Hiram Bullock

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Hiram Bullock
Bullock in 2006
Bullock in 2006
Background information
Birth nameHiram Law Bullock
Born(1955-09-11)September 11, 1955
Osaka, Japan
DiedJuly 25, 2008(2008-07-25) (aged 52)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz fusion

Hiram Law Bullock (September 11, 1955 – July 25, 2008) was an American guitarist known mainly for playing in jazz funk and jazz fusion, but he also worked as a session musician in a variety of genres.


Bullock was born 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 showed musical talent. He studied piano at the city's Peabody Conservatory of Music, giving his first public performance at the age of six. After playing saxophone and bass guitar, he took up the electric guitar at age sixteen.[1]

Bullock attended McDonogh School for Boys in Reisterstown, Maryland. He was captain of the band in middle school. He studied at the University of Miami, where he met guitarists Pat Metheny and Steve Morse, and bass players Jaco Pastorius and Will Lee. He paid for tuition by performing at nightclubs in Florida before moving to New York. He became best known for playing with Lee on Late Night with David Letterman and working with David Sanborn and Bob James. His work can be heard on Bob James' Angela which is also the theme song for the TV show Taxi, Steely Dan's Gaucho (1980), Paul Simon's One Trick Pony (1980), Sting's ...Nothing Like the Sun (1987) and Billy Joel's The Stranger (1977). He also worked with Harry Belafonte, Marcus Miller, Carla Bley, Miles Davis, Ruben Rada, and Gil Evans.

He recorded as a member of the 24th Street Band, which released three albums: 24th Street Band (1979), Share Your Dreams (1980) and Bokutachi (1981). In 1982, he released his debut album, First Class Vagabond, which was exclusively distributed for the Japanese market by the JVC-Victor Company and later reissued on CD. Also in 1982, he was an original member of The World's Most Dangerous Band, the house band on the NBC-TV program Late Night with David Letterman. He stayed with Letterman's show for about two years. 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 sessions for a live event at the Indigo Blues Venue, in order to release it in Japan. His live band from the Indigo Blues sessions included Dave Delhomme (keyboards), Steve Logan (bass guitar), and Steven Wolf (drums).

On May 27, 2004, he teamed up with drummer Billy Cobham for a performance of the works of Jimi Hendrix at the University of Cologne in Germany. An album of this performance was released posthumously in 2008.

He had his own signature model guitars made by Cort, the HBS & HBS-II.

Bullock died of cancer on July 25, 2008 in New York City, at the age of 52.[2]


As leader[edit]

  • First Class Vagabond (Trio, 1982)
  • From All Sides (Atlantic, 1986)
  • Give It What U Got (Atlantic, 1987)
  • PDB with Jaco Pastorius, Kenwood Dennard (DIW, 1989)
  • Way Kool (Atlantic, 1992)
  • World of Collision (Big World Music, 1994)
  • A-014 (Jazz a Go-go, 1996)
  • Manny's Car Wash (Big World Music, 1996)
  • Carrasco (Fantasy, 1997)
  • Late Night Talk (Venus, 1997)
  • 55 Bar Sessions with Haru Takauchi, Leni Stern, Mike Stern (Paddle Wheel, 1998)
  • Guitar Man (JVC, 2000)
  • Color Me (JVC, 2001)
  • Try Livin' It (ESC, 2003)
  • Jam Jam/The Heavy Cats (& Forest Music, 2004)
  • Too Funky 2 Ignore (BHM, 2005)
  • Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix (BHM, 2005)

As sideman[edit]

With Carla Bley

With Brecker Brothers

With Bill Evans

  • The Alternative Man (Blue Note, 1985)
  • Big Fun (ESC, 2002)
  • Soul Bop Band Live (BHM, 2005)

With Gil Evans

With Roberta Flack

With Michael Franks

With Bob James

  • Touchdown (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1978)
  • Lucky Seven (Tappan Zee/Columbia, 1979)
  • H (Tappan Zee, 1980)
  • Joined at the Hip (Evosound, 2019)

With Chaka Khan

With David Matthews

  • Dune (CTI, 1977)
  • Digital Love (Electric Bird, 1979)
  • Guitars On Fire! (Bandai, 1996)

With Marcus Miller

With Idris Muhammad

  • Turn This Mutha Out (Kudu, 1977)
  • You Ain't No Friend of Mine! (Fantasy, 1978)
  • Boogie to the Top (Kudu, 1978)
  • Foxhuntin (Fantasy, 1979)
  • My Turn (Lipstick, 1991)

With Jaco Pastorius

  • Live in New York City Vol. 1: Punk Jazz (Big World Music, 1990)
  • Live in New York City Vol. 2: Trio (Big World Music, 1991)
  • Live in New York City Vol. 3: Promise Land (Big World Music, 1991)
  • Trio 2 Live in New York City Vol. 4 (Big World Music, 1992)
  • Jaco Pastorius in New York (Jazz Door 1993)
  • Live in New York City Vol. 6: Punk Jazz 2 (Big World Music, 1998)
  • Live in New York City Vol. 7: History (Big World Music, 1998)

With David Sanborn

With Spyro Gyra

With Lew Soloff

  • Hanalei Bay (Bellaphon, 1985)
  • Rainbow Mountain (Enja, 1999)

With Bonnie Tyler

With others


  1. ^ Salewicz, Chris (28 July 2008). "Hiram Bullock: Charismatic jazz-rock guitarist". The Independent.
  2. ^ Chinen, Nate (31 July 2008). "Hiram Bullock, 52, Soulful Guitarist, Dies". The New York Times.

External links[edit]