Howard "Buzz" Feiten is a North American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and session musician. He is best known as a lead and rhythm guitarist, and for having patented a unique, scientifically designed tuning system which re-configures its stringboard / neck for more accurate tonality.
Feiten grew up in Centerport, New York, where he was known by schoolmates and friends as 'Buzzy'. Son of a musical mother, Pauline (a classical pianist), and an airline pilot, Howard Sr., Feiten received training in classical music as a child. Feiten's older sister Paula was a top fashion-world 'cover girl' model in the mid-1960s. A younger brother, Jon, was also involved in music and the arts.
In youth, he studied several musical instruments, finally settling on the French Horn. As a teenager, he played in all-county (Suffolk) and all-state (New York) youth orchestras on the instrument.
Feiten first played Carnegie Hall in 1966, on French Horn, in a select All-American orchestra, American Youth Performs. He would later return with other major acts, such as Rickie Lee Jones. In 1966, he auditioned at the Juilliard School on the French Horn but was not admitted. Feiten was credited on the French Horn on one of Paul Butterfield's 1960s albums. He debuted in commercial pop / rock music with a high school band called The Reasons Why (other players were Steve Beckmeier (rhythm guitar), Al Stegmeyer (drums), Danny 'Fingers' Horton (lead guitar), and Daniel Kretzer (keyboards)). The Reasons Why were locally successful on Long Island, and two of their songs, "Tell Her One More Time" and "Same Old Worries" were mentioned in a Billboard 'new singles' article in the summer of 1966.
The Butterfield Blues BandEdit
Still known as 'Buzzy', he jammed in New York City with Eric Clapton the next year, during Slowhand's 1967 first visit to the USA with supergroup Cream. This experience helped qualify Feiten, now increasingly seen as a 'wunderkind', to join the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, filling the post of the departed Elvin Bishop, who had gone solo. Feiten recorded on the group's fifth album, Keep on Moving.
With Butterfield, Feiten toured internationally, and played such famous gigs as the Atlantic City Pop Festival and the legendary Woodstock Festival, polishing his 'chops' on rhythm 'n' blues. As he matured into the adult music scene, his nickname became modified to 'Buzz'.
Other projects, and Full MoonEdit
Feiten's next major combo engagement was as lead guitarist with The Rascals, Felix Cavaliere's group (formerly known as the Young Rascals) on their Peaceful World and Island of Real albums, including a few original Feiten songs.
But as a young-adult player, Feiten achieved musicians' musician status in 1971 with the independent project album Full Moon, featuring Neil Larsen (keyboards), Freddie Beckmeier (bass), Phillip Wilson (drums), and Brother Gene Dinwiddie on tenor saxophone. Sidemen contributing to Full Moon included Randy Brecker, Airto Moreira, Ray Barretto, Dave Holland, and vocalists Robin Clark and Tasha Thomas. A notable early example of Jazz Fusion, Full Moon gained airplay and vinyl album sales in some metropolitan and urban-suburban markets. It was re-released in 2000 on CD with a bonus track not included on the original. A sequel album, Buzz Feiten & The New Full Moon, was released in 1999, with a modified different complement of musicians: the original member Freddie Beckmeier, bass (brother of Steve from The Reasons Why), plus new members Jai Winding on keyboards, Brandon Fields on saxophones, and Gary Mallaber on drums. Two other Feiten projects had the 'Full Moon' name attached; one a Larsen-Feiten band studio-recorded release, and the other a 'live' album, Full Moon Live -- early 1980s recordings of some of the original Full Moon and Larsen-Feiten Band songs, with Neil Larsen on keyboards, Lenny Castro on percussion, Art Rodriguez on drums, and Vernon Porter on bass.
Feiten has played with many well-known acts, and his discography includes well over 100 collections with various artists, playing music ranging from straight blues, cabaret standards, pop, rock 'n' roll, rhythm 'n' blues, jazz, and fusion. His own musical projects have included The Reasons Why (with whom he first played electric bass), Full Moon, the Larsen-Feiten Band, and the Whirlies. In 1998-99 he was a member of the Dave Weckl Band, and recorded songs (including some of his originals) on two of Weckl's CDs, Synergy and Rhythm of the Soul. Synergy is considered some of his best jazz / fusion work.
