Roy's doing a UK Tour May 2016 with guitarist
David Aguilar & bassist Steve Browning, appearing as
"THE AGUILAR BLUMENFELD PROJECT"
(Scroll down to bottom of page for full list of UK Tour dates & venues)
Back in 1967, the mythic ‘Summer of Love’, if you were in New York City the place to be was the Cafe Au Go Go on MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village where the star band was The Blues Project, a group on the cutting edge of improvisational, classical, blues and jazz. Roy Blumenfeld was the drummer, the heartbeat for the band.
Born in the Bronx in 1944, Roy 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.
Roy linked up with bassist Andy Kulberg through work with Al Kooper on the latter's early solo recordings and then in 1965 he joined The Blues Project together with Al Kooper on keyboards and vocals, guitarist/vocalist Danny Kalb (a respected session player for various folk and folk-rock albums), guitarist/vocalist Steve Katz (from The Even Dozen Jug Band), flautist and bass player Andy Kulberg and vocalist Tommy Flanders. (Flanders left the band in 1966 after the first album "Live at The Cafe Au Go Go" was released.)
Photo courtesy of Mike Somavilla
The Blues Project's electric brew of rock, blues, folk, pop, and even some jazz, classical, and psychedelia made them a major cult band of the '60s. They were one of the first album-oriented, "underground" groups in the United States and the eclectic résumés of the musicians who came from folk, jazz, blues, and rock backgrounds was reflected in their choice of material. Blues by Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry’s tunes ran alongside covers of contemporary folk-rock songs by Eric Anderson and Patrick Sky as well as the group's own originals which were usually penned by Al Kooper.
Having started at the white-hot center of the emerging US music scene, Roy performed at some truly landmark events including The Monterey Pop Festival, The Newport Jazz Festival and evenings at Lincoln Center.
After The Blues Project’s debut album "Live at The Cafe Au Go Go" the group released their first studio album, "Projections" in late 1966. The album stormed through blues numbers including Al Kooper's fierce adaptation of an old Blind Willie Johnson song "I Can't Keep from Crying." It also featured folk and jazz influenced tracks like "Fly Away", Steve Katz's lilting "Steve's Song" and Al Kooper's jazz instrumental "Flute Thing”. This number became an underground radio standard and is probably their most famous track. A non-LP single from this era, the pop-psychedelic "No Time Like the Right Time" was thought by many to be The Blues Project's greatest achievement and one of the best "great hit singles that never was" of the decade.
In 1967 Al Kooper and Steve Katz left the band to join Blood Sweat and Tears and Danny Kalb took leave of absence, The Blues Project released a third album "Live At Town Hall" consisting of live tapes and studio out-takes.
Roy Blumenfeld and Andy Kulberg kept Blues Project going for a fourth album "Planned Obsolescence" (1968) before forming Seatrain together with Andy Kulberg, ex-‘Mystery Trend’ guitarist John Gregory, Richard Greene former Jim Kweskin Jug Band violinist/fiddler and saxophonist Don Kretmar. In 1969 they released the album "Sea Train" after which Roy left the band although they re-formed in the early '70s with various line-ups. In 1973 Roy and Al Kooper rejoined the band for a live album "Reunion in Central Park".
Roy played on folk singer Mark Spoelstra's self-titled album for Columbia Records in 1969. He worked with Nick Gravenites in the '70s and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter at various times in the '80s and '90s and played with Al Kooper on the live shows that became the basis of Al Kooper's "Soul of A Man" album released in February 1995.
Over the years Roy has performed and recorded with the most illustrious soul, funk, blues and rock legends: Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana, Paul Butterfield, Elvin Bishop, Nick Gravenites, Barry Goldberg, David LaFlamme (of It's A Beautiful Day), Barry Melton (of Country Joe and the Fish), Banana (of The Youngbloods), Peter Albin (of Big Brother and the Holding Company: the band that launched Janis Joplin) and Robert Hunter (of The Grateful Dead)... to name just a few. He’s recently toured and recorded with the re-formed Electric Flag, who are themselves a who's who of soul-funk-rock and he’s still working with a number of former musical colleagues including Blues Project buddies.
