American music impresario and blues legend Al Kooper joins forces with guitarist Jimmy Vivino, the leader of Conan O'Brien's house band, to pay tribute to the iconic blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield, known for his work with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Kooper, and so much more.
A legendary keyboardist, songwriter, and producer, Al Kooper appeared on Bob Dylan's classic albums Highway 61 Revisited (1965) and Blonde on Blonde (1966), and he produced New Morning for Dylan in 1970. He also toured as a member of Dylan's band off and on over the years. He was a member of the influential group The Blues Project from 1965 to 1967, and he formed Blood, Sweat & Tears in 1967, remaining with the group for its debut album Child is Father to the Man (1968). Kooper was also the principal songwriter for both bands. As if all of that weren't enough, he also appeared on and produced 1968's Platinum-selling Super Session album with guitarist Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills. His association and friendship with Bloomfield lasted until the guitarist's untimely death in 1981, spawning the highly regarded album Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper (1968).
In addition to his legendary '60s work, Kooper has recorded and released over 10 solo albums over the last 40 years, including his latest release, 2008's White Chocolate. He has played as a sideman on albums by George Harrison, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, The Who, Cream, and many more. He also discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd and produced the band's first three albums, which include the iconic tracks "Sweet Home Alabama," "Free Bird," and "Saturday Night Special." Over 50 years into his professional career in 2012, he continues performing across the world with numerous groups, including The Rekooperators, with which he has performed numerous Bloomfield tributes.
Although as of late Jimmmy Vivino has enjoyed a high-profile gig as the leader of Conan O'Brien's house band (formerly fronted by Max Weinberg), the guitarist, keyboardist, singer, and songwriter has been making great music as a sideman for a long time. First inspired to learn organ after hearing Al Kooper in Blood, Sweat & Tears, Vivino soon picked up the guitar as well and developed a particular affinity for the music of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, with guitarist Michael Bloomfield. It's no stretch to say that Bloomfield became, and continues to be, one of Vivino's biggest guitar idols.
In addition to working with musicians like Phoebe Snow, Felix Cavaliere, Dion, Steve Holly, Laura Nyro, and Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson, Vivino soon began backing Kooper at his New York performances, recording with him on albums like Rekooperation (1994) and Soul of a Man (1995) and becoming a regular member of The Rekooperators. In the late '90s, he finally got the chance to record his own album, titled Do What Now? (1997) and fittingly produced by Kooper. When he's not on tap for O'Brien's show, he remains a staple of the New York blues scene.