Feiten's recordings and/or performances include the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Rascals, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, The Brecker Brothers, Bruce Willis, Gregg Allman, James Taylor, Wilson Pickett, Chaka Khan, Olivia Newton-John, Neil Larsen, Rickie Lee Jones, Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler, David Sanborn, Dave Weckl, Kenny Loggins, Art Porter Jr., Michael Franks, Dave Koz, Felix Cavaliere, Jeff Lorber, Commander Cody, Stuart Hamm, Jason Miles, Claus Ogerman, Boz Scaggs, Mr. Mister, Richard Pelkoff, Bill Quateman, and many other great jazz, pop, rock and blues musicians. His much-imitated style and techniques on the electric guitar can be heard throughout late 20th century and early 21st century pop, rock, jazz, and fusion music.
Feiten's songwriting (and sometimes singing) credits include tracks with the Reasons Why, the Rascals, Chicago (#18), Full Moon, Larsen-Feiten Band, Casino Lights, Whirlies, the Dave Weckl Band, and Guitar Workshop in L.A. (1988). On the latter rare CD, Feiten 'faced-off' in a 'battle of the guitarists' with three other great rock and pop fretmen, Teddy Castellucci, James Harrah, and Jeff Baxter, who may be best known for his work with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers.
Some of Feiten's CDs, compilations, and re-releases have only been marketed in Germany and Japan, with minimal commercial publicity in the USA.
More Recent WorkEdit
Steve Postell, formerly with Little Blue and Pure Prairie League, reported in 2008 that Feiten was featured on three tracks from his new CD, released that year. Postell said that Feiten "... plays beautifully, and wrote two of the songs." And on December 2, 2010, he posted on his web site that "My song '3:35 Coming Through' just won Best Americana/Roots song at the HOLLYWOOD MUSIC IN MEDIA AWARDS ... A big part of what makes this song sound so good is the insanely great band on the track: drums, Steve Ferrone / bass, Leland Sklar / keys, Benmont Tench, Peter Adams / percussion, Debra Dobkin / guitars, Robben Ford, Buzzy Feiten / backing vocals, Gia Ciambotti / Dobro & vocals, me ..."
There was a late 2008 release of the Japanese-published 'Buzz Feiten with special guest Brandon Fields' on CD, recorded at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles on January 11, 2007. The band includes Jerry Watts, bass, Dave Beyer, drums, and John Thomas, keyboards—disc credits are in English and Japanese. Notable among the six included tracks is a tribute to the late Brotha Gene Dinwiddie, saxophonist in the original 'Full Moon' project album. A video of the tune's live performance, 'Hey Dinwiddie', can be found on YouTube as of this writing.
In 2010, BGO Records, in cooperation with Felix Cavaliere, re-released the 1971 and 1972 Rascals albums Peaceful World and Island of Real as a re-mastered double CD. Feiten joined the Rascals (formerly known as the 'Young Rascals') in the late 1960s upon leaving the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, with whom he played at Woodstock. The double CD includes 3 original Feiten songs, 'Jungle Walk', 'In and Out of Love', and 'Icy Water'. He is also credited as co-writer on the title song 'Island of Real'. Feiten is featured on rhythm and lead guitar in all 23 tracks.
'Buzz Feiten Tuning System'Edit
In 1992, Feiten patented a new tuning system for guitars, now marketed as the 'Buzz Feiten tuning system'. The architecture of his system makes it possible to tune guitars and basses more accurately, resulting in more accurate tonality of notes played on the lowest 3 or 4 frets, which otherwise frequently play out-of-tune compared to notes played on the rest of the neck. The difference, though subtle, is especially evident in the playing of open chords.
