Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Alex Schultz was born in New York city in 1954, and at a young age became immersed in the city’s legacy of jazz. Studied with guitarist George Barnes and at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Early exposure to BB King, James Cotton and the Butterfield Blues Band planted seeds of a lifelong love of blues music.
Schultz moved to Los Angeles in 1979 and established himself as both a bass player and guitarist on the roots music scene, working for two and a half years with rock and roll/rhythm and blues pioneer Hank Ballard. This provided some early road experience, including playing Antone’s in Austin, Texas in 1986 and sharing stages with Jerry Lee Lewis, Albert Collins and many other greats.
Beginning 1986 worked with L.A. harmonica master William Clarke: recorded the W.C. Handy Award winning album “Blowing Like Hell”, played and recorded with Smokey Wilson, and made appearances on all 4 of Clarke’s releases on Chicago's Alligator label.
In 1988 began a seven year, five record association with Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, touring Australia, Japan, Europe and Scandinavia. Recordings included two albums on the Black Top label and “Live at BB King’s” recorded in Memphis. During this time the Flyers backed Jimmy Rogers, Lowell Fulsom, Louis Myers, Pine Top Perkins, James Cotton, Robert Ward, Earl King, Snooks Eaglin, Albert Collins, Larry Davis, etc. and supported the likes of Albert King, BB King, Al Green, Robert Cray, Dr. John, The Neville Bros., The Allman Bros. and more. Schultz left the group in ‘95 to pursue other projects as a free agent.
The first of these was a three year collaboration with blues rebel Lester Butler (ex- ‘Red Devils’ harmonica and vocals ) which resulted in the HighTone album “13 Featuring Lester Butler” and 4 European tours.
At the same time, Schultz appeared on two Delmark releases with old New York friend Tad Robinson, a collaboration that continues to the present day: co-producing and playing on Tad’s 2005 Handy nominated “Did You Ever Wonder” on the Severn label, numerous festival appearances in the U.S. and Europe, and playing on Tad’s upcoming (2007) release “A New Point Of View”.
A wide variety of freelance work has resulted in many recordings and tours, with artists including Italian harmonica player Egidio ‘Juke’ Ingala, Washington DC jump blues masters Big Joe & the Dynaflows, nu-swing band Royal Crown Revue, ‘Sax’ Gordon, Sugar Ray Norcia, Jimmy Morello, keyboardist Benjie Porecki, Kirk ‘Eli’ Fletcher, Mickey Champion, Frank ‘Paris Slim’ Goldwasser, Germany’s BB & the Blues Shacks, Italian guitarist Enrico Crivellaro and Austria’s Raphael Wressnig.
Finally, in October 2004, after playing on over 40 discs, Schultz’s first solo CD, “Think About It”, was released on the Severn label, bringing it all back home.