Legends of the blues come to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts


Three of America's foremost guitarists, Stefan Grossman, Danny Kalb and Steve Katz take the stage at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts on Friday, April 25 at 8 p.m. for "The Acoustic Blues Project" concert. Tickets are $35 and $30.

Depending on the venue, the website, or to whom one talks, they are called Kalb, Grossman and Katz; Grossman, Katz and Kalb; Katz, Kalb and Grossman; and every other possible combination. At the end of the day, though, they are Steve Katz, Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman, master guitarists who have been members of such seminal bands as the Even Dozen Jug Band, Blues Project, Blood, Sweat & Tears and American Flyer.

"We're three old guys who get together every now and then," Katz says laughing, "We know each other so well, as friends and musicians. Danny and I have been playing together constantly over the years because we've been doing Blues Project reunions, and then we have done some gigging together, just the two of us. And it's been the same thing with Stefan and me. Every now and then we get together and play a gig. We have always kept in touch. When the three of us get onstage, it's like not a day was skipped. We play the same stuff, test each other like we always have, and it's like we're young again. It's fun."

At the age of 15, Grossman, guitarist, educator and historian, was a student of acoustic blues and gospel singer/guitarist Reverend Gary Davis, one of the two most renowned ragtime guitar players of his time. After making a mark in the music scene of the sixties, Grossman moved from the United States to Great Britain and carved a reputation on the European blues and British folk circuit. His friend Eric Clapton said of him, "I have learned a great deal from him. Let's face it, he needs very little introduction from me as a blues artist, discographer and connoisseur in blues."

Kalb was born into a musical family and was raised in Mount Vernon, NY. He picked up the guitar at age 13 and he hasn't put it down since. A protégé of the great Dave Van Ronk, Kalb established himself in New York's seminal folk and blues scene where he was first known as a solo performer and session player with Phil Ochs, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger and others. He later became one half of the The New Strangers with Sam Charters and then went on to play with Dave Van Ronk's Ragtime Jug Stompers. In 1965, Kalb founded the Verve/Folkways recording group, The Blues Project, with Al Kooper, Roy Blumenfeld, Andy Kulberg, Tommy Flanders and Steve Katz. In the early seventies, Kalb & Grossman recorded together on "Crosscurrents." Kalb continues to perform in clubs, teach guitar and record. His touch on the guitar is as exciting and as individual as ever.

Katz also studied guitar with Dave Van Ronk and the Reverend Gary Davis. Katz and Grossman joined the many musicians in Greenwich Village during this time who were equally obsessed with American roots music. The common ground they shared was in "jug band" music and in 1964, with John Sebastian, Maria Muldaur, and David Grisman, they formed the Even Dozen Jug Band and recorded an album for Elektra. In 1965, Katz joined Kalb in the Blues Project and recorded three albums while together in their first incarnation. Katz then became a founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, which won three Grammies and sold millions of records worldwide. Katz produced two Billboard-Top-Ten Lou Reed albums and in the mid-seventies, played with American Flyer, his last official band membership. He became a Vice-President of Mercury Records where he produced the seminal Irish band, Horslips. Today he is a professional photographer in partnership with his wife Alison Palmer, a ceramic artist.

The Acoustic Blues Project covers the gamut of musical styles while remaining as exciting and cutting edge as ever. Their acoustic music is electrifying and they have the ability to take an audience with them wherever they choose to go.

Tickets are available online at www.quickcenter.com or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, please visit the website at www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 8, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 238