Photo by John Kurc

Greg Rzab

GREG RZAB: BASS

Greg was born and raised in Harvey, Illinois, a city near the south side of Chicago. He began playing bass when he was 15 years old. “I would spend hours playing along with Jimi Hendrix records, at full volume! I’m pretty sure it drove my parents crazy.”

A couple of years later, he saw Muddy Waters perform, standing a few feet away from the man himself. This proved to be a powerful experience inspiring Greg to further explore the blues scene that was thriving in Chicago at that time. He spent many nights frequenting the blues clubs watching the musicians and sitting in whenever possible.

Around the age of 21, Greg was invited to play a show with Otis Rush. Otis liked what he heard that night, and he immediately asked the young bassist to join the band. This was, of course, an invaluable opportunity to apprentice with one of the true blues masters of all time.

Also, during this time, Greg found work with Hubert Sumlin, Otis Clay, Albert Collins, Koko Taylor, John Lee Hooker, and Junior Wells amongst others. It was a fertile period in blues history to be sure, which provided Greg with a unique first-hand education.

One night, while performing with Junior Wells, Greg was spotted by Buddy Guy who was searching for the right bass player for his new band. Greg got the job, so beginning a tenure that would last for 12 years, touring the world and recording on several of Buddy’s Grammy award-winning records, most notably the pivotal “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues”.

After leaving Buddy Guy’s band, Greg received a call from John Mayall with an offer to become a member of “the exalted ranks of the Bluesbreakers”, and he excitedly accepted. Just as things were going well, a reluctant departure from the Mayall band was required by an unforeseen turn of events. A session with the Rolling Stones led Greg to be recommended for a project with Jimmy Page, which resulted in an unforgettable touring experience.

Now back in the band with Mayall, Greg has more than made his mark onstage and in the studio with John.

Some of the outstanding artists Rzab has recorded and performed with include…Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Mark Knopfler, Joe Walsh, Carlos Santana, the Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, The Black Crowes, and Stevie Ray Vaughan to name a few.

Recently, in Blue Matters Magazine, a leading European music publication, Greg was named #1 International Blues Bass Player, winning the readers poll voting over many other highly regarded bass players.

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