Buzz Feiten

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Born on November 4, 1948, Howard "Buzz" Feiten is a North American singer-songwriter, guitarist, session musician, and luthier. He is best known as a lead and rhythm guitarist and for having patented a tuning system for guitars and similar instruments. Feiten also manufactures and markets solid-body electric guitars.

Early years[edit]

Feiten grew up in Centerport, New York, where he was known by schoolmates and friends as 'Buzzy'. Son of a musical mother, Pauline (a classical pianist), and an airline pilot, Howard Sr., Feiten received training in classical music as a child. Feiten's older sister Paula was a top fashion-world 'cover girl' model in the mid-1960s. A younger brother, Jon, was also involved in music and the arts.

In youth, he studied several musical instruments, finally settling on the French Horn. As a teenager, he played in all-county (Suffolk) and all-state (New York) youth orchestras on the instrument.

Feiten first played Carnegie Hall in 1966, on French Horn, in a select All-American orchestra, American Youth Performs.[1] He would later return with other major acts, such as Rickie Lee Jones.[2] In 1966, he auditioned at the Juilliard School on the French Horn but was not admitted. Feiten was credited on the French Horn on one of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's 1960s albums.

He debuted in commercial pop / rock music with a high school band called The Reasons Why (other players were Steve Beckmeier (rhythm guitar), Al Stegmeyer (drums), Danny 'Fingers' Horton (lead guitar), and Daniel Kretzer (keyboards)). The Reasons Why were locally successful on Long Island, and two of their songs, "Tell Her One More Time" and "Same Old Worries" were mentioned in a Billboard 'new singles' article in the summer of 1966.

The Butterfield Blues Band[edit]

Still known as 'Buzzy', he jammed in New York City with Eric Clapton the next year,[citation needed] during Slowhand's 1967 first visit to the USA with supergroup Cream. He also backed up Jimi Hendrix on electric bass at least once during these first months after High School, while a student at NYC's Mannes College of Music. These experiences helped qualify Feiten, now increasingly seen as a 'wunderkind', to join the Paul Butterfield Blues Band at Butterfield's request, filling the post of the recently departed Elvin Bishop, who had gone solo.[3] Feiten recorded on the group's fifth album, Keep on Moving. PLus, with Butterfield, Feiten toured internationally, and played such gigs as the Atlantic City Pop Festival and the Woodstock Festival, polishing his 'chops' on rhythm 'n' blues. His playing can be found on some of the Woodstock recordings, including the second video compilation.

As he matured into the adult music scene, his nickname became modified to 'Buzz'.

Other projects, and Full Moon[edit]

Feiten's next major combo engagement was as lead guitarist with The Rascals, Felix Cavaliere's group (formerly known as the Young Rascals) on their Peaceful World and Island of Real albums, which included a few original Feiten songs. His original and almost legendary 'Jungle Walk' track on the latter album showcased both his technical proficiency and his penchant for genre-blurring innovation.[4]

But as a young-adult player, Feiten achieved musicians' musician status in 1971 with the independent project album Full Moon, featuring Neil Larsen (keyboards), Fred Beckmeier[5] (bass), Phillip Wilson (drums), and Brother Gene Dinwiddie on tenor saxophone. Sidemen contributing to Full Moon included Randy Brecker, Airto Moreira, Ray Barretto, Dave Holland, and vocalists Robin Clark and Tasha Thomas. A notable early example of Jazz Fusion, Full Moon gained airplay and vinyl album sales in some metropolitan and urban-suburban markets. It was re-released in 2000 on CD with a bonus track not included on the original. A sequel album, Buzz Feiten & The New Full Moon, was released in 1999, with a modified different complement of musicians: the original member Freddie Beckmeier, bass (brother of Steve from The Reasons Why), plus new members Jai Winding on keyboards, Brandon Fields on saxophones, and Gary Mallaber on drums. Two other Feiten projects had the 'Full Moon' name attached; one a Larsen-Feiten band studio-recorded release, and the other a 'live' album, Full Moon Live—early 1980s recordings of some of the original Full Moon and Larsen-Feiten Band songs, with Neil Larsen on keyboards, Lenny Castro on percussion, Art Rodriguez on drums, and Vernon Porter on bass.

