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Valerie Johnson & Al B Blue: What Kind of Blue Is This?

Val & Al Live with Karen Tyler

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VJ & the Jumpin' Five

Valerie Johnson, an earthy lady with unearthly silk and steel vocal cords who makes music that walks right into your heart and shakes hands with your soul.

Born in the Bay Area, Valerie spent eight years polishing her voice as she toured Europe with the Bitburg Gospel Messengers and sang gospel and blues in the Far East.

She also sang lead for Big Brother and the Holding Company, the band made famous by Janis Joplin. Although often compared to Etta James and Janis Joplin, Valerie is a genuinely original talent with a direct line to the spirit of the blues. She also sang with the award winning Blues/Gospel group the Holmes Brothers and Boogie Woogie Piano Queen, Deanna Bogart.

Al B Blue started out as a classically trained pianist, then formed a street corner doo-wop group in Camden, N.J..

Upon moving to California, Al picked up the guitar and was soon playing major clubs in Los Angeles. In the L.A. club scene he met then joined Big Black & the Congregation, an Afro-Funk band, that toured the West Coast with Curtis Mayfield and Hugh Masekala.

That gig led to an offer to play with a blues band touring the legendary Chitlin’ Circuit. That tour established Al’s reputation as a roots bluesman... the real deal!

Bob Brenman began playing the clarinet when he was eight, and picked up the sax a few years later. Bob was a dance band leader in high school and in a jazz combo in college. While living in Eureka, California, Bob played Dixieland Jazz and "oldies" rock and roll for more than 25 years. Since moving to San Luis Obispo 10 years ago, Bob has played jazz with The Nighthawks, swing with The Viper Six, and blues with Valerie Johnson. Bob has just recently retired and taken down his shingle as, “Dr. Brenman, Physician.”

Kenneth Davis is a drummer and percussionist who resides in San Luis Obispo County. His wide range of experience belies his 23 years of age. Kenneth has played numerous live concerts, including five years as the drummer for the Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band. Although Davis is a multi-instrumentalist, he has become renowned for his skills on the drums and washboard.

Elita Chaffin is an upright bass player who is part of high profile musical family. Her mother, Nonie Chaffin, is a well known West Coast accordionist and her daughter, Molly Reeves, (who now resides in New Orleans) is a wildly popular Central Coast singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist, who was formerly the leader of the Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band. Elita studied vocal arts for many years but when she began playing upright bass as a means to accompany herself on vocals in the practice room, the path to her musical fulfillment became clear.