FEELIN’ GOOD PRODUCTIONS - Agenzia di Blues in Italia e in Europa.


Jerry Portnoy


Jerry Portnoy grew up in Chicago. He first heard the blues played outside his father’s carpet store in the Maxwell Street market in the late 1940s and early 50s.

Maxwell Street was a mecca for blues musicians, who would play on the street for tips. Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Johnny Young and many others all played on Maxwell Street. Portnoy began his professional career in 1970, touring the Midwest with the band of Johnny Young (guitar/mandolin). Two years later, he left Johnny Young, but continued to perform around the Midwest in the bands of guitarist Johnny Littlejohn and, later, drummer Sam Lay. For a time, he was also a member of the house band at Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge. He joined the Muddy Waters Blues Band in May 1974. During his tenure with Waters, he appeared on the albums I’m Ready, Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live, and King Bee. He remained until June 1980 when he and other members of Waters’ band (pianist Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and bassist Calvin “Fuzz” Jones) left to form the Legendary Blues Band.He stayed with the Legendary Blues Band until 1986, releasing Life of Ease in 1981 and Red Hot and Blue two years later. After a brief hiatus from touring and the music business, he returned to music in 1987 when Ronnie Earl asked him to help start a band which became the Broadcasters. Two years later, he left to form his own band, the Streamliners. They released the CD Poison Kisses in 1991 (later re-issued as Home Run Hitter with three extra tracks). That same year Eric Clapton invited Portnoy to join an all-star blues band for the six blues shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of Clapton’s 24-night stand. In 1993, he joined Clapton’s band and remained with it through 1996. During this time, the band recorded Clapton’s long anticipated blues album From the Cradle—the best-selling blues album of all time.

Portnoy has performed in twenty-eight foreign countries on six continents, including performances at the White House, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, the Smithsonian, the Newport Jazz Festival and other major jazz and blues festivals worldwide. He was a Grammy nominee in 1996 for his work with the Muddy Waters Tribute Band on their recording You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Dead and Gone, and released an instructional package, Jerry Portnoy’s Blues Harmonica Masterclass, in 1997. In 2001, he released his second solo album, Down in the Mood Room.

Known for his huge tone, he has long been a favorite of both critics and peers. The New York Times (1987) said, “Mr. Portnoy crests like an alto saxophone.” Down Beat Magazine (2002) said, “Portnoy has few equals as a harmonica player, blues or otherwise.” Rick Estrin, a leading professional player as well, was quoted in Blues Revue (2002) as saying, “He can get so much sound out of that harp—such a beautiful, just enormous, fat, rich tone.


Jerry Portnoy, Down in the Mood Room (Tiny Town)

Jerry Portnoy, Home Run Hitter (Indigo)

Jerry Portnoy, Poison Kisses (Modern Blues)

Joe Beard, For Real (Audio Quest)

Joe Beard, Dealin’ (Audio Quest)

John Brim, The Ice Cream Man (Tone-Cool)

John Campbell, A Man and His Blues (Crosscut)

Eric Clapton, Twenty Four Nights (Reprise)

Eric Clapton, From the Cradle (Reprise)

Eddy Clearwater, Cool Blues (Bullseye)

Bo Diddley, A Man Amongst Men (Code Blue)

Ronnie Earl, I Like It When It Rains (Antone’s)

Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters, Soul Searching (Black Top)

Luther Johnson, Talkin’ About Soul (Telarc)

Legendary Blues Band, Life of Ease (Rounder)

Legendary Blues Band, Red Hot ‘N Blue (Rounder)

Pinetop Perkins, Born in the Delta (Telarc)

Paul Rishell, Blues on a Holiday (Tone-Cool)

Duke Robillard, Dangerous Place (Pointblank)

Duke Robillard, Explorer (Shanachie)

Les Sampou, Fall From Grace (Flying Fish)

Hubert Sumlin, Hubert Sumlin’s Blues Party (Black Top)

Muddy Waters, I’m Ready (CBS)

Muddy Waters, Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live (CBS)

Muddy Waters, King Bee (CBS)

Muddy Waters Tribute Band, I’m Gonna Miss You

Bill Wyman & the Rhythm Kings, Anyway the Wind Blows (Velve)

Zora Young, Travelin’ Light (Deluge)

Johnny Young, Johnny Young Plays the Blues (Blues on Blues)