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[Mark Naftalin, Bio, Credits, Discography]

Mark Naftalin Bio
updated: May, 2012

             Mark Naftalin entered the musical scene in 1965 as the keyboardist with the popular and influential Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He is internationally renowned among blues fans for his contributions to the band's sound.

           Since leaving the Butterfield Band and settling in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1968 (and then in Connecticut in 2002), Naftalin has continued to work as a musician (soloist, accompanist, bandleader). Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "a brilliant pianist who puts a touch of genius in his blues," he has concertized and recorded over the years with some of the best-known names in his field — John Lee Hooker, Otis Rush, James Cotton, Michael Bloomfield, Big Joe Turner, Etta James, Charlie Musselwhite, Big Mama Thornton, Brownie McGhee, Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, to name a few — and has appeared on such rock favorites as Mother Earth's Living With The Animals, Quicksilver's What About Me, Van Morrison's St. Domenic's Preview, and Brewer & Shipley's "One Toke Over The Line" (a top-ten hit single).

           See also: Credits, Discography

           With the Mark Naftalin Rhythm & Blues Revue, Naftalin has presented an extraordinary cast of stars to concert and radio audiences: Percy Mayfield, Lowell Fulson, Pee Wee Crayton, Jimmy McCracklin, Luther Tucker, Irma Thomas, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Sonny Rhodes, J.J. Malone, Ron Thompson, Mable John, Little Joe Blue, Mississippi Johnny Waters, Billy Davenport, Bugsy Maugh, and many more.

           Naftalin has also been active as a concert and broadcast producer in the Bay Area and elsewhere, starting in 1978 with a series of Sunday-night blues extravaganzas at San Francisco's Boarding House. In 1979 he launched Mark Naftalin's Blue Monday Party, a weekly blues show and dance that ran continuously through late 1983 at two North Bay clubs, with Naftalin as pianist, bandleader and host. The "Blue Monday Party," which was the scene of 86 live radio broadcast (in 1982 and 1983) and three television specials, lives on through CD and DVD releases on Winner.

           See also: Mark Naftalin's Blue Monday Party

           In addition to the Blue Monday Party broadcast, Naftalin's has produced and hosted Mark Naftalin's Blues Power Hour on San Francisco's KALW — weekly from June, 1984, through the end of 2011, and periodically since the beginning of 2012 — and on two other Bay Area stations going back to 1979.

           See also: Mark Naftalin's Blues Power Hour

           In addition to the Blue Monday Party events, Naftalin's concert productions include the Marin County Blues Festival in San Rafael, California (1981-2000); the Sonoma County Blues Festival in Santa Rosa, California (1981-1991); the Westport Blues Festival in Westport, Connecticut (1993-94); a series of more than fifty "Budweiser Blues Bashes" presented in Bay Area clubs under a sponsorship agreement with Anheuser Busch; and the Labor Day Blues 'N' Soul Party in Marin City, California (1998-2004). Some of these productions have been presented under the auspices of the Blue Monday Foundation, a non-profit organization that Naftalin co-founded in 1983 and currently heads.

           Naftalin has served as the associate producer of the Monterey Jazz Festival Blues Afternoon (1982-92) and has received several awards, including the Bay Area Music Award (BAMMIE) for the Mark Naftalin Rhythm & Blues Revue (1980); the Billboard Radio Award for the "Blue Monday Party" live broadcasts (1982); the Tom Donahue Radio Award for the "Blues Power Hour" (1992); and the International Blues Foundation's Classics Of Blues Recording Award for his organ-playing on the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's first album, which was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1997 as a Classic of Blues Recording.

           Naftalin's compositions have been recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band ("Strawberry Jam"), the Electric Flag ("Lonely Song"), Sonny Rhodes ("I Just Can't Stay"), Frankie Lee ("I'll Do Right By You If You'll Do Right By Me") — and Naftalin himself ("Blues For Special Friends" and others).

           See also: The Mark Naftalin Story

           As a fruition of his work as musician and producer, Naftalin releases CDs and videos on Winner Records, the label he operates with his wife, Ellen Naftalin.

           The company's CD catalog includes the Paul Butterfield Blues Band albums Strawberry Jam and East-West Live, which are drawn from nightclub recordings Naftalin collected while with the group. The catalog also includes two albums from Blue Monday Party radio broadcasts — Percy Mayfield Live and Ron Thompson's Just Like A Devil.

           The Winner video catalog includes two volumes of Mark Naftalin's Blue Monday Party (Lowell Fulson/Percy Mayfield and John Lee Hooker/Charlie Musselwhite) and the W.C. Handy Award-winning 1983 videodocumentary Percy Mayfield — Poet Laureate Of The Blues, in which Naftalin acts as interviewer and pianist. All three videos are on VHS, and the two Blue Monday Party volumes are availble on a single DVD.

           See also: About Winner Producing Company

[Mark Naftalin, Bio, Credits, Discography]

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