Feiten has played with many well-known acts, and his discography includes well over 100 collections with various artists, playing music ranging from straight blues, cabaret standards, pop, rock 'n' roll, rhythm 'n' blues, jazz, and fusion. His own musical projects have included The Reasons Why (with whom he first played electric bass), Full Moon, the Larsen-Feiten Band, and the Whirlies. In 1998-99 he was a member of the Dave Weckl Band, and recorded songs (including some of his originals) on two of Weckl's CDs, Synergy and Rhythm of the Soul. Synergy is considered some of his best jazz / fusion work.

Feiten's recordings and/or performances include the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Rascals, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, The Brecker Brothers, Bruce Willis, Gregg Allman, James Taylor, Wilson Pickett, Chaka Khan, Olivia Newton-John, Neil Larsen,[6] Rickie Lee Jones, Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler, David Sanborn, Dave Weckl, Kenny Loggins, Art Porter Jr., Michael Franks, Dave Koz, Felix Cavaliere, Jeff Lorber, Commander Cody, Stuart Hamm, Jason Miles, Claus Ogerman, Boz Scaggs, Mr. Mister, Richard Pelkoff, Bill Quateman, and many other great jazz, pop, rock and blues musicians. His much-imitated style and techniques on the electric guitar can be heard throughout late 20th century and early 21st century pop, rock, jazz, and fusion music.

Feiten's songwriting (and sometimes singing) credits include tracks with the Reasons Why, the Rascals, Chicago (#18), Full Moon, Larsen-Feiten Band, Casino Lights, Whirlies, the Dave Weckl Band, and Guitar Workshop in L.A. (1988). On the latter rare CD, Feiten 'faced-off' in a 'battle of the guitarists' with three other great rock and pop fretmen, Teddy Castellucci, James Harrah, and Jeff Baxter, who may be best known for his work with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers.

Some of Feiten's CDs, compilations, and re-releases have only been marketed in Germany and Japan, with minimal commercial publicity in the USA.

More recent work[edit]

In 2008, Feiten recorded with Steve Postell, formerly of Little Blue and Pure Prairie League, on the album 'Time Still Knocking' (Immergent Records). Postell reported pre-release that Feiten was featured on three tracks from the CD, and that Feiten "... plays beautifully, and wrote two of the songs." And on December 2, 2010, Postell posted on his web site that "My song '3:35 Coming Through' just won Best Americana/Roots song at the HOLLYWOOD MUSIC IN MEDIA AWARDS ... A big part of what makes this song sound so good is the insanely great band on the track: drums, Steve Ferrone / bass, Leland Sklar / keys, Benmont Tench, Peter Adams / percussion, Debra Dobkin / guitars, Robben Ford, Buzzy Feiten / backing vocals, Gia Ciambotti / Dobro & vocals ..."

There was a late 2008 release of the Japanese-published 'Buzz Feiten with special guest Brandon Fields' on CD, recorded at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles on January 11, 2007. The band includes Jerry Watts, bass, Dave Beyer, drums, and John Thomas, keyboards—disc credits are in English and Japanese. Notable among the six included tracks is a tribute to the late Brotha Gene Dinwiddie, saxophonist in the original 'Full Moon' project album. A video of the tune's live performance, 'Hey Dinwiddie', can be found on YouTube as of this writing.

Re-release[edit]

In 2010, BGO Records, in cooperation with Felix Cavaliere, re-released the 1971 and 1972 Rascals albums Peaceful World and Island of Real as a re-mastered double CD. Feiten joined the Rascals (formerly known as the 'Young Rascals') in the late 1960s upon leaving the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, with whom he played at Woodstock. The double CD includes 3 original Feiten songs, 'Jungle Walk', 'In and Out of Love', and 'Icy Water'. He is also credited as co-writer on the title song 'Island of Real'. Feiten is featured on rhythm and lead guitar in all 23 tracks.

