The Doobies Are Just Alright!

Thanks to Donna, who enjoyed Ted Baker’s piano solo in a Black Cow video, we were reminded of Mr. Cornelius Bumpus’ energy and contribution to some mighty fine music when he was with the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. We went looking and found this concert which we hope you’ll enjoy as much as we do.

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Remembering Hiram Bullock

Yesterday, the 25th of July, it was eight years ago that Hiram Bullock passed away at the age of 52. He had cancer. Hiram was a versatile musician who worked with the crème de la crème in the music industry, as a seasoned session guitarist and bandleader. Whether live and on tour, recording albums or featured in the band on television shows (Saturday Night Live and David Letterman), he was in for anything. Rock, blues, jazz fusion and ballads. Some prefer his chops as a guitar player, others praise his qualities as a singer. Think of Jimi Hendrix, Al Jarreau, Nat King Cole, Robert Kray and Frank Zappa in one voice. Yes, one of his fans compared Hiram’s singing to that of FZ!

John Beasley posted the cover of one of Hiram’s albums, Way Kool (1992), as a token of respect and remembrance.

“On the follow-up to his Atlantic debut, guitarist and producer Hiram Bullock pulled out all the stops and dove wholeheartedly onto the “funk” side of jazz-funk and left out the jazz. No, that’s not a bad thing. If anything, Way Kool feels a lot more like a funky rock record than anything else. With a handpicked cast of studio greats, Bullock set out to make a party record and he did it. From the screaming guitar work on “Da Alley,” to the deeply funky George Duke-styled keys and guitar wonk on “Show Me” (with its Prince-styled handclaps and big backing chorus), to the groovy bass pop and chunky chords on the title track, it’s all in there. On Way Kool Bullock showed that he couldn’t care less about what people thought he was or should have been doing, and he did exactly what he wanted — and this time it was making a primarily instrumental set (there are only three vocal cuts out of the ten here) that stayed close to rock and funk with up-to-the-minute production (that in retrospect sounds a bit dated). There is a jazzy instrumental ballad called “Never Give Up,” with some nice hand percussion from Don Alias and keyboard work from Dave Delhomme. But the strength of the set comes from Bullock’s guitar playing, and his screaming tone is the most enduring thing about it. Check the track that reveals its Prince influence not only in its instrumental attack but even in its title: “I No U.” The big funker “Wolfman” even contains scratching! The biggest surprise on Way Kool, however, is the cover of Lennon and McCartney’s “Dear Prudence” that closes the album. It’s modern, reverent, restrained, and quite beautiful. (Admittedly, it’s such a great song it would be tough to mess up.) Bullock’s guitar solo that takes over after the three-minute mark is killer. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide”

Hiram Bullock and Jaco Pastorius were good friends. Here is their take on the Beatles song Hiram also recorded on Way Kool.

Hiram Bullock with the WDR Big Band – Foxy Lady.

Bassist and friend Will Lee talks about Hiram. And you have to wait for it. Donald Fagen is mentioned.

Yeah. It’s everything what Will Lee said in the clip above 😉

Hiram Bullock. His melody still lingers on.

Hiram Bullock played on Gaucho. On My Rival, to be precise. We’ll conclude this Mizar6 entry with that very song in a HD version.

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We Know They’re Out There!

We have a soft spot for Steely Dan covers. They’re not just a testimony to excellent songwriting and a way to shape our own musical palette if we enjoy playing an instrument with friends and family for the fun of it, they also offer hope in darker times, when in doubt whether young generations can appreciate or recognize quality when they see and hear it. Our friend at the Steely Dan Covers page posted a brilliant rendition of Don’t Take Me Alive from the Royal Scam album, which can be seen as a perfect hybrid mix of rock, jazz, funk and quirky, setting the tone for Steely Dan’s electrifying energy and off the beaten track tenure. Thank you, Ethan Bill, for this gem!

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Michael Leonhart tackles Donald Trump

Grammy-winning trumpeter/composer/producer/arranger Michael Leonhart has performed/recorded with Yoko Ono, James Brown, Meryl Streep, Caetano Veloso, David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Steely Dan and the Charles Mingus Big Band. Michael’s trumpet playing was recently featured on Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ smash hit “Uptown Funk”.

In the spirit of these renowned artists who have continually kept an eye on politics and human rights issue, Michael crafted “Ronald Rump” with his Michael Leonhart Orchestra, a form of political satire using the uniquely brazen dialogue of Donald Trump from the public domain, featuring Nelson Cline on guitar!

Enjoy!

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Owen York at Madison Square Garden

OwenMSGLast year we received an email from a proud father who figured his son Own would be eligible for a Mizar6 mention. He deserved more than just a mention. Owen York is 12 years old now, but was a lot younger when he started to play Steely Dan tunes ‘from the heart’, as in, figuring out the chords and all that fuzz by himself. And it wasn’t just Steely Dan, but also Umphrey’s McGee, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Phish, Peter Gabriel and many others.

Umphrey’s McGee and Owen are good buddies by now, he got to hang out with them at a soundcheck last year. And the latest is this performance in Madison Square Garden. Yes. Your eyes are not faltering! Owen played at halftime during a Knicks game in March. Appropriately, he decided for a David Bowie song, Ziggy Stardust.

Father Harlan let us know that Owen’s not into multiple web appearances, auditions or a website of his own (apart from the YouTube channel), but prefers a regular childhood with the emphasis on getting good grades at school, playing soccer and golf with friends.

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