My musical career began at age nine when I started formal lessons on the piano and soon after began the electric organ, as well. During my teens, my interest in music turned from the classical tradition to jazz and all the areas of pop music. I was leading my own band when I was thirteen, and the leadership role has never stopped. I started playing piano (ragtime) in pizza parlors when I was fourteen. I also played in a drum and bugle corps, and played various band instruments in high school, including French horn, trumpet, saxophones and, of course, the drums.
My keyboard abilities took over and I found myself playing in my own jazz trios when I was seventeen. My age at the time did present some problems in certain clubs, but we managed. Growing up in northern California as a musician was not the most inspiring place in the world, but I managed to expand my horizons by playing in rock bands throughout high school. Joe Morrello, the famous drummer from the Brubeck Group, came to town and I was fortunate to playa concert with Joe. He liked my playing and that was it –I was on my way.
I’ll give you the educational run-down now. I attended Chico State as a piano major and studied with Fred Laxton. During my time at Chico, I led various bands and explored rock and roll and more jazz gigs, including some free jazz which was popular in the beat era. My funk career also began in Chico with a band called the Big Timers, believe it or not a James Brown-type review with lead singer and three female vocalists. John Henry Rivers was the lead vocalist. We were hot.
After Chico, I went on the road playing in funk bands and show groups, but still maintained my interest in jazz music. I ended up in Sacramento for awhile, and played the Jazz rooms in Oak Park as a jazz organist. These gigs put me on the other side of the tracks, so to speak, which was an eye-opener for a boy from Oroville. I could hang musically and had an innate ability to swing and play funk
Playing in Sacramento again was not the most exciting place to be, and after five years there I made my to the Bay Area. I played with all the top players in the capitol city and co-led a band called Jon Quil, where we ran the Voodoo Down-¬our version of the Miles Davis Bitches Brew thing. Again I was attending school at Cosumnes River College and Sacramento State as a piano and composition major. That’s where I met Herb Harrison who would teach me how to write and arrange for big band. He was the greatest! Remember now, at this point, I’m playing all kinds of gigs and going to school everyday. I played seven nights a week for three years –how about that!?! At this time, my compositional talent began to blossom by writing lots of tunes for all types of groups. My passion for composition has never stopped. I have composed over five thousand pieces of music to this point.
My schooling came to an end when I graduated from San Francisco State with a Masters degree in composition and upper division piano status. By this time, I had become very acquainted with atonal as well tonal concepts, and wanted to be a film writer, but destiny had other plans. Oddly enough, I did get the chance later on to do a number of commercials and some documentary short films. In short, I became a college-level music professor, and continued that aspect of my musical life for the next forty years. I was Professor of jazz studies and music theory at Solano College, and taught at U. C. Davis for seven years as Director of jazz ensembles, combos, and improvisation.
Although teaching jazz studies and every related aspect of music became my passion, I never let my individual career suffer. I began to form various ensembles using Bay Area professionals, along with my most talented students. I organized piano and organ trios, quartets, quintets, including Septagon (a seven piece fusion band), the Delbert Bump Tentet, (a fusion funk affair with rhythm section and six horns), then of course the jazz organ big band. Now I’m currently performing with a seven piece Latin jazz group and an organ quintet.
I have produced, directed, and performed on over fourteen records of my own music, using top-notch sidemen from all over the country. I am currently getting ready to release an organ recording featuring Greg Yasinitsky-tenor, Doug Morton-trumpet, Nioshi Jackson-drums, Steve Homan-guitar, Lorca Hart-drums, and Delbert Bump-organ. The CD is entitled “Round the Komer”, and I’m very pleased with the results. The music is a combination of some hard bop and some hot funk. The players are great and the writing is really happening.
Other projects include the following CDs: “Bump Ahead” solo jazz piano, “Organization” an organ trio, “I’m Sure ofIt” piano trio, “Skies of Wonder” piano trio, “Summer Selections” solo piano with synthesizer, “Treasured Encounters” organ trio, “Carnival of Soul ” a record with Mike Clark, “Tres Plus” a latin jazz trio plus percussion, “Round the Komer” an organ quintet, and finally a number of projects that are finished but not yet available.
My musical path has involved either playing in my bands or as a sideman with the following players: Joe Morrello, Mike Clark, Jamie Davis, Lou Rawls, Terry Haggerty, Tom Pulitzer, Mike McMullen, Steve Homan, Lee Konitz, Mel Graves, Jim NcNeely, Jimmy Daniels, Jimmy Robinson,Charles MxNeil, Anthony Peterson, Dennis Farius, Ray Loeckle, Steve Campos, Gary Pack, Bobby Freeman, The Marvalettes, The Platters, Little Anthony, Martha and Vandellas, The Shireles, Myles Cope, Francesca Gore, Clairdee, Johtmy Cymbol, Blue Mitchel, Fat Head Newman, Jack Walrath, T. Moran, Rory Snider, Kevin Hayes, Rose Mary Clooney, Tony Adamo, Donny Brooks, Dick and DeeDee, Franky Lee, the Whispers, the Olympics, Johnny Bishop, Donald Bailey, Chris Amberger, Michael Barsamonto, Babatunde Lea, Barry Finnerty, John Stowall, Charlie Gray, Mel Martin, Bill Douglas, Beth Duncan, Nelson and Wayne Braxton, Derrick Jones, David Halliday, Eddie Henderson, John Handy, Bishop Norman Williams, David Frazier, Bruce Forman, Alan Hall, Steve Ergiaga, Marcus Rivers, Ray Torres, George Walker, Ed Avilla, Legrand Rogers, Steve Gundy, Robert Kaumba, Clarence Beckton, Smiley Winters, Bennett Friedman, Virginia Ayrs, Jimmy Goings, Bobbie Simmons, Noel Jukes, AI Bent, Dan Parenti, Jonathan Herrera, Grahm Bruce, Rob Roth, Robbie Kwock, Greg Handy, Tim Acosta, Larry Lunetta, Brian Swartz, Michael Belair, Brain Pardo, Steve Roach, Pete Magadini, Donald Harrison, Terry Myers, Rob Dixon, Doc Gupta, Dezon Clayborn, Curt Moore, Eric Thompson, Elliot Kavee, Bob Affifi, Dave Synder, Dave Haggelgance, Ted Avery, Brian McVicker, Paul and Mark Vonvaginhagen, Carlos Medrano, Dorothy Morrison, Bill Conti, Greg Reginato, Mark Johnson, Paul Jackson, Vince Denim, Mingo Lewis, Guido Fazio, Mike Formanack, Lee Charlton, Curtis Olson, Jim Nichols, Greg Origo, Rashan Fredrickson, Marvin McFadden, Gaylord Birch, Mike Zilber, and so many more. As a matter of fact I have worked with or been acquainted with most Bay Area musicians throughout my career.
As a band leader, my contacts are great, and I’m always on the look-out for talent. I have always maintained my musical integrity. My experience as a professor included students at all levels. My composing abilities are apparent at all levels, including orchestra, concert band, big band, film, commercials, small group arrangements of all types, original jazz compositions, arrangements for vocalists, original vocal material, educational publications, instructional videos, a host of YouTube clips, and the list goes on and on.
It is the nature of the business to realize ones potential. My publishing and recording projects have now taken the forefront of my musical output. I am always available for gigs, master classes, guest artist performances, writing and arranging projects, recordings, producing, tours, and spreading the love of music we all share.
It is my hope that my RiffTime instructional material is valuable to you. Share it with your friends and stay in touch via the internet. Enjoy the struggle –it is well worth the effort.
“Keep swingin’… the goal is the journey and the music you make….”