Chicago Blues: Michael Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield

Chicago Blues
Event Poster
Judy Black Memorial

Are you a Chicago blues enthusiast living in Connecticut? You may be interested in a free music event that will highlight Michael Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield’s influences on blues rock. Born in Chicago is a smart agenda featuring a blues book signing, film clip viewing, and a panel discussion experience.

The Chicago blues info-session is scheduled for Saturday, November 16th from 5-7 p.m.. It will be held at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens in Washington, Connecticut.

Noteworthy Participants

Larry Milburn happens to be Michael Bloomfield’s cousin. He is a filmmaker who also produces a regular podcast, “Roadie Free Radio“. The podcasts highlight the roadie’s role as the backbone of live music before, during, and after performances. Larry will lead the Chicago blues panel discussion with David Dann, Author and Sandy Warren, Producer.

Chicago Blues Guitarist

David Dann has written a book, “Guitar King: Michael Bloomfield’s Life in the Blues” just published by University of Texas Press. The comprehensive biography of the late, great Michael Bloomfield brings to life a dazzling electric-guitar virtuoso who transformed rock ’n’ roll in the 1960s and made a lasting impact on the blues genre.

David will be selling and signing this blues book at the event. Guitar King is a methodical, well researched history publication. Encyclopedic in scope it is a compelling addition to any blues music reader’s bookshelf.

Hint: Orders can be placed online with the publisher directly (see book link above). Use the code DDANN at checkout to save 40% and get FREE shipping. Offer is valid until December 31, 2019.

Sandy Warren is the producer of the authoritative blues documentary “Horn from the Heart, The Paul Butterfield Story“. The film tells the complex story of a man many call the greatest harmonica player of all time. I’ve seen this film and recommend it strongly.

Chicago Blues Album
Chicago Blues Album

From His Head To His Heart To His Hands – Michael Bloomfield

Legacy/Columbia has released a monumental blues box set,  Michael Bloomfield‘s From His Head To His Heart To His Hands. It is a gem on so many levels graphics design, culled recordings, rare photos ,extensive liner notes, plus a brilliant documentary. I predict that this box set will be a Grammy Award Nominee for 2014 for design excellence.

The audio/visual scrapbook of 3 Audio CDs and 1 DVD, Sweet Blues: A Film About Mike Bloomfield is a product of devout collaboration by Al Kooper and Bob Sarles, film director . Al Kooper spent 18 months crafting the audio recordings with reverence and precision. I love the creative synergy that exists between and around Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield.

As far as I can recall, Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” was TOTALLY in the can when we played Newport. We reconvened after Newport to rehearse for Dylan’s Forest Hills and Hollywood Bowl concerts, but that was with Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Harvey Brooks and myself. Bloomfield had gone back to Chicago.

Also I did NOT remix any Flag stuff. I remastered the entire album but as you know that excludes remixing. The digital tools used in remastering are quite mighty, however.Anything I edited out on the box was done to draw more attention to Michael. I didn’t need/want the long organ solos in our “Modal” songs as they weren’t comparatively up to Bloomers solos and I wanted the attention paid to Michael. Same with the Strazza edit on “Killing Floor” – these were editorial decisions and I stand behind them. It’s NOT an Electric Flag box.

The other editing I did was simply to keep the ball rolling. The whole point of the box was to educate folks about Michael. Though I was a participant in many of the performances presented, I didn’t exempt myself from the razor blade, so I don’t feel that I used the situation to better myself. As you pointed out, the organ WAS softer on “Like a Rolling Stone,” primarily so that others could finally be heard.  – Al Kooper


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Michael Bloomfield Documentary Film Project

One of the aspects about Facebook that I relish are the connections we make with the passions we enjoy. I was recently asked to “Like” the Michael Bloomfield Documentary Film Project Facebook Page. I loved the invitation and what I have learned about Michael Bloomfield’s legacy ever since 😉

I am thankful that Bob Sarles and the team at Ravin’ Films are focused on delivering this very important documentary. They have produced some of my most favorite music videos that I have in my music library.  The film will be available later this year as a DVD in the Mike Bloomfield box set being produced by Al Kooper for Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music.

Micheal Bloomfield was an exceptional blues cat. I play Super Session just so Michael Bloomfield can happily sting me with his guitar lead on “Albert Shuffle” as well as the other tracks he plays on. The Super Session recording may be 45 years old but it’s truly alive every time I spin it.

When I read the documentary description it gets my juices flowing. B.B. King felt Michael Bloomfield was like a son to him. I can only imagine the reciprocal feelings from Michael. Michael Bloomfield convinced Bill Graham to book B.B. King at the Fillmore West and it became the cross the chasm for the King of the Blues.

Documentary Description

A biographical documentary about the life and music of the late, great blues guitarist Michael Bloomfield. This film features never before seen on camera interviews with artists including Carlos Santana, BB King, Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop, Bob Weir, Al Kooper, John Hammond, Barry Goldberg, Sam Lay, Yank Rachel, Mark Naftalin, Nick Gravenites music promoters Bill Graham and Chet Helms and many others.

If you want to know more about Michael Bloomfield I urge you to get a copy of the book, Michael Bloomfield, If You Love These Blues, An Oral History by Jan Mark Wolkin and Bill Keenom. I’ve read it twice. It is an extended series of interviews with family, friends and colleagues. It forms the basis of the documentary.