Richie Kotzen: Breaks Down The Essence Of Live

“I never concern myself with duplicating the sonic realm of my albums when I perform live,” says Richie Kotzen, whose recent release, Live in Sao Paulo [Headroom], documents a thrill-filled concert from his 2007 tour of South America. “Some players really struggle with their gear choices in an attempt to bring the same tones and effects to the stage that they used when they were making their record. But that’s not realistic, and it’s also not very inspiring for me to go out and copy what I did one evening in the studio. For me, the focus of playing live is to bring life to the music through a three-piece band that’s in front of an audience, and, to do that, I don’t want to be held hostage to what might have happened in the studio. The common thread between live and studio work is the songs, but, beyond that, the music should change and evolve onstage as you respond to your band mates and to the audience. The performance is the thing—your purpose is to make music and be ex
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Funk/rock/fusion ace Hiram Bullock (1955-2008), perhaps best known for his electrifying performances with Paul Shaffer in the house band on Late Night with David Letterman in the early ’80s, passed away on July 25. (Bullock revealed earlier this year he had been fighting a throat tumor.) The guitarist leaves behind a string of groove-heavy solo albums, and session credits with everyone from Marcus Miller, David Sanborn, and Steely Dan to James Taylor, Phyllis Hyman, and Carla Bley. Limber and loose, always dancing in place—even while holding down rhythm guitar parts behind Sly Stone, Bootsy Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan or other stars—Bullock had a crowd-pleasing, larger than life stage presence. He could be a delightful ham, and was never afraid to step into the spotlight and take an explosive solo. One could practically hear his notes and feel the groove of the song through his body language alone. —Jude Gold

A veteran of both the Greenwich Village and Woodstock folk scenes, guitarist/ producer Artie Traum(1943-2008) died on July 20 at the age of 65. His brother, guitarist Happy Traum, told the New York Times the cause of death was liver cancer. A multi-talented multi-tasker, Artie recorded solo albums, produced instructional guitar videos for his brother’s company (Homespun Tapes), toured the world performing music, did some film scoring, hosted a radio show, and even made a documentary film about the Catskill water system. Traum is survived by his wife, Beverly. — Jude Gold

Guitarist/composer/arranger and onagain, off-again dairy farmer Joe Beck (1945-2008) lost his battle with lung cancer on July 22. Beck, who came of age in the New York jazz scene of the 1960s, leaves behind an impressive résumé that includes stints with James Brown, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, and other luminaries. In addition to recording solo albums, he is known for collaborations with David Sanborn and Jimmy Bruno, as well as his contribution to Esther Phillips’ hit single “What a Difference a Day Makes.”— Jude Gold