Once again a person one would think that information about someone who played in a well-known band--Paul Butterfield Blues Band--and played at what many think is the most famous festival of all time--the Woodstock Music and Art Fair--would be easy to find.Not true, of course, and even in the 21st century one can apparently minimize their internet footprint. Perhaps old school research in a brick and mortar library would yield more, but my laziness trumps (sorry, but it's an old word with a new meaning) such research.Most of today's information came from the wonderful AllMusic site which so often rescues the inquisitive music fan, but even it doesn't show Johnson's birth date. Thus, I am placing him today with plans to do the other "birth-less" Woodstock Butterfields over the next several days.
Trumpeter Keith Johnson
Keith Johnson was mainly a trumpeter, but as so often happens on the musician's path, other instruments come into play. Jazz was his niche.
He became part of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in time to perform with them a the Monterey International Pop Festival in June 1967. Released in December 1968, The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw was the first Butterfield album Keith appeared on. He stayed with the band for their next two albums: In My Own Dream (1967) (an album cover I stared at for many hours) and Keep on Moving (1969). A team player, at times Johnson played organ, but the trumpet was always his first and best instrument.
Despite the success of "horn" bands such as Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago, the Butterfield band did not enjoy the same success. In 1970 he left the band and played with the Elephant's Memory, the band that (without Johnson) became associated with John Lennon. Johnson also played with Van Morrison. Moogiy Klingman, Etta James, and Martha Velez. Velez also played with Van Morrison and later married Johnson.
Professor Keith Johnson
It seems that Keith became Professor Keith Johnson and taught at the college level, including the University of North Texas. If so, in May 2012 he received the “Award of Merit” from the International Trumpet Guild which recognized his substantial contributions to the art of trumpet playing through performance, teaching, publishing, research, composition, and support of the goals of ITG. Oddly, in the report from that conference, much is said about Johnson's musical life, but nothing about his early career with 60s music.
“Take This Winter Out of My Mind” by Full Moon (1972)
September 19, 1936 – January 11, 2002
I was one of those white suburban kid like growing up in in a white suburban neighborhood that I didn't realize was so white because no real estate agencies and owners would not rent or sell to non-whites. Segregation northern style. Quiet but omnipresent. We white suburban kids did not realize we were listening to our own American blues when we heard Eric Burdon sing "House of the Rising Sun" or Mick Jagger sing "You Better Move On." British bands like the Animals and Rolling Stones reinterpreted American blues, but bands like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band were revitalizing or simply continuing the blues tradition.
Brother Gene Dinwiddie
Gene Dinwiddie, or Brother Gene Dinwiddie as he was often known, was part of that tradition. He had already been playing in bands for 10 years when he joined Butterfield which presented him the opportunity to record. The American music scene was typically as segregated as my home town. Whether it be exclusionary tactics by record companies, recording studies, publisher, or venues, black musicians faced barriers at each entry. I certainly cannot speak for Gene Dinwiddie or any black musician, but I could understand the inclination of joining a band led by a white musician with hopes that the white musician had access that he did not.
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
He joined Paul Butterfield Blues Band in mid-1967 in time for the group's appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. "Love March" became the band's best known song because of its inclusion on the Woodstock album. It was Dinwiddie and drummer Phillip Wilson who lead on that song. The longer Dinwiddie was in the band, the more he influenced its sound. The band ended in 1971, but a few of its members including Dinwiddie formed Full Moon. Brother Gene Dinwiddie also played as a session musician with BB King, Melissa Manchester, Jackie Lomax, Gregg Allman. and Etta James.
He always seems to be around. When I hear the name David Sanborn, my first thought is when he sat in with Paul Shaffer on the Letterman Show. Then I remember taping his show on NBC, " Night Music" (1988 to 1990) and watching musicians like Sanborn. Talented but rarely seen on TV: Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Joe Sample, Pharoah Sanders, and many others.
When I first started to volunteer at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts one of the projects I worked on was creating a list of all the performers at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Who should appear with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band? David Sanborn, of course. Not sure why his appearance there surprised me, but it did. Here's a video of the band that Sunday morning (before Sha Na Na). Paul Butterfield is the main feature, but the movie's producers snuck in Mr Sanborn about a minute into the video.
The list all of the music David Sanborn has made or helped make is a very long one. Luckily, All Music had taken care of that. Impressive as it is long: All Music credits You'll need a Snickers.
Who were some of these people? Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, Bobby Charles, Roger Waters, Esther Phillips, James Brown, Ween, and over a hundred more. As it says at his site, "In his three-and-a-half decade career, Dave has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum album."
David Sanborn was born in Tampa, Florida, but raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Contracting polio at the age of three, he struggled with the disease for eight years. In its aftermath, he began to play saxophone on the advice of a doctor, who thought it would aid him in strengthening his chest muscles. Not bad David. I guess your practice paid off. Nice job!