The system requires some minor alterations to the instrument, and can be retrofitted to most guitars that do not already have it. At this writing, the retrofit normally retails for around $139. The Buzz Feiten Tuning System is factory-installed on several well-known brands of guitars and electric basses. There are also several dozen qualified luthiers who are able to incorporate Feiten's patented temper-tuning mathematical formula into their instruments.
The Feiten tuning system can make use of a special guitar tuner featuring "Buzz Feiten presets" — the strings have to be tuned slightly flat or sharp because of the nut's compensations. Feiten's web site contains instructions on how his system can be tuned without such a tuner. The original intonations of the altered guitars must be done by a Feiten-licensed technician.
Partial Discography Edit
As Leader Buzz Feiten with special guest Brandon Fields (2008), Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter Buzz Feiten 'Whirlies' (2000), Guitars, Bass, Synth Bass, Mandolin, Bouzouki, Percussion, Background Vocals, Songwriter (on all tracks but one) Buzz Feiten & The Whirlies, 'Live at the Baked Potato, Hollywood, 6-4-99' (2002), Guitar, Vocals, Producer Buzz Feiten, 'Buzz Feiten & the new Full Moon' (2002), Guitars, Vocals, Percussion, Songwriter, Mixer, Producer Full Moon, 'Full Moon' (1972, re-released in 2000), Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Songwriter, Co-Producer (on 2000 Re-Release) Full Moon, 'Full Moon Live' (2002), Guitar, Vocal, Engineer, Producer, Songwriter As Co-Leader Larsen/Feiten Band, 'Larsen-Feiten Band' (1980), Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter, Horn Co-Arranger, Co-Songwriter Larsen/Feiten Band, 'Full Moon' (1982), Guitar, Vocals, Horn Co-Arranger As Band or Group Member The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, 'Keep on Moving' (1969), Guitar, Organ, French Horn, Background Vocals The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, 'An Anthology—The Elektra Years' (1997), Guitar, French Horn The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, 'Rockpalast: Blues Rock Legends, Vol. 2' (2010) (recording of Essen, Germany live concert September 15, 1978), Guitar Dave Weckl Band, 'Rhythm of the Soul' (1998), Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm) Dave Weckl Band, 'Synergy' (1999), Lead & Rhythm Electric Guitar, Nylon String Guitar, Songwriter on 'A Simple Prayer' & 'Panda's Dream', Co-Songwriter on 'High Life', 'Cape Fear', 'Wet Skin', and 'Where's My Paradise?' Dave Weckl, 'The Zone' (2001), Lead & Rhythm Guitar—includes DVD video As 'Special Event' Group Member Various Artists, 'Casino Lights' [Recorded Live at Montreaux, Switzerland] (1982), Guitar, Co-Songwriter (with Neil Larsen) on 'Casino Lights' and 'E Minor Song'. Various Artists, 'Guitar Workshop in L.A.' (1988), Guitar, Co-Songwriter on 'Skunk Blues'. Free Creek, 'Music From Free Creek' (1973), also released as 'Summit Meeting' (1976), Guitar Lightnin' Rod (with Kool and the Gang), 'Hustler's Convention' (1973), Guitar As Regular Featured Guitarist or 'Backup' Group Member Felix Cavaliere, 'Destiny' (1975), Guitar, Electric Sitar, Horn Arranger on 'Love Came' Felix Cavaliere, 'Castles in the Air' (1979), Guitar Aretha Franklin, 'Spirit in the Dark' (1970), Guitar Aretha Franklin, 'Sweet Passion' (1977), Guitar Aretha Franklin, 'Love All the Hurt Away' (1981), Guitar Aretha Franklin, 'Legendary Queen of Soul' (1983), Guitar Aretha Franklin, 'Get It Right' (1983), Guitar Aretha Franklin, 'Never Grow Old' (1984), Guitar Aretha Franklin, 'Soul Survivor' (1986), Guitar Aretha Franklin, 'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism' (1987), Guitar Rickie Lee Jones, 'Rickie Lee Jones' (1979), Guitar Rickie Lee Jones, 'Pirates' (1981), Guitar Rickie Lee Jones, 'Magazine' (1984), Guitar Rickie Lee Jones. 