It was October 1992, and I had been living on Cape Cod for a few weeks, and I was at the Chatham Sands in W. Chatham, now a Dunkin’ Donuts. I was listening to George Gritzbach, who was playing there with a keyboard player, when I struck up a conversation with the owner, who asked if I had a band. Yeah, sure, I replied, so she booked me for the first Saturday night in November 1992.
At that point, I had just met Tony Kahn, bassist, and he was the only musician I knew within 1300 miles, so I gave him a call, told him I had booked a gig, and we got together with Gary Locke on guitar and Pete Putnam on drums. We went through some tunes, had a conversation about a name, and I came up with the Kingfish. Gary and Tony said it should feature my name.
Many personnel changes since then, long periods when I was active in other bands, but this band has always been lots of fun, whether we are out as a trio or an eight-piece. I’ve gotten to play with some terrific musicians and made lots of friends, and heard and made some incredible music.
This edition of the Kingfish has been in place since 2009, and typically features guitar, bass, piano/organ, drums, and congas. Trombone, sax and/or trumpet are often added, space permitting. Steve Morgan and the Kingfish play modern blues and R&B. Unconventional and intriguing chord and harmonic choices in the original tunes let you know these ain’t the same ol’ blues.
Steve started playing blues in St. Louis MO in the late 1960’s, picked up slide around 1970 and has not quit playing yet. Deeply steeped in the history and traditions of the blues, seasoned by jazz and the Caribbean, Steve brings those influences to bear on the original tunes, many of which are not even remotely 12 bar blues tunes, but remain clearly blues.
Ed Wanamaker has been drumming since his early teens, and spent much of his adult life playing drums on Cape Cod. In 2009, he joined the Kingfish and has never looked back. Solid, tasteful, and rock steady, that’s Ed on the drums.
Bryant Edwards, congas, percussion and vocals, brings a strong R&B vibe to the Kingfish vocal arrangements, while the percussion pays tribute to the jazzy islands flavor that can appear in a Kingfish tune. A strong lead singer and performer, Bryant adds immeasurably to the vocal harmonic ‘stack’. A native of Fall River MA, he spent years singing and playing in various blues and R&B groups. He was also a founding member of the a capella group Avenue X. Bryant called Steve asking if he knew of anyone needing vocals, and a new member of Kingfish was on the scene.
Roe Osborn joined the Kingfish in Dec. 2012, bringing terrific harmonies to the group, as well as playing either electric or standup bass. His background includes playing bass for various folk groups and jazz combos. Solid and inventive on bass, a songwriter as well, he has quickly made himself an integral part of the Kingfish.
Pete Mann appeared without fanfare in the early part of 2013. After years of looking around for a master keyboard player, suddenly Pete appeared on the scene. Pete is quickly offering up a new dimension to our tunes. Solid bluesy jazzy chops…The addition of a keyboard to the Kingfish sound is a welcome one.
On any given night, look for one or more of these players:
Paul Lesniak, a transplant from the West Coast to the East on tenor sax, is a great sax player and fiery soloist.
John Wolf, trombone player extraordinaire, brings serious chops and background to the band. A native of Washington DC and a St. Louis transplant who ended up in the town of Wellfleet MA along with Steve, John has toured and recorded with Roomful of Blues, as well as touring with the Temptations, just to name a couple of his past band relationships. John is a solid swing player who also helps out on vocals.
Berke McKelvey on tenor and soprano sax and flute. Berke is a woodwind and reed instructor at Berklee, as well as being very in-demand on the Cape. A really interesting and inventive soloist.
Nick Suchecki, young and full of energy, may also be on bari, alto or tenor sax or flute.
Paul Dinsmore, trumpet player and vocalist, is an old friend of the Kingfish and the same goes for Karl Hoyt on trumpet or flugelhorn.