holds a B.A.in performance from Berklee College of Music.
Jesse teaches at Berklee Col of Music (Victor Wooten BCM bass camp and Five-Week program), Milton Academy, and Phillips Academy. He teaches bass, jazz and contemporary ensembles, and guitar.
Recent projects and current bands include:
Sonya Rae Taylor
New Black Eagle Jazz Band
Ken Clark: Keyboards and Vocals
Not to be confused with country/bluegrass artist Ken Clark or the late bebop drummer Kenny Clarke, the Ken Clark profiled in this bio is a jazz-oriented organist who is also comfortable playing R&B, funk, and blues. The Boston resident (who plays electric keyboards and acoustic piano as secondary instruments) isn't the type of organist who is content to emulate Jimmy Smith's seminal '50s and '60s recordings -- Smith is an influence on Clark, but so are Larry Young, John Medeski (of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame), and Charles Earland. Clark's playing sometimes brings to mind German organist Barbara Dennerlein, although she isn't necessarily an influence -- rather, it's probably a case of Dennerlein and Clark having mutual influences.
Eternal FunkClark isn't a native Bostonian; he was born in New York City in the late '60s and grew up in the Big Apple. But in the mid-'80s, he moved to Boston to study jazz with pianist Charlie Banacos and guitarist Garrison Fewell and attend the prestigious Berklee School of Music. Instead of returning to New York after studying with those artists and attending Berklee, Clark opted to remain in Boston and became a fixture on the city's music scene. In 1992, he formed the Ken Clark Organ Trio, employing Mike Mele (whom he knew from Berklee) on guitar -- and 11 years later, the group was still together. Clark's group has used different drummers over the years; in 2003, Steve Chaggaris (another Berklee alumni) was playing drums for Clark's trio. As a sideman, Clark has backed various female vocalists, including Fatwall Jack and swing/jump blues artist Michelle Willson. Clark's albums as a leader include The Ken Clark Organ Trio on Aspire Records and Eternal Funk, which the Severn label released in 2003.
Mick Connolly Lead Guitar
Michael "Mick" Connolly picked up a guitar at the age of 9 and never looked back. A lover of true rock and roll and influenced by classic bands and guitarists like The Rolling Stones, Faces, Jeff Beck, Blood Sweat and Tears, Led Zeppelin, Mike Bloomfield, Larry Carlton and Steve Howe, Mick's playing became as diverse as his record collection. Sought after for not only his playing, but also for his authentic vocal ability and undeniable stage presence, Mick took his talents to his original songwriting and production skills.
As the owner of the Red Room Sound Studio, an all analog, all tape studio in Litchfield Connecticut, Mick is keeping the art of analog recording and production in the forefront with all original equipment from the 1970's heyday and still editing with a razor blade! The Red Room Sound Studio is incredibly busy with clients that have included well known and up-and-coming bands and most recently Steve Katz, founding member of Blood Sweat and Tears and the Blues Project. Having the opportunity to record and co-produce Steve's newest release "The Juggle" was a career highlight as Steve was always a huge musical influence on Mick.
Mick is also well known for his work with National Recording artist Lucinda Rowe in the rock project "Lucinda and Michael" and "The Red Room Project". This rock project has performed with or opened for many well-known artists such as Pat Benatar, Eddie Money, 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Ricky Byrd of Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Patty Smythe and Scandal, REO Speedwagon, Tony Bennett, KC and The Sunshine Band, Stevie Nicks, The Guess Who, The Monkees, The Georgia Satellites, and numerous others. Recent tours have taken them to the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama, Key West, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Boston. Their latest album release "The Red Room Project" is a writing collaboration between Mick and Lucinda showcasing their different styles of songwriting. This album was produced, arranged and recorded by Mick on tape at the Red Room Sound Studio.
Copyright 2019 Marin Artists / The Blues Project