Late releases of early recordings[edit]

Taking place in roughly the same post-Butterfield Blues Band timeframe as his seminal 'Full Moon' project album, Feiten's 'Chicago Phase' featured his work with Bill Quateman. In 2014, Quateman released a 'new' CD of work recorded for Columbia Records (in 1972) now titled 'Almost Eve of Everything', with personnel including Feiten, David Sanborn, Paul Buckmaster, Caleb Quaye, John Payne, Tom Radtke, and Sid Sims, and with the new release produced by Quateman, Feiten, and Robin Geoffery Cable. Quateman refers to this as his 'Second Album' (never before released). Songs include Stone Fool, Ties That Bind, Rosie, Take Me Home, Cheap Circus, Roll With It, Amazed & Afraid, Good Old Days, He Come to Brief Me, and Rivers Come Rolling Home, all by Quateman. [This may be a re-release of some earlier material on a Japanese-produced CD called 'Bill Quateman & Buzz Feiten', released on Dreamsville in 2002.] Feiten's credit as co-producer indicates that he may have helped to engineer (restore) the recordings for release. At this writing (early 2015), 'Almost Eve of Everything' is available on www.billquateman.com

'Buzz Feiten tuning system'[edit]

In 1992, Feiten patented a new tuning system for guitars, now marketed as the 'Buzz Feiten tuning system'. The architecture of his system makes it possible to tune guitars and basses more accurately, resulting in more accurate tonality of notes played on the lowest 3 or 4 frets, which otherwise frequently play out-of-tune compared to notes played on the rest of the neck. The difference, though subtle, is especially evident in the playing of open chords.

The system requires some minor alterations to the instrument, and can be retrofitted to most guitars. The Buzz Feiten Tuning System is factory-installed on several well-known brands, plus guitars made by trained and qualified luthiers who are able to incorporate Feiten's formula into their instruments.

The Feiten tuning system can make use of a special guitar tuner featuring "Buzz Feiten presets" — the strings have to be tuned slightly flat or sharp because of the nut's compensations.[7]

Buzz Feiten Guitars[edit]

In 2012-2013, Buzz Feiten announced the establishment of a new firm, Buzz Feiten Guitars,[8] which would manufacture solid-body electric guitars. The firm initially offered five models, the Blues Pro, T Pro, Signature Elite, Classic Pro, and Elite Pro. Other models were subsequently announced.

Partial discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

  • Buzz Feiten with special guest Brandon Fields (2008), Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter
  • Buzz Feiten 'Whirlies' (2000), Guitars, Bass, Synth Bass, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Percussion, Background Vocals, Songwriter (on all tracks but one)
  • Buzz Feiten & The Whirlies, 'Live at the Baked Potato, Hollywood, 6-4-99' (2002), Guitar, Vocals, Producer
  • Buzz Feiten, 'Buzz Feiten & the new Full Moon' (2002), Guitars, Vocals, Percussion, Songwriter, Mixer, Producer
  • Full Moon, 'Full Moon' (1972, re-released in 2000), Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Songwriter, Co-Producer (on 2000 Re-Release)
  • Full Moon, 'Full Moon Live' (2002), Guitar, Vocal, Engineer, Producer, Songwriter

As co-leader[edit]

  • Larsen/Feiten Band, 'Larsen-Feiten Band' (1980), guitar, vocals, songwriter, horn co-arranger, co-songwriter
  • Larsen/Feiten Band, 'Full Moon featuring Neil Larsen & Buzz Feiten' (1982), guitar, vocals, horn co-arranger.

