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Al Kooper
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    (February 5, 1944- )
    Born in Brooklyn, New York
    Birth name was Alan Peter Kuperschmidt
    Plays organ, piano, guitar, bass guitar, mandolin and percussion
    Founding member of The Blues Project (1965) and Blood, Sweat and Tears (1968)
    Recorded the albums 'Super Session' (with Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield, 1968), 'The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper' (1968), 'Kooper Session' (with Shuggie Otis, 1969), 'I Stand Alone' (1969), 'Easy Does It' (1970), 'New York City (You're A Woman)' (1971), 'A Possible Projection of the Future/Childhood's End' (1972), 'Naked Songs' (1973), 'Act Like Nothing's Wrong' (1974), 'Rekooperation' (1994), 'Black Coffee' (2005) and 'White Chocolate' (2008)
    Played on records by Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, B.B. King, Cream, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Alice Cooper, Joe Cocker, Trisha Yearwood, Joe Walsh and Peter, Paul and Mary
    Co-wrote 'This Diamond Ring' (#1 hit for Gary Lewis and the Playboys)
    Produced records by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Tubes, Ray Charles, the Staple Singers, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Joe Ely and David Essex
    Wrote 'Backstage Passes: Rock 'n' Roll Life in the Sixties' (1977)
    Musical director for the Rock Bottom Remainders
    He said of his early days as a session guitarist, 'They would hire me to get that 'dumb, kid sound.' I assume that's why I was hired, because I really couldn't play anywhere near as well as those other guys.'
    He is better known for his session work than his solo records.
    He sometimes used 'Roosevelt Gook' as a recording pseudonym.
    He quit the Blues Project just before they played the Monterey Pop Festival and left Blood, Sweat and Tears after one album.
    He was asked to appear at Woodstock but blew it off: 'I played at Central Park that weekend for two dollars a ticket in protest of their comparative high ticket prices. One of my great career moves, turning down the original Woodstock.'
    He became a professional musician at 14, when he joined the Royal Teens (of 'Short Shorts' fame).
    He has been called the Zelig of Rock for repeatedly appearing on key recordings.
    Invited to observe a Bob Dylan session, he bluffed his way onto the organ and came up with the distinctive riff for 'Like a Rolling Stone.'
    He discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd and produced their first three albums.
    'The Book of Rock Lists' described his memoir 'Backstage Passes' as 'the only book to capture the essentiall flavor of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll era all its seduction and silliness.'
    He taught songwriting and production at the Berklee College of Music.
    He recovered after having a walnut-sized tumor removed from his brain (2001).

Credit: C. Fishel

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