Jerry Portnoy was born in 1943 and grew up in the blues-rich atmosphere of Chicago's famous Maxwell Street Market during the golden age of Chicago Blues. He began his professional career in the late 60s and since that time has performed, live and on television, for millions of people around the world.
During a career that includes six years as a member of the fabled Muddy Waters Blues Band, another six as leader of the Legendary Blues Band, four years at the head of his own band The Streamliners, and another four as a featured member of the Eric Clapton Band, his touring schedule has carried him to every state in the union and twenty-eight foreign countries on six continents, with performances at the White House, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, the Smithsonian, London's Royal Albert Hall, and at major jazz festivals worldwide, including the Newport Jazz Festival, the Montreaux Jazz Festival, the Warsaw International Jazz Jamboree, the Hawaii Pacific Jazz and Music Fair, and the Grande Parade du Jazz in Nice, France.
Jerry has played on several Grammy Award-winning albums while recording with a wide variety of artists, and was a Grammy Award nominee in 1997 for his work with the Muddy Waters Tribute Band. Television credits include appearances on Saturday Night Live, Soundstage, MTV, VH1, and the Disney Channel, as well as writing and performing original music for Sesame Street. In addition, he has lectured at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, and his definitive 3/CD instructional package, Jerry Portnoy's Blues Harmonica Masterclass, is widely regarded as the premier teaching tool for those wishing to learn the instrument. Jerry Portnoy now makes his home outside Boston, Massachusetts.