'Flying Cowboys' (1989), Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Classical) Rickie Lee Jones, 'Duchess Of Coolsville: An Anthology' (2005), Guitar Dave Koz, 'Dave Koz' (1990), Guitar Dave Koz, 'Lucky Man' (1993), Guitar Neil Larsen, 'Jungle Fever' (1978), Guitar Neil Larsen, 'High Gear' (1979), Guitar Neil Larsen, 'Smooth Talk' (1989), Guitar Neil Larsen, 'Through Any Window' (1990), Guitar Bette Midler, 'No Frills' (1983), Guitar Bette Midler, 'Experience the Divine' (Greatest Hits) (1995), Guitar Bette Midler, 'Bette of Roses' (1995), Guitar, Arranger, Guitar (Rhythm), Tambourine, Associate Producer Bette Midler, 'Experience the Divine' (1997), Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm), Associate Producer Jeff Lorber, 'Private Passion' (1990), Guitar Jeff Lorber, 'Worth Waiting For' (1991), Guitar Jeff Lorber, 'Midnight' (1998), Guitar on 'Dear Prudence' Randy Newman, 'Born Again' (1979), Guitar Randy Newman, 'Land of Dreams' (1989), Guitar Randy Newman, 'Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman' (1998), Guitar Art Porter, 'Pocket City' (1992), Guitar on 'Texas Hump' and 'Little People' Art Porter, 'Straight to the Point' (1993), Guitar Art Porter, 'Undercover' (1994), Guitar (Rhythm)
Steve Postell, 'Time Still Knockin (2011), Guitar The Rascals (formerly the Young Rascals), 'Peaceful World' (1971), Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Songwriter on 'Icy Water' and 'Love Letter' The Rascals (formerly the Young Rascals), 'Island of Real' (1972), Guitar, Arp, Vocal and Songwriter on 'Jungle Walk', Songwriter (credited as "H. Feiten") on 'Island of Real' The Rascals (formerly the Young Rascals), 'Anthology' (1965–1972) (1992), Guitar David Sanborn, 'Taking Off' (1975), Guitar, Guitar (Electric) David Sanborn, 'Best of David Sanborn' (1975), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric) David Sanborn, 'Voyeur' (1980), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric) David Sanborn, 'As We Speak' (1981), Guitar (Electric) David Sanborn, 'Backstreet' (1982), Guitar (Electric) on 'Backstreet' David Sanborn, 'The Best of David Sanborn' (1994), Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar David Sanborn, 'Original Album Series' (2010) (5-album box set—Taking Off (1975), Sanborn (1976), Heart To Heart (1978), Hideaway (1979), Voyeur (1980)), Guitar Tom Scott, 'Street Beat' (1979), Guitar Tom Scott, 'Desire' (1982), Guitar (Electric) Stevie Wonder, 'Music of My Mind' (1972), Guitar Stevie Wonder, 'Talking Book' (1972), Guitar Stevie Wonder, 'Songs in the Key of Life' (1976), Guitar As Studio, Featured, Guest, or 'Sideman' Musician Gregg Allman, 'Laid Back' (1973), Guitar, Guitar (Electric) George Benson, 'George Benson Collection' (1976), Guitar Michel Berger, 'Dreams in Stone', Guitar Stephen Bishop, 'Red Cab to Manhattan' (1980), Guitar Doug Cameron, 'Journey to You' (1991), Guitar Luis Cardenas, 'Animal Instinct', Guitar Chicago, 'Chicago 