Here are a couple of clips from Roy's back catalogue:
Roy at The Fillmore with Paul Butterfield, Carlos Santana, Elvin Bishop, John Lee Hooker
Roy’s current collaboration with David Bennett Cohen and Bruce Barthol (former members of Country Joe & The Fish) and Greg Douglass (former member of The Steve Miller Band) is the veritable super-group “The Former Members”. The band completed a stunning UK tour in October 2012 and are already booked to do another
in May 2013.
Roy’s professional bio traces the arc of funky eclectic music over five decades from it’s roots in the golden '60s to the resurgent present. Now living in Northern California, this quietly legendary guy has been, (and still is) a vital part of the music-making, cultural and community scene. Based in Sonoma County since 1985, he finds the best of the values of the golden era he started in remain ascendant. Roy says, "Since I've been living on the corner of Grape and Vine, I've come to envision music as the place where the mind, heart, spirit and soul intersect and bring inspiration, nourishment, and joy to the celebration of life."
In November 2013 Roy is joining "TriBeCaStan" for their West Coast Tour.......
Performers and Instruments:
John Kruth - mandolin, banjo, flutes and penny whistles, harmonica, royal benju, and more
Jeff Greene - yalyi tambor, nyckelharpa, mandolin, marimba, ukulele, jawharps, and more
Kenny Margolis - accordion and keyboards
Matt Darriau - clarinet, kaval, sax ,gaida and other assorted folk flutes and winds
Chris Morrow - Trombone and nefar
Ray Peterson - bass
Boris Kinberg - percussion, timbales, congas and such
Roy Blumenfeld - drums
Radically multicultural and poly-stylistic, New York City’s TriBeCaStan is one of contemporary music’s most vibrantly eclectic ensembles, using diverse instruments from around the globe to create an exotic palette of sonic colors.
The New York Times describes TriBeCaStan‘s sound as “genre-bending jazz and world music”, with the The Washington Post hailing them as “an international jazz and folk festival unto themselves, fusing Balkan, Middle Eastern, Indian, Latin American, and African musical elements to bold and dazzling effect.” Rootsworld simply calls them “the most hellishly-heavenly world music band you’re ever going to hear.”
THE AGUILAR BLUMENFELD PROJECT
"BLUES IN PARADISE" - UK Tour - May 2016
Roy Blumenfeld is teaming up with David Aguilar to bring a unique blend
of swamp, blues, jazz and funk music to the UK in May 2016.
These two seasoned and masterly musicians draw on their extensive
combined repertoire, honed over many years collaborating with
countless icons of the Americana music scene.
For the 2016 UK tour they will be joined by UK bassist Steve Browning
who also brings a wealth of impressive and diverse skills from
his extensive back catalogue.
The "Aguilar Blumenfeld Project" creates a fascinating mix of
interpretative musical statements expressed through both traditional
and unconventionally innovative instrumentation that melds
together the steamy swamp-music roots of the blues with elements
of the jazz, rock, funk and soul that has developed up to the present day.
May 2016 UK Tour Dates and Venues
Tour Update 26th May:
Six gigs into the tour and every one getting rave reviews!
If you haven't caught one of the shows yet, get yourself along to one of them at Bishop's Castle, Ebbw Vale, Rhayader or Cardigan.
It's one not to miss!
19 May Queens Head, 1, St James Street, Monmouth, NP25 3DL
Tel: 01600 712767
20 May The Sun Inn, 49 Regent St, Llangollen LL20 8HN
Tel: 01978 447 985
21 May Scholars Pub, Queen's Rd, Aberystwyth SY23 2HH
Tel: 01970 615 241
22 May Earl Haig Memorial Hall, 23 Penlline Rd, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 2AA
Tel: 029 2062 6015
24 May New Crown Inn, 28 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8DP
Tel: 01685 387 925
25 May The Barrels, 69 St Owen Street, Hereford, HR1 2JQ
Tel: 01432 274 968
26 May Crown & Anchor Vaults, 30 High St, Bishop's Castle SY9 5BQ
Tel: 07971 213 728
27 May The Bridge, Station Approach, Ebbw Vale NP23 5AZ
Tel: 01495 302 171
28 May Carad Arts Centre, East St, Rhayader, Powys LD6 5ER
Tel: 01597 810 192
29 May Cellar Bar, 25/26 Quay Street, Cardigan SA43 1HU
Tel: 07818 056 599
Roy's many recordings and collaborations are listed in the Discography section - click here
For further information about each of the guys, click on their names on the right of the page.