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Artist Band Biography: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Sandy Bull - Music Artist Band Bio


Born 25 February 1941, New York City, New York, USA, d. 11 April 2001, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Having learned to play guitar at the age of eight, Bull gravitated to banjo, which he studied under Erik Darling, one of the instrument's leading practitioners. The young musician became immersed in folk circles while studying composition at Boston University, and later began adapting such forms to accommodate elements drawn from different traditions, including jazz, Arabic and Indian. He returned to New York in 1961 where he worked with the Washington Square Singers and performed solo in Greenwich Village cafes. His debut, Sandy Bull (Fantasias For Guitar And Banjo), featured accompaniment from Billy Higgins, drummer with avant garde saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Its highlight, arguably, was "Blend", a lengthy composition based on modal scale improvisation and hinged to a revelatory pattern of drone-like figures. This inventive, freewheeling style was maintained on ensuing releases, notably E Pluribus Unum, which contained two pieces, "No Deposit, No Return Blues" and "Electric Blend", a self-explanatory adaptation of the earlier opus.

Bull's career was badly undermined by drug abuse; he re-emerged in 1972 with the typically enthralling Demolition Derby, wryly denying his death in attendant interviews. He subsequently appeared as a guest on Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder tour, and played with Don Cherry in 1980. In 1988 he was featured in an acting role in the movie '68, which also starred Neil Young, and returned to recording with the typically eclectic Jukebox School Of Music. Following 1991's Vehicles, Bull moved to Nashville and set up his own Timeless Recording Society label, for whom he recorded the vocal album Steel Tears. He died in April 2001 following a long illness. Despite the brevity of Bull's musical output, the innovatory nature of his work should not be underemphasized.

Sandy Bull (Fantasias For Guitar And Banjo) (Vanguard 1963)****, Inventions (Vanguard 1965)***, E Pluribus Unum (Vanguard 1968)****, Demolition Derby (Vanguard 1972)****, Jukebox School Of Music (ROM 1988)***, Vehicles (ROM 1991)***, Steel Tears (Timeless Recording Society 1996)***.

The Essential Sandy Bull (Vanguard 1978)***, Re-Inventions: The Best Of The Vanguard Years (Vanguard 1999)****.

Source: Encyclopedia of Popular Music

Music Albums

Re-Inventions: The Best Of The Vanguard Years *

E Pluribus Unum

Jukebox School Of Music
Timeless Recording Society

Timeless Recording Society

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