18' (1986), Guitar Phil Christian,'No Prisoner', Bass, Guitar Gene Clark, 'No Other' (1974), Guitar Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen, 'Flying Dreams' (1978), Guitar Randy Crawford, 'Windsong' (1982), Guitar Randy Crawford, 'Best of Randy Crawford' (1996), Guitar Dino, '24/7' (1989), Guitar Bob Dylan, 'New Morning' (1970), Guitar, Guitar (Electric) Bob Dylan, 'Nashville Skyline/New Morning' (1997), Guitar (Electric) Kiki Ebsen, 'Red', Guitar Michael Franks, 'Blue Pacific' (1990), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar Rosie Gaines, 'Closer Than Close' (1995), Guitar Jon Goodwin, 'How I Wasted My Life' (2000), Guitar (Electric) Stefan Grossman, 'Perspective' (1979), Guitar, Guitar (Electric) Hall & Oates (Daryl Hall and John Oates), 'Change of Season' (1990), Guitar Lani Hall, 'Double or Nothing' (1979), Guitar, Background Vocals, Songwriter on 'To Know' and 'Magic Garden' Stuart Hamm, 'Kings of Sleep' (1989), Guitar Stuart Hamm, 'Urge' (1991), Guitar, Vocals Fareed Haque, 'Sacred Addiction' (1993), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Bass (Electric), Guitar (Electric) Janis Ian, 'Restless Eyes' (1981), Electric Guitar John Keane, 'Straight Away' (1999), Guitar Bobby King & Terry Evans, 'Rhythm, Blues Soul & Grooves' (1990), Guitar Brian Krinek, 'Flying High' (1995), Guitar Labelle, 'Pressure Cookin' (1973), Guitar Patti Labelle, 'Something Silver' (1997), Guitar Kenny Loggins, 'Vox Humana' (1985), Guitar Kenny Loggins, 'Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Greatest Hits of Kenny Loggins', (1997), Guitar Love, 'Reel to Real' (1974), Guitar Sara Lovell, 'Calling' (1998), Guitar Melissa Manchester, 'Emergency' (1983), Guitar The McCrarys, 'On the Other Side', Guitar Murray McLauchlan, 'Murray Mclauchlan', Guitar Don McLean, 'Don McLean' (1972), Guitar Don McLean, 'Playin' Favourites' (1974), Guitar Larry John McNally, 'Fade to Black', Guitar Larry John McNally, 'Larry John McNally', Guitar (Electric) Gary Meek, 'Gary Meek' (1991), Guitar Jason Miles, 'Mr. X' (1996), Guitar Alec Milstein, 'Dancing in the Rain' (2000), Guitar Adam Mitchell, 'Redhead in Trouble' (1979), Guitar (Electric) Patsy Moore, 'Regarding the Human Condition' (1992), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric) Mr. Mister, 'Pull' (1990), Guitar Mr. Mister, 'The Best of Mr. Mister' (2001), Guitar Alannah Myles, 'Rockinghorse' (1992), Guitar Novac, 'Fifth Word' (1970 ), Guitar, credited as "Buzzy Feitan" Claus Ogerman (with Michael Brecker), 'Cityscape' (1982), Guitar Stu Nunnery, 'Stu Nunnery' (1973), Bass, Guitar Michael Paulo, 'Fusebox' (1990), Guitar Bill Quateman, 'Just Like You' (1979), Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Rhythm), Vocals (bckgr) Brenda Russell, 'Love Life' (1981), Guitar Evie Sands, 'Suspended Animation' (1979), Guitar (Electric) Boz Scaggs, 'Other Roads' (1988), Guitar Ben Sidran, 'Cat and the Hat' (1977), 'Guitar' Edwin Starr, 'Stronger Than You Think I Am' (1980), Guitar Curtis Stigers, 'Curtis Stigers' (1991), Guitar Syreeta, 'Syreeta' (1972), Guitar Livingston Taylor, 'Over the Rainbow' (1973), Guitar Livingston Taylor, 'Carolina Day: The Collection' (1998), Guitar Tanya Tucker, 'Should I Do It' (1981), Guitar Dwight Twilley, 'Jungle' (1984), Guitar Jennifer Warnes, 'Shot through the Heart' (1979), Guitar David Waters, 'Island Refugee' (1995), Guitar Tim Weisberg, 'Best of Tim Weisberg: Smile!' