Hiram Bullock
17 June, 2003 at Motion Blue yokohama

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The mighty one rampages in Yokohama : jazz, blues, lightening fast metal licks all in the hands of the most versatile guitarist in the contemporary fusion scene. Experience the power of Hiram Bullock!

Official Site: http://www.hirambullock.com/

The mountain of man appeared from the back of the audience floor, interacting with the audience partly in Japanese. As he finished adjusting his guitar Hiram cranks up with crunchy rhythm riff on his Stratocaster. That's how "Got to get your jolly's" started and quickly the band started to soar high. During the solo section half-way into the song Hiram demonstrated his prowess on by playing the guitar only by the left hand over a few bars. The song began rather lightly but toward the end, featuring Yuta Saito on the Hammond B3, the band was already smoking. Together with Yuji Okiyama on the bass and Charley Drayton on the drums, Hiram led the scorching band as if they had been together all the time.

Next number was "Hurricane" and Hiram started off with a bluesy riff, sitting on the edge of the stage. Then he got up and took the vocals along with his trademark guitar sound which is quite smooth and powerful without being edgy. A Chicago style blues overall, and Hiram's guitar, quite reminiscent of super heroes such as Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, was so good that it made the whole house stagger.

Hiram Bullock(Guitars)@Charley Drayton(Drums)

For the next number, Hiram calls for Lew Soloff on stage, to the surprise and delight of the audience, "the god father of fusion" as Hiram called him, to perform "Here's that rainy day" on duet. For those who aren't familiar with Lew Soloff, he was a member of Blood, Sweat &Tears, as well as Manhattan Jazz Quintet, and has performed with jazz innovators such as Carla Bley and Gil Evans. Hiram on acoustic guitar, Lew on trumpet, the two starts softly playing the classic tune. Lew's brought wide range of sounds out of his trumpet, from flugelhorn-like soft sound to his trade mark high tone and the coffee cup mute as well.

The band returns to stage to play "Try livin' it" from the latest studio album. By Hiram's lead, the audience claps to the slow rhythm of the contemporary jazz tune. As the song proceeds, it picks up speed and turns into a funky jam, again featuring Lew Soloff with his soulful high tones on the trumpet.

Hiram introduces the next song, written by Charley Drayton: "I'm going to dedicate this song to George Bush. I'm going to send this to White House! The title of this song is "Greed". It didn't take much explanation for the audience to realize what he was talking about, and it didn't take long to get the audience raving either. Charley on the vocals, and Hiram on the guitar equipped with wireless transmitter goes about in the audience and stands on the back of seats, towering over everyone. What a scorching solo it was!

Yuta Saito(Keyboards)
Yuji Okiyama(Bass)

Next tune had a change in mood: "Ressha" (Train) by Yuta Saito from his album "Y". Yuta sang on this song as he played the keyboards. Hiram picked up Atelier Z white Stratocaster. Hiram was born in Osaka, and it must be from his upbringing that his backing chorus in Japanese sounded quite natural. The song itself is in the vein of catchy Japanese pop tunes, but Hiram and Charley converted it into a heard rocking tune and as Hiram played the bottle neck on his guitar the song developed into a New Orleans blues fusion. When the song finished, Hiram pointed at Yuta and said "he's a Japanese born in New Orleans!".

The guitar played with volume pedal and chorus effect introduced the next song "Change". The opening section sounded rather pastoral but it quickly turned into power fusion as Hiram's guitar solo kicked in. Yuji Okiyama on the bass anchored the whole tune very tastefully, which was noteworthy.

Without a break from the previous song, a long drum roll lead into the soulful funk fusion of "Da Alley". During the middle section Lew Soloff was called on stage. His unique style of playing short phrase in succession was quite effective in this funky tune. After changing the mouth piece Lew continued with outstanding jazzy phrases on solo. The band was soaring high and Yuji Okiyama's bass seemed to take it higher. Yuta Saito took a tasty synthesizer solo, along with Hiram and Lew accompanying with ad hoc riffs the two concocted right on the spot.

The small but enthusiastic audience cheered for more and Hiram came out from the back of the audience floor while singing to his guitar. The band and Lew Soloff joined moments later to play "Little Wing" by Jimi Hendrix. Lew Soloff takes the solo with his repeating short phrases and the long high note, which took the whole band to a climax. When Hiram took the vocals again, the rhythm section dove into the dub. The guitar exploded in the midst of rhythmical exploration, then joined by Lew Soloff the song climaxed even more to a tremendous ending.

Hiram Bullock, influenced by John McLaghlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and studied under Pat Metheny, through working with big names such as David Sanborn and Steely Dan, made himself the most versatile guitarist in the contemporary jazz/fusion scene. His performance style ranges from conventional jazz to heavy metal and the powerful licks and the guitar tones are enough to call him the "guitar pyrotechnician". With this performance he certainly set Yokohama on flames. The presence of Lew Soloff, whom Hiram worked with through Gil Evans, was an unexpected delight for the lucky audience who happened to be able to witness the splendor of the collaboration between two of the superstars of the fusion scene.

Hiram Bullock : Guitars
Charley Drayton : Drums
Yuji Okiyama : Bass
Yuta Saito : Keyboards

< Set list >
1. Got to get your jolly's
2. Hurricane
3. Here's that rainy day
4. Try livin' it
5. Greed
6. Ressha (Train)
7. Change
8. Da Alley

Little Wing

Report by Tatsuro Ueda
Photography by Asako Matsuzaka, Yoko Ueda
Edit & design by Asako Matsuzaka
Many thanks to
Motion Blue yokohama

Copyright (C) 2003 Global Artist Network. All rights reserved.