Norman “Boogie Cat” Sylvester was born in the farmlands of Bonita Louisiana, his earliest musical influence came from gospel singing in church and hearing the blues on the back street of town where he wasn’t allowed to go. His family moved to Portland in 1957 in the “great migration” when he was in the 7th grade. Norman learned to play in church from high school friend, “King of Seattle Blues” Isaac Scott and had his first professional gig in 1963. He went to a concert of Buddy Guy and talked his way on stage. After his performance, Buddy encouraged him to devote himself to a career in music and then he was hooked! He continued in the ’80s as a Teamster working to support his strong family of seven children & nine grandchildren but also formed the Norman Sylvester Band with his Bass player of 35+ years, Rob Shoemaker.
After the Norman Sylvester Band played the first Waterfront Blues Festival in 1987, BB King invited them to open for him twice. They have since played with James Cotton, Mavis Staples, Little Ed and 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, awarded Cascade Blues Association Life Time Achievement Award and the Norman Sylvester Band was named Hall of Fame Best R&B Band. The band also works in local schools teaching Blues History and mentoring future artists.