It's really like a horn from the heart. The picture may get at least a few people talking about him again. The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring the twin guitar sound of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin, added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. The only artist to perform at The Newport Folk Festival in , The Monterey Pop Festival in and Woodstock in , Paul would continue to break new ground in the blues and to stand up for racial equality until his death at age 44 in of a drug overdose. He just went for it. To be onstage with him, it was like a hurricane. People would say something to us and there were some near-confrontations with Butterfield because he would get in their face. He stood up for what he believed in. As deep as he would go into the roots, he was always pushing the envelope of what blues could be.
AbOut HORN FROM THE HEART
Class of 2015
After early training as a classical flautist, he developed an interest in blues harmonica. He explored the blues scene in his native Chicago, where he met Muddy Waters and other blues greats, who provided encouragement and opportunities for him to join in jam sessions. He soon began performing with fellow blues enthusiasts Nick Gravenites and Elvin Bishop. The band was known for combining electric Chicago blues with a rock urgency and for their pioneering jazz fusion performances and recordings. After the breakup of the group in , Butterfield continued to tour and record with the band Paul Butterfield's Better Days, with his mentor Muddy Waters, and with members of the roots-rock group the Band. While still recording and performing, Butterfield died in at age 44 of an accidental drug overdose. Music critics have acknowledged his development of an original approach that places him among the best-known blues harp players. In , he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Both panels noted his harmonica skills and his contributions to bringing blues music to a younger and broader audience. Butterfield was born in Chicago and raised in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood.
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One of the first integrated blues bands with mass appeal, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band inspired people of all kinds to sing the blues. They pounced on the music and took no prisoners. They came roaring out of Chicago, playing electric blues that seemed plugged into the cosmos. They did it with a combination of street-smart swagger, an endless well of feeling, and, maybe most strikingly, an impossibly energetic attack on the soul. This website uses cookie data.
While footage of Michael Bloomfield is rare, there are films that show the guitarist in performance. Other clips capture Bloomfield in personal moments with friends. Here is a sampling of those videos, including a minute video biography created especially for this site. Unknown photographer. These two video clips come from the Monterey International Pop Festival and show the Electric Flag ironically listed in the festival's program as The Mike Bloomfield Thing making its performance debut. Following the band's opening number, "Groovin' Is Easy" not seen here , Bloomfield makes his "groovy" speech and then the band plays "Over-Lovin' You. Michael's three solo choruses are considered definitive examples of blues-rock guitar.