WCSU

Artist Profiles - Guitarist Hiram Bullock

Hiram Law Bullock was a jazz funk and jazz fusion guitarist.

He was born on September, 1955 in Osaka, Japan to African American parents serving in the U.S. Military. At the age of two he returned to Baltimore, Maryland with his parents, and quickly showed a prodigious musical talent. He studied piano at the city's Peabody Conservatory of Music, giving his first public performance aged just six. After spells playing the saxophone and bass, he took up the electric guitar at 16.

Bullock studied at the University of Miami music college, meeting guitarists Pat Metheny and Steve Morse, and bass-players Jaco Pastorius and Will Lee. He paid his way at university by playing nightclub gigs in Florida, before moving to New York. He became best known for his playing with Pastorius, on Late Night with David Letterman and work with David Sanborn and Bob James. His work can be heard on Steely Dan's Gaucho (1980), Paul Simon's One Trick Pony (1980), Sting's ...Nothing Like the Sun (1987) (solo on the cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing") and Billy Joel's The Stranger (1977). He also did work for Harry Belafonte, Marcus Miller, Carla Bley, Miles Davis, Ruben Rada (on the album Montevideo) and Gil Evans.

He recorded as a member of the 24th Street Band, who released 3 albums: 24th Street Band (1979), Share Your Dreams (1980) and Bokutachi (1981). In 1982, he released his debut album, called First Class Vagabond, which was exclusively distributed for the Japanese music market by the JVC-Victor Company, and later reissued on CD.

In 1986, Bullock released his first album as a leader for Atlantic Records called From All Sides, followed by the albums Give It What You Got in 1987, and Way Kool in 1990. Shortly after the Atlantic albums, he recorded a few tracks from those specific sessions for a live event at the NYC-located Indigo Blues Venue, in order to eventually release it on laserdisc and CD for the commercial market in Japan.

On May 27, 2004, he teamed up with legendary drummer Billy Cobham for a performance of the works of Jimi Hendrix at the University of Cologne in Germany. In 2007, Bullock was diagnosed with throat cancer, but died in July, 2008.