Mark Naftalin entered the musical scene in 1965 as the keyboardist with the popular and influential Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He is internationally renowned among blues fans for his contributions to the band's sound. In 2015 he was inducted with the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Since leaving the Butterfield Band and settling in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1968 (and then in Connecticut in 2002), Naftalin has continued to work as a musician (soloist, accompanist, bandleader). Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "a brilliant pianist who puts a touch of genius in his blues," he has concertized and recorded over the years as a soloist and with some of the best-known names in his field -- Percy Mayfield, Lowell Fulson, John Lee Hooker, Otis Rush, James Cotton, Michael Bloomfield, Buddy Guy, Big Joe Turner, Etta James, Charlie Musselwhite, Big Mama Thornton, Brownie McGhee, Junior Wells, Roy Brown, Pee Wee Crayton, Ron Thompson, Maurice McKinnies...and many more.
In the popular music field, Naftalin's recording credits include the piano part on Brewer & Shipley's top-ten national hit "One Toke Over The Line," and piano and electronic keyboard parts on Van Morrison's classic album St. Domenic's Preview.
Naftalin has also been active as a festival and broadcast producer in the Bay Area and elsewhere, starting in 1978 with a series of Sunday-night blues extravaganzas at San Francisco's Boarding House. In 1979 he launched Mark Naftalin's Blue Monday Party, a weekly blues show and dance that ran continuously through late 1983 at two North Bay clubs, with Naftalin as bandleader and host. The event -- which was ultimately the scene of 86 live radio broadcasts (KTIM-FM San Rafael) and three Videotunes television specials -- lives on through CD and DVD releases from Winner Producing Company. The Blue Monday Party live broadcast was honored with the Billboard Radio Award for best locally-oriented special programming in 1982.
Mark Naftalin's Blues Power Hour aired on KTIM-FM San Rafael from 1979 to 1983 (239 shows); on KFOG-FM San Francisco from 1987 to 1990 (145 shows); and every week from June 1984 through December 2011 on KALW-FM San Francisco, where it still pops up from time to time (993 shows so far, not including replays). The Blues Power Hour on KALW received the Bay Area's Tom Donahue Radio Award for best program on a non-commercial station in 1992.
Naftalin's current regularly-scheduled broadcast is The Mark Naftalin Show, which airs on WPKN-FM Bridgeport, and streams on wpkn.org. The show, which started in January of 2016, airs on the second Wednesday of every month, from 4 to 7 pm Eastern.
Naftalin's other productions include the Marin County Blues Festival In San Rafael, California (1981-2000); the Westport Blues Festival in Westport, Connecticut (1993-94); and the Labor Day Blues 'N' Soul Party in Marin City, California (1998 - 2004).
For more on Mark Naftalin and Winner Producing Company, please visit bluespower.com.