As band or group member[edit]

  • DVD: 'Paul Butterfield Band' (Concert September 15, 1978, at the Grugahalle in Essen, Germany), Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboard, Vocals. Includes an interview with the group, in which Buzz is credited by all with pulling the sidemen together for the concert. 'Rockpalast, the DVD Collection - Blues Rock Legends Vol 2', published by WestDeutsch Rundfunk, a division of SPV GmbH.
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, 'Keep on Moving' (1969), Guitar, Organ, French Horn, Background Vocals
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, 'An Anthology—The Elektra Years' (1997), Guitar, French Horn
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, 'Rockpalast: Blues Rock Legends, Vol. 2' (2010) (recording of Essen, Germany live concert September 15, 1978), Guitar
  • Dave Weckl Band, 'Rhythm of the Soul' (1998), Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm)
  • Dave Weckl Band, 'Synergy' (1999), Lead & Rhythm Electric Guitar, Nylon String Guitar, Songwriter on 'A Simple Prayer' & 'Panda's Dream', Co-Songwriter on 'High Life', 'Cape Fear', 'Wet Skin', and 'Where's My Paradise?'
  • Dave Weckl, 'The Zone' (2001), Lead & Rhythm Guitar—includes DVD video

As special event group member[edit]

  • Various Artists, 'Casino Lights' [Recorded Live at Montreaux, Switzerland] (1982), Guitar, Co-Songwriter (with Neil Larsen) on 'Casino Lights' and 'E Minor Song'.
  • Various Artists, 'Guitar Workshop in L.A.' (1988), Guitar, Co-Songwriter on 'Skunk Blues'.
  • Free Creek, 'Music From Free Creek' (1973), also released as 'Summit Meeting' (1976), Guitar
  • Lightnin' Rod, 'Hustlers Convention' (1973), Feiten/Larsen's Full Moon is the backing band for tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8, Kool and the Gang for tracks 1, 7, and 9

As regular featured guitarist or backup group member[edit]

  • Felix Cavaliere, 'Destiny' (1975), Guitar, Electric Sitar, Horn Arranger on 'Love Came'
  • Felix Cavaliere, 'Castles in the Air' (1979), Guitar
  • Aretha Franklin, 'Spirit in the Dark' (1970), Guitar
  • Aretha Franklin, 'Sweet Passion' (1977), Guitar
  • Aretha Franklin, 'Love All the Hurt Away' (1981), Guitar
  • Aretha Franklin, 'Legendary Queen of Soul' (1983), Guitar
  • Aretha Franklin, 'Get It Right' (1983), Guitar
  • Aretha Franklin, 'Never Grow Old' (1984), Guitar
  • Aretha Franklin, 'Soul Survivor' (1986), Guitar
  • Aretha Franklin, 'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism' (1987), Guitar
  • Rickie Lee Jones, 'Rickie Lee Jones' (1979), Guitar
  • Rickie Lee Jones, 'Pirates' (1981), Guitar
  • Rickie Lee Jones, 'Magazine' (1984), Guitar
  • Rickie Lee Jones. 'Flying Cowboys' (1989), Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Classical
