KEN SAYDAK, a native of Chicago, Illinois, has enjoyed a fifty-year career as a musician, writer, vocalist, and producer. He currently hosts a two-hour weekly blues radio program, The Trinidaddio Blues Hours on
KCRT-FM, a commercial station near his home in southern Colorado.
2018 saw the release of a long awaited project, The Rockwell Avenue Blues Band, Back To Chicago, featuring Ken along with lifelong friends and collaborators Steve Freund, Tad Robinson, Harlan Terson, and Marty Binder in a collection of original songs. The rave reviews of this Delmark Records release by a stellar group of Chicago veterans resulted in the band’s appearance at the 2018 Chicago Blues Festival (where Ken also performed solo on the mainstage in a tribute to Delmark’s legendary catalog of renowned blues artists). The band also appeared at the 2019 Trinidaddio Blues Festival.
Ken is the pianist, organist, and accordionist on over seventy albums by national and international artists. His 2015 release, Live In La Veta Vol. 2 (SnailWorx), and 2013’s Live In La Veta Vol. 1 follow his other solo-career recordings, It’s My Soul (Evidence Records) in 2005 and two discs on the Delmark label, Love Without Trust (2001) and his solo debut, Foolish Man (1999). All of his recordings showcase his instantly recognizable vocals and piano style, as well as his insightful, engaging, and often humorous songwriting.
A co-producer of the two Rounder Records CDs with his 1990’s American roots band, Big Shoulders, Big Shoulders and Nickel History, he also produced his latest SnailWorx albums, both of his Delmark CDs, blues singer Zora Young‘s critically acclaimed 2000 release, Learned My Lesson (Delmark), and international blues ambassador and bassist Bob Stroger‘s solo debut, In The House, recorded live at the Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland.
Ken’s career as a performer has taken him to concert and festival stages on four continents, including extensive tours and appearances in Europe, Israel,
South Africa, and Japan. The list of artists who have enlisted his talents both on stage and in the studio include Johnny Winter, Otis Rush, Willie Kent,
Bo Diddley, Lonnie Brooks, John Primer, Mighty Joe Young, Billy Boy Arnold, Sam Lay, Dave Specter, James Wheeler, Tad Robinson,
Lurrie Bell, Mississippi Heat, Bonnie Lee, Steve Freund, Zora Young, Johnny B. Moore, Karen Carroll, Eddie Shaw, The Cash Box Kings,
Billy Flynn, Jesse Fortune, Barkin’ Bill Smith, Bandallamas, Alex Wilson, Paul Filipowicz, Al Miller, and Ron Sorin.
Here’s what the critics have said:
“…Then there is Ken Saydak. It is his songwriting and singing that make him sound like a barroom bard, street sage and soapbox preacher all rolled into one cat disguised as a gifted pianist and organist…”
David Mac – Blues Junction Productions
“Ken Saydak has built an impressive body of work with his three solo albums and his studio work…It’s My Soul is his best stand-alone project yet”…
“Though veteran session man and Big Shoulders bandleader Ken Saydak has left Chicago, his commitment to America’s greatest music remains unabated. On It’s My Soul, the singer-songwriter-keyboardist bolsters the canons of blues and roots music with a dozen compelling new songs, delivered with gruffly good-natured vocals and towering piano and organ performances….It’s My Soul is an excellent listen.”
Blues Revue Magazine
“It’s My Soul…reaches back through labels and categories to clutch the still-pumping heart of the simple and glorious music that became rock ‘n’ roll – the seminal, simmering soul stew bursting with different but related flavors: the twangs of country music, the tangs of New Orleans R&B, the heart pangs of gospel, and the ka-bang! of the blues…
All About Jazz
“Vocalist/keyboardist and Windy City blues vet Ken Saydak is a gripping frontman…”
“With a rock-solid left hand pumping out the rhythms and a right hand that lightly caresses the keys one moment and pounds them into boogie-woogie submission the next, he demonstrates why the piano has retained a prominent spot in the blues world despite the glut of guitar slingers.”
Blues Revue Magazine
“Our man is a true blues pianist all around, at the same time soft and deep, a worthy heir to Otis Spann, a champion of an instrument which has lost its prestige. In addition, he’s a sensitive composer, occasionally autobiographical, absolutely gifted for socio-economic or philosophical vignettes about daily life and human relationships.”
Soul Bag Magazine, Paris
“Frontman Ken Saydak has a huge, gruff vocal delivery and a flair for writing involved, strong compositions that – while blues-drenched – are often lyrically uplifting and musically complex. Saydak looks far beyond booze, cheating, partying and heartbreak for inspiration.”
Twin Cities Reader
“Ken Saydak is an artist and a poet.”
Al Lewis – KBAI-FM New York City