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Popular Session GuitaristCopyright © 2008
A popular and versatile sideman whose credits included Steely Dan, Al Green, Carla Bley and extensive television work, guitarist Hiram Bullock died at age 52 from complications related to a long-term drug addiction.
A graduate of the University of Miami jazz program, where his classmates included Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius and Will Lee, Bullock made an immediate impact when he moved to New York City in the 1970s. He became a regular with bands led by David Sanborn and Randy and Michael Brecker, and co-led the 24th Street Band with drummer Steve Jordan. In 1982, keyboardist Paul Schaffer, who produced the 24th Street Band's second album, recruited Bullock to play guitar in the World's Most Dangerous Band -- the house band on David Letterman's television program.
A charismatic performer, Bullock racked up dozens of studio and touring credits with performers like Chaka Khan, James Taylor, Sting and Paul Simon while retaining his jazz credibility through gigs with the Gil Evans Orchestra and Miles Davis. His own recordings included Late Night Talk in 1996 and Try Livin' It in 2003.
Diagnosed with throat cancer in 2007, Bullock seemed to have beaten the disease, but he could not overcome the effects of a decades-long substance-abuse problem. He is survived by his wife and two step-sons.