Norman Sylvester was born in Bonita, Louisiana in 1945. His earliest musical influence came from hearing gospel singing in church, and blues greats: BB King, Johnny Taylor and T-Bone Walker coming from the Juke Joints on the back streets of town. His family moved to Portland when he was in the 7th grade.
Norman’s first professional gig was in 1963 in high school with his friend, the late Isaac Scott. While starting his family and working “day jobs” in the 60’s & 70’s he played in local soul bands but his love for the blues was always calling to him. In the early ‘80s, he went to a concert with Buddy Guy and Albert Collins, after talking them into letting him sit in, they both encouraged him to leave the trucking industry and devote himself to a full-time career in music.
Over 30 years later The Norman Sylvester Band is going strong! After they played the first Waterfront Blues Festival in 1987, BB King invited them to open for him. They had the honor of opening for BB again as well as James Cotton, Mavis Staples, Little Ed & the Blues Imperials, Tower of Power, the Five Blind Boys, Peter Frampton and many others.
Norman has been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame as well as awarded Cascade Blues Association Life Time Achievement Award. The Norman Sylvester band—a blues staple in Northwest clubs, festivals, schools and private events—includes