Songwriter, Arranger, Bandleader, Musician, Vocalist, Producer, Performer and Historian cover some of what Al Kooper has simultaneously pursued over the past five decades. Few could lay claim to more consistently captivating results in any one of those challenging occupations.
In terms of the mid-1960s transition from relatively primitive "rock & roll" to the more adventurous and all encompassing "rock" music, Kooper's impact cannot be underestimated. The Butterfield Blues Band and The Blues Project, of which Kooper played a vital role, are probably the two most instrumentally influential American bands of the mid 1960s, particularly on an improvisational level.
Following his tenure in The Blues Project, Kooper founded Blood, Sweat & Tears, expanding his arranging approach to include horns and recording their first and most engaging album in the process, Child Is Father To The Man. Never one to remain in one place very long, he exited shortly afterward, pursuing session work and a solo career, releasing a line of accomplished albums under his own name. Encompassing blues, rock, gospel and jazz, Kooper always achieved a unified soulful sound, full of subtlety, melodicism and depth. His vocals, instrumental performances and arrangements on these albums all reward repeated listening, the true test of a great recording.