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Jerry Portnoy & The Streamliners

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Jerry Portnoy

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Here is the powerful-yet-subtle harmonica playing that first gained international acclaim during Jerry’s six years with the Muddy Waters Band. Much in the same way that Jerry’s command of instrument and idiom has set him apart from today’s herd of revivalists, the memorable, finely crafted compositions he presents on this album set “Home Run Hitter” apart from the usual sideman-turns frontman offering. Indeed, his penetrating lyrics, strong story sense and broad stylistic range give this album weight and depth uncommon in a contemporary blues market dominated by formulaic, one-dimensional releases. Jerry’s career break came when he was invited to join the Muddy Waters Band. “I had a day job at the Cook County Jail at the time”, Jerry recalls. “Johnny Young had passed away, and a benefit had been organized for his family. I went there straight from work. It was very crowded, but on the way across the room, I locked eyes with Muddy. He motioned me over and I made my way to his table, where he asked me to play his set with him that night.” “After we played, he asked if I was available to travel. Of course, I was. He said, ‘You’re going to hear from me.’ That was on a Tuesday night. That Friday, Muddy asked me to join his band.” Jerry spent the next six years crisscrossing the U.S. and touring the world. With Muddy, Jerry played the White House, Carnegie Hall and all the major blues and jazz festivals; cut three albums (two of them Grammy winners); and shared the stage with the likes of Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Dizzy Gillespie and Bonnie Raitt. In 1980, Jerry joined Pinetop Perkins, Calvin Jones and Willie Smith to form the legendary Blues Band.

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