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Valerie Johnson & Al B Blue: What Kind of Blue Is This?

Val & Al Live with Karen Tyler

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Bio: Valerie Johnson Quartet - Old school jazz, blues and standards.

Valerie Johnson, an earthy lady with unearthly silk and steel vocal chords who makes music that walks right into your heart and shakes hands with your soul.

Born in the Bay Area, Valerie spent eight years polishing her voice as she toured Europe with the Bitburg Gospel Messengers and sang gospel and blues in the Far East. She also sang lead for Big Brother and the Holding Company, the band made famous by Janis Joplin.

Although often compared to Etta James and Janis Joplin, Valerie is a genuinely original talent with a direct line to the spirit of the blues. She also sang with the award winning Blues/Gospel group the Holmes Brothers and Boogie Woogie Piano Queen, Deanna Bogart.

Al B Blue started out as a classically trained pianist, then formed a street corner doo-wop group in Camden, N.J.. Upon moving to California, Al picked up the guitar and was soon playing major clubs in Los Angeles. In the L.A. club scene he met then joined Big Black & the Congregation, an Afro-Funk band, that toured the West Coast with Curtis Mayfield and Hugh Masekala. That gig led to an offer to play with a blues band touring the legendary Chitlin’ Circuit. That tour established Al’s reputation as a roots bluesman... the real deal!

Bob Brenman began playing the clarinet when he was eight, and picked up the sax a few years later. Bob was a dance band leader in high school and in a jazz combo in college.

While living in Eureka, California, Bob played Dixieland Jazz and "oldies" rock and roll for more than 25 years. Since moving to San Luis Obispo 10 years ago, Bob has played jazz with The Nighthawks, swing with The Viper Six, and blues with Valerie Johnson. Bob has just recently retired and taken down his shingle as, “Dr. Brenman, Physician.”    

Mitch Houseman, the bass man, is known as Proper Mitch in the music world.  If you ask Proper Mitch about music, he will quote Muddy Waters, and say “There's two kinds of music. Good music, and not good music.” He prefers the good kind. “I always said I wanted to write for a symphony, play in a jazz band, and listen to rock and roll,” and he's had the privilege to do all three and more. From traditional Celtic music in a pub on a Scottish island to Wagner at the LA Met, he's pursued good music, both in enjoyment, and performance. This pursuit continues to drive him toward excellence and all good things.