Mark Naftalin

Mark Naftalin
Birth name Mark Naftalin
Born (1944-08-02) August 2, 1944 (age 76)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Genres Blues
Occupation(s) Musician, record producer, radio presenter
Instruments Keyboards
Years active 1964–present
Associated acts The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Mike Bloomfield, John Lee Hooker, Mother Earth, Quicksilver Messenger Service

Mark Naftalin (born August 2, 1944) is an American blues keyboardist, recording artist, composer, and record producer. He appears on the first five[1] albums by Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the mid 1960s as a band member, and as such was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. He later worked onstage with the late fellow Butterfield Band member Mike Bloomfield and has been active from his home in Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area as a festival and radio producer for several decades.


Naftalin moved to Chicago in 1961, and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964,[2] where he performed on piano at campus "twist parties," popular at the time. It was at these parties that Naftalin first played with blues harmonica player Paul Butterfield and guitarist Elvin Bishop, the nucleus of what was to become the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Naftalin then came to prominence as the keyboard player in the Butterfield Blues Band, from 1965-1968.[3] On the group's first album, he solos and has a writing credit on the instrumental track "Thank You Mr. Poobah." On the second album by the band, East West, he is credited as "Naffy Markham".[4]

In the late 1960s, after the first four Butterfield albums, Naftalin went out on his own, settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. There he put together the Mark Naftalin "Rhythm & Blues Revue" and has been active in blues and rock recording sessions, solo gigs and revue shows, and as a producer of concerts, festivals and radio shows. He played as a duo with fellow Butterfield bandsman Mike Bloomfield. He also in a band (most often called Mike Bloomfield & Friends) from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. He hosted Mark Naftalin's Blue Monday Party, a weekly blues show (1979-1983) that featured over 60 blues artists and groups and was the scene of 86 live radio broadcasts and three TV specials.[5]

Naftalin has produced the Marin County Blues Festival (1981-2000),[6] and has been the associate producer of the Monterey Jazz Festival's "Blues Afternoon" (1982-1991). His weekly radio show, Mark Naftalin's Blues Power Hour has been on the air almost continuously since 1979 on San Francisco's radio KALW-FM.[7]

Naftalin co-founded the Blue Monday Foundation and, in 1988, started his own label, Winner Records, which has issued recordings by artists including Paul Butterfield and Percy Mayfield. He continued to perform, both solo and in an ensemble, in the Bay area and elsewhere, often with longtime associate slide guitarist, Ron Thompson. In the 70s he appeared on two albums by Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Naftalin has also recorded with many blues players including John Lee Hooker, Otis Rush, Percy Mayfield, Lowell Fulson, Big Joe Turner, James Cotton, Mike Bloomfield, Jake Walker and Van Morrison, and as a sideman on over 100 albums. He played keyboards on the first Mother Earth album, Living With the Animals (1968) and was credited as co-producer and arranger.

Naftalin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 as an early member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.[4]

Personal life

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, Naftalin is the son of former Minneapolis mayor Arthur Naftalin; he is married to third wife Ellen Naftalin. His son is the San Francisco Bay Area artist, David Normal. Mark is Jewish.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ . ..including "The Original Lost Elektra Sessions" album (1995, recorded 1964)
  2. ^ "University of Chicago Magazine, October 1995, Letters". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Xtreme Musician: Mark Naftalin". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Inductee explorer | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  5. ^ "All About Jazz". All About Jazz. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Monterey Pop Artist Bios - Part Two". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Blues Power Hour". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  8. ^ "American Jewish World » Blog Archive Jewish and bluish". August 31, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2020. Jewish musicians were prominent among the Americans and Brits who ... for an article in the Jewish World, Mark Naftalin, another Butterfield ...
  9. ^ "Jews In The Newz". American Israelite. June 3, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2020. Here are the Jewish nominees I know of (omitting technical categories and long deceased composers of revival musicals)---JUDY KUHN, ... The other “bluesy” tribesman is MARK NAFTALIN, 70, the Butterfield Band's organist
  10. ^ "Native Jew Plays Soulful Blues". August 2, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2020. And fortunate for all of us, he is bringing his brand of guitar-driven blues to ... Jewish blues artists, it is important to remember Mark Naftalin, who ...

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