  • Rickie Lee Jones, 'Satellites' (CD single), 1989, Guitar (Classical)
  • Rickie Lee Jones, 'Duchess Of Coolsville: An Anthology' (2005), Guitar
  • Dave Koz, 'Dave Koz' (1990), Guitar
  • Dave Koz, 'Lucky Man' (1993), Guitar
  • Neil Larsen, 'Jungle Fever' (1978), Guitar
  • Neil Larsen, 'High Gear' (1979), Guitar
  • Neil Larsen, 'Smooth Talk' (1989), Guitar
  • Neil Larsen, 'Through Any Window' (1990), Guitar
  • Bette Midler, 'No Frills' (1983), Guitar
  • Bette Midler, 'Experience the Divine' (Greatest Hits) (1995), Guitar
  • Bette Midler, 'Bette of Roses' (1995), Guitar, Arranger, Guitar (Rhythm), Tambourine, Associate Producer
  • Bette Midler, 'Experience the Divine' (1997), Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm), Associate Producer
  • Jeff Lorber, 'Private Passion' (1990), Guitar
  • Jeff Lorber, 'Worth Waiting For' (1991), Guitar
  • Jeff Lorber, 'Midnight' (1998), Guitar on 'Dear Prudence'
  • Randy Newman, 'Born Again' (1979), Guitar
  • Randy Newman, 'Land of Dreams' (1989), Guitar
  • Randy Newman, 'Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman' (1998), Guitar
  • Art Porter, 'Pocket City' (1992), Guitar on 'Texas Hump' and 'Little People'
  • Art Porter, 'Straight to the Point' (1993), Guitar
  • Art Porter, 'Undercover' (1994), Guitar (Rhythm)
  • Steve Postell, 'Time Still Knockin (2011), Guitar
  • The Rascals (formerly the Young Rascals), 'Peaceful World' (1971), Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Songwriter on 'Icy Water' and 'Love Letter'
  • The Rascals (formerly the Young Rascals), 'Island of Real' (1972), Guitar, Arp, Vocal and Songwriter on 'Jungle Walk', Songwriter (credited as "H. Feiten") on 'Island of Real'
  • The Rascals (formerly the Young Rascals), 'Anthology' (1965–1972) (1992), Guitar
  • David Sanborn, 'Taking Off' (1975), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
  • David Sanborn, 'Best of David Sanborn' (1975), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
  • David Sanborn, 'Voyeur' (1980), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
  • David Sanborn, 'As We Speak' (1981), Guitar (Electric)
  • David Sanborn, 'Backstreet' (1982), Guitar (Electric) on 'Backstreet'
  • David Sanborn, 'The Best of David Sanborn' (1994), Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
  • David Sanborn, 'Original Album Series' (2010) (5-album box set—Taking Off (1975), Sanborn (1976), Heart To Heart (1978), Hideaway (1979), Voyeur (1980)), Guitar
  • Tom Scott, 'Street Beat' (1979), Guitar
  • Tom Scott, 'Desire' (1982), Guitar (Electric)
  • Stevie Wonder, 'Music of My Mind' (1972), Guitar
  • Stevie Wonder, 'Talking Book' (1972), Guitar
  • Stevie Wonder, 'Songs in the Key of Life' (1976), Guitar

