Jazz / Rock Guitarist Hiram Bullock has died

8 Aug

Sad news, Hiram Bullock is dead at age 52, here from the NYTimes:

Hiram Bullock, a soulful and adaptable jazz and rock guitarist who was a member of the original band for “Late Night with David Letterman,” died last Friday in Manhattan. He was 52.

Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times

The cause is pending, said Jennifer Armstrong, his partner of 16 years. Mr. Bullock was found to have cancer of the tongue last fall, she said.

Mr. Bullock played on some blockbuster pop albums, including “The Stranger” by Billy Joel, Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” and the soundtrack to “A Star is Born” by Barbra Streisand. His best-known solo was on the 1987 Sting album “Nothing Like the Sun,” in a version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.

But Mr. Bullock was always more than a session ace. He made his biggest impact in the realm of jazz-rock, funk and fusion, and his own albums, which often featured his singing and songwriting, never strayed far from that base. His last one, released on BHM in 2005, was “Too Funky 2 Ignore.”

He had substantial and productive relationships with other jazz musicians, including the composer and arranger Gil Evans, who served as a kind of mentor, and the bassist Jaco Pastorius, who taught him and employed him in multiple bands.

Born in Osaka, Japan, to parents serving in the United States military, Mr. Bullock grew up mainly in Baltimore, where he studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. He played the saxophone and bass guitar before switching to guitar at 16. Then, at the University of Miami, he studied with the guitarist Pat Metheny and Pastorius, supporting himself with steady work in local clubs. One of his gigs was with the soul singer Phyllis Hyman, who took him with her to New York. (click above NYTimes link for the full article)

I own several of his CDs and found him to be a highly talented player, very funky with tremendous speed.  He also did lots of session work and if you ever come across this CD, he did some great work on it:

And for sure, if you don’t have this CD, get it.

R.I.P. Hiram


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