Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 06:35:11 :
San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, Feb. 1, 2002
Andy Kulberg, the longtime Marin County musician whose instrumental piece, "Flute Thing," with the Blues Project was one of the first "underground rock" hits, died after a long battle with cancer Monday at his Fairfax home. He was 57.
Mr. Kulberg was a classically trained music student at New York University when he joined the Danny Kalb Quartet on bass in 1965, a band that shortly thereafter became the Blues Project.
Buoyed by a regular Saturday night engagement at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village, the band quickly became one of the first popular underground rock bands in New York, blending blues, rock 'n' roll, folk and jazz.
"Flute Thing" was a signature piece -- based on a lick lifted from jazz guitarist Barney Kessel -- that Mr. Kulberg, who was a flutist and bassist, performed throughout his years with the group, including the band's performance at the historic 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.
That fall, Mr. Kulberg and Blues Project drummer Roy Blumenfeld moved to Marin County and formed another band called Seatrain (although not before this new group recorded one final Blues Project album, "Planned Obsolescence").
With Seatrain, Mr. Kulberg recorded four albums between 1969 and 1974, including a 1971 album for Capitol Records that made Seatrain the first new rock band to be produced by Sir George Martin after the dissolution of the Beatles.
Mr. Kulberg joined forces with guitarist Chris Michie of the Van Morrison band in 1976 to write and produce a wide variety of music for films, television and records.
He was the producer of a successful series of new age albums by violinist Daniel Kobialka. His original score for One Act Theater's "Dead End Kids" won an award from the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle in 1983.
Mr. Kulberg only recently returned to performing, playing several small club engagements last year in Marin with drummer Blumenfeld and pianist Mark Naftalin of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
He is survived by his wife, Lorie, of Fairfax, and three sons -- Zak, 21, and Nik, 18, both of Fairfax, and Alexei, 33, of San Anselmo. Services are pending.
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