As studio, featured, guest, or sideman musician[edit]

  • Gregg Allman, 'Laid Back' (1973), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
  • George Benson, 'George Benson Collection' (1976), Guitar
  • Michel Berger, 'Dreams in Stone', Guitar
  • Stephen Bishop, 'Red Cab to Manhattan' (1980), Guitar
  • Doug Cameron, 'Journey to You' (1991), Guitar
  • Luis Cardenas, 'Animal Instinct', Guitar
  • Chicago, 'Chicago 18' (1986), Guitar
  • Phil Christian,'No Prisoner', Bass, Guitar
  • Gene Clark, 'No Other' (1974), Guitar
  • Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen, 'Flying Dreams' (1978), Guitar
  • Randy Crawford, 'Windsong' (1982), Guitar
  • Randy Crawford, 'Best of Randy Crawford' (1996), Guitar
  • Dino, '24/7' (1989), Guitar
  • Bob Dylan, 'New Morning' (1970), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
  • Bob Dylan, 'Nashville Skyline/New Morning' (1997), Guitar (Electric)
  • Kiki Ebsen, 'Red', Guitar
  • Michael Franks, 'Blue Pacific' (1990), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar
  • Rosie Gaines, 'Closer Than Close' (1995), Guitar
  • Jon Goodwin, 'How I Wasted My Life' (2000), Guitar (Electric)
  • Stefan Grossman, 'Perspective' (1979), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
  • Hall & Oates (Daryl Hall and John Oates), 'Change of Season' (1990), Guitar
  • Lani Hall, 'Double or Nothing' (1979), Guitar, Background Vocals, Songwriter on 'To Know' and 'Magic Garden'
  • Stuart Hamm, 'Kings of Sleep' (1989), Guitar
  • Stuart Hamm, 'Urge' (1991), Guitar, Vocals
  • Fareed Haque, 'Sacred Addiction' (1993), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Bass (Electric), Guitar (Electric)
  • Janis Ian, 'Restless Eyes' (1981), Electric Guitar
  • John Keane, 'Straight Away' (1999), Guitar
  • Bobby King & Terry Evans, 'Rhythm, Blues, Soul & Grooves' (1990), Guitar (w/ Ry Cooder also on guitar)
  • Brian Krinek, 'Flying High' (1995), Guitar
  • Labelle, 'Pressure Cookin' (1973), Guitar
  • Patti Labelle, 'Something Silver' (1997), Guitar
  • Kenny Loggins, 'Vox Humana' (1985), Guitar
  • Kenny Loggins, 'Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Greatest Hits of Kenny Loggins', (1997), Guitar
  • Love, 'Reel to Real' (1974), Guitar
  • Sara Lovell, 'Calling' (1998), Guitar
  • Melissa Manchester, 'Emergency' (1983), Guitar
  • The McCrarys, 'On the Other Side', Guitar
  • Murray McLauchlan, 'Murray Mclauchlan', Guitar
  • Don McLean, 'Don McLean' (1972), Guitar
  • Don McLean, 'Playin' Favourites' (1974), Guitar
  • Larry John McNally, 'Fade to Black', Guitar
  • Larry John McNally, 'Larry John McNally', Guitar (Electric)
  • Gary Meek, 'Gary Meek' (1991), Guitar
  • Jason Miles, 'Mr. X' (1996), Guitar
  • Alec Milstein, 'Dancing in the Rain' (2000), Guitar
  • Adam Mitchell, 'Redhead in Trouble' (1979), Guitar (Electric)
  • Patsy Moore, 'Regarding the Human Condition' (1992), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric)
  • Mr. Mister, 'Pull' (1990), Guitar
  • Mr. Mister, 'The Best of Mr. Mister' (2001), Guitar
  • Alannah Myles, 'Rockinghorse' (1992), Guitar
  • Novac, 'Fifth Word' (1970 ), Guitar, credited as "Buzzy Feitan"
  • Claus Ogerman (with Michael Brecker), 'Cityscape' (1982), Guitar
  • Stu Nunnery, 'Stu Nunnery' (1973), Bass, Guitar
  • Michael Paulo, 'Fusebox' (1990), Guitar
  • Bill Quateman, 'Just Like You' (1979), Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Rhythm), Vocals (bckgr). Also on guitar: Jeff Baxter.
  • Brenda Russell, 'Love Life' (1981), Guitar
  • Evie Sands, 'Suspended Animation' (1979), Guitar (Electric)
  • Boz Scaggs, 'Other Roads' (1988), Guitar
  • Ben Sidran, 'Cat and the Hat' (1977), 'Guitar'
  • Edwin Starr, 'Stronger Than You Think I Am' (1980), Guitar
  • Curtis Stigers, 'Curtis Stigers' (1991), Guitar
  • Syreeta, 'Syreeta' (1972), Guitar
  • Livingston Taylor, 'Over the Rainbow' (1973), Guitar
  • Livingston Taylor, 'Carolina Day: The Collection' (1998), Guitar
  • Tanya Tucker, 'Should I Do It' (1981), Guitar
  • Dwight Twilley, 'Jungle' (1984), Guitar
  • Jennifer Warnes, 'Shot through the Heart' (1979), Guitar
  • David Waters, 'Island Refugee' (1995), Guitar
  • Tim Weisberg, 'Best of Tim Weisberg: Smile!' (1979), Guitar
  • Tim Weisberg, 'Party of One' (1980), Guitar
  • Gary Wright, 'Heading Home' (1979), Guitar
  • Jesse Colin Young, 'Perfect Stranger' (1982), Guitar

In anthologies or samplers[edit]

  • Various Artists, 'JVC World Class Sampler, Vol. 2' (1989), Guitar
  • Various Artists, 'Rock of the 70's, Vol. 4' (1992), Guitar
  • Various Artists, 'Best of Smooth Jazz, Vol. 3' (1998), Guitar
  • Various Artists, 'Midnight Groove: Art of Smooth Jazz' (1998), Guitar

In film, television, or video Soundtracks[edit]

  • Michael Kamen, 'Hudson Hawk' (film), original score
  • Film 'Footloose' [Original Soundtrack] (1984), Guitar
  • Original TV Soundtrack, 'Melrose Place Jazz: Upstairs at MP' (1998), Guitar

References[edit]

External links[edit]