Life and career
Kalb was a protégé of Dave Van Ronk, and became a solo performer, as well as a session musician with such folk singers as Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan. Kalb and Sam Charters formed The New Strangers. He joined Van Ronk's Ragtime Jug Stompers. Inspired by the African American bluesmen Son House, Skip James and Mississippi John Hurt, Kalb experimented with acoustic and electronic music. In 1965 Kalb joined with Steve Katz and, Andy Kulberg, Roy Blumenfeld and Tommy Flanders to form The Blues Project. Later, when Flanders left the band, he was replaced by Al Kooper. They recorded three albums, played quite frequently at the Cafe Au Go Go and Murray the K's last "submarine race-watching" spectacular at the RKO 58th Street theater in New York, and had several concert tours. In 1965 The Blues Project performed an eleven minute rendition of Muddy Waters' "Two Trains Running" in electronic form with Waters in the audience. When asked what he thought of it, Waters said, "You really got me." Kalb later said, "If I'd dropped dead at that point on the spot because of what we thought of Muddy Waters, then my life would have been well spent." Personalities, drugs and the 1960s lifestyle took their toll on the band.Steve Katz and Al Kooper left to form Blood, Sweat and Tears.
At the age of 15 Kalb formed the band Gay Notes, and 1961 performed with Bob Dylan on a WBAI-FM concert broadcast. In 1963 Kalb performed in Ragtime Jug Stompers with his mentor Dave Van Ronk. In 1964 he recorded as Folk Stringers produced by blues ethnomusicologist Sam Charters. In 1964 Kalb played second guitar on Phil Ochs' album All the News That's Fit to Sing and in 1964 appeared on Judy Collins' Fifth Album. From 1965 to 1971 he was with The Blues Project. In 1968 he released Crosscurrents with Stefan Grossman. He was fairly quiet for the next twenty years, but joined Al Kooper for a Blues Project reunion recording at the Bottom Line in 1996. He currently performs solo acoustic gigs, plays acoustic and electric with his Danny Kalb Trio, including Bob Jones on acoustic bass and Mark Ambrosino on drums; and he occasionally performs with Stefan Grossman and Steve Katz, as well as his brother Jonathan Kalb. The Danny Kalb Trio recorded I'm Gonna Live The Life I Sing About (Sojourn) in 2008, which received critical acclaim in the blues media. This was followed in 2013 by Kalb's first double-CD Moving in Blue, also on the Sojourn label, and featuring various sidemen and guests. With this album he parlays the full range of his musical interests and creativity.
Kalb still plays the vintage early 1960s Gibson J-200 with which he began his career, although he also uses a Mexican-made Martin acoustic-electric and a Greco Les Paul-style electric guitar. Solo projects include: Livin’ with The Blues (Legend 1995), All Together Now( self-released 2002), Live in Princeton (self-released 2003), and Live in Brooklyn (self-released 2006). Crosscurrents, the 1968 LP with Stefan Grossman was re-released as CD in 2006 and a new CD, Played a Little Fiddle, was released in 2007 by Kalb, Katz and Grossman.
According to Sam Charters;
Howard L Solomon (Cafe au Go Go owner and promoter) In a 1999 email to Danny's Webmaster;
- "Danny Kalb ... is up there with the best of all blues legends ... His work for me at Cafe' au Go Go was amazing ... I've worked with the greatest of all time and he is at the top ... Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall, Zappa, all greats, but Danny will emerge in the top 5."
- 1963 True Endeavor Jug Band The Art Of The Jug Band with Sam Charters - Danny Kalb - Artie Traum
- 1964 The New Strangers Meet The New Strangers with Sam Charters - Danny Kalb
- 1964 The Folk Stringers with Barry Kornfeld - Danny Kalb - Artie Rose
- 1964 Dave Van Ronk and the Rag Time Jug Stompers with Dave Van Ronk, Danny Kalb, Sam Charters, and Artie Rose
- 1964 The Blues Project (Electra) Various artists
- 1968 Crosscurrents with Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman
- 1995 Livin' With The Blues
- 2003 Together, Now
- 2007 Played a Little Fiddle Stefan Grossman, Danny Kalb and Steve Katz
- 2008 I'm Gonna Live The Life I Sing About with Bob Jones and Mark Ambrosino
- 2013 Moving in Blue (double-CD, with various sidemen and guests)
Please don't confuse this Danny Kalb with the Record Producer Danny Kalb. (www.dannykalb.com)