Ben King Perkoff - photo by Simon Papaioannou Ben 'King' Perkoff, who was born in Santa Monica, California, started to play the saxophone when he was 16 years old. He loved the sound of the sax in rock and jazz and admired artists like King Curtis, Junior Walker and Bobby Keys. It was the latter's solo on "Can't Hear Me Knockin'" from the Rolling Stones' 1971 album "Sticky Fingers" that made Ben pick up the tenor sax.

Ben also admired jazz greats like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane but his strongest influence was (and is) the blues and rhythm & blues, especially King Curtis. Ben got his stage name King Perkoff when he was playing a solo at River City in Fairfax with Big Mama Thornton. Someone in the audience yelled out KING PERKOFF and the name stuck.

Like many Bay Area artists from Marin County, Ben went to Tam High. Ben recalls that the amount of talent at this high school was really unusual. "Mr Greenwood was the band director, he was a professional jazz bass player and a really nice guy, but a lot of the guys just formed bands outside of the school. So many great musicians: John, Antonia and Mario Cipollina; Hugh (Huey Lewis) and Jeff Cregg; Bill Champlin; Dan Hayes; Mark Adams; Byron Sutton; Derrick Walker; Lonnie "Showtime" Walter; Larry Holman; Mark Stockham and many more- the list is long. At that time in Marin County there were so many GOOD bands and there was a real sense of community. That's all gone now."

Ben also remembers Bruce Walford - a great guitar player who was in the first King Perkoff Band and also ran the Church in San Anselmo. He was a recording engineer at Fantasy Records and died in around 1980 of a brain tumor. Also, Charlie Deal who is a legend in Mill Valley. Not the best player around, but someone who always managed to put together good bands and get gigs - another Mill Valley nut.


It is obvious that Ben has a great musical background and thus had many chances to play with other (Bay Area) artists - see Ben's website for complete list - and play saxophone on some of their albums: "Crusin' For A Brusin'" - Michael Bloomfield; "Rock 'N' Roll Heaven" - The Novato Frank Band; "Songs and Bloozes!" -Nick Katzman; "Blues March Volume 1" - Rudy Stevenson; "Soul Session" - Guitar Crusher with the Rudy Stevenson Soul Band live at Yorkschlösschen; "Steppin' up in Class" - Lisa Kindred Band; "The Best of Professor Washboard Bands 2002" - Professor Washboard and "Dream Walking" - Derrick Big Walker.

In addition Ben has recorded three solo CDs - first he moved to Germany though. It was with Derrick 'Big' Walker (who is now living in Sweden) that Ben came to Germany - where he also met his wife Jeannette. Nevertheless Ben's first two albums were recorded at The Saloon in San Francisco. Both of these albums contain high energy performances and moments to cool down again as well - outstanding music, may it be cover tunes or originals. It is pure fun to listen to these albums, as the King really knows how to blow his tenor sax and songs like "You Can't Sit Down" force you to move - Bay Area music at its best. Plus, the albums do feature a string of guest artists (see discography) who simply guarantee good music. Ben's latest album "Blue Fun" which was recorded in Berlin, Germany, is highly recommended as well, as it makes you want more of King Perkoff's music. Check it out!!!



  • 1995 Sax Serenade
  • 1998 Let's Stay Together
  • 2002 Blue Fun

    Sax SerenadeKing Perkoff
    Sax Serenade

    (KP Productions 1995)
    Soul Serenade -- Night Train -- Blues For Philly Joe -- When A Man Loves A Woman -- Mr. J -- Angel Eyes -- Higher & Higher -- You Can't Sit Down

    Recorded live at The Saloon, North Beach, San Francisco

    Musicians: Ben "King" Perkoff, Joe Henderson, Si Perkoff, Ira Kamin, Greg Douglass, Steve Webber, Geno Skaggs, Lonnie Showtime, Bobby Riddell, Harold Jones, Andrew Kirby

    from artist!
    Let's Stay TogetherKing Perkoff Band
    Let's Stay Together

    (The Saloon Recordings 1998)
    Let's Stay Together -- What's Going On -- My Funny Valentine -- Jeannette's Song -- Cold Duck Time -- There's Something On You Mind -- Mister Magic

    Recorded live at The Saloon, North Beach, San Francisco

    Musicians: Ben "King" Perkoff, Si Perkoff, Max Perkoff, Andrew Kirby, Ron Butkovich, Ray Brock, Lonnie "Showtime" Walter, Bobby Riddell

    from artist!
    Blue FunBen "King" Perkoff
    Blue Fun

    (KP Productions 2002)
    Hot Cha -- Move Over Rover -- I Remember Clifford -- Hep Cat Blues -- When Something Is Wrong With My Baby -- Hold On I'm Coming -- A Change Is Gonna Come -- Sister Sadie -- The Ballerina -- Blue Fun

    Recorded in Fister Studios in Berlin.

    Musicians: Ben "King" Perkoff, Ernie Schmiedel, Rudy Stevenson, Hans Hoffmann, Klaus Krüger

    from artist!


    Further Links:

  • Official Website
        Order CDs, read the latest..

  • Ben "King" Perkoff @
        King Perkoff Band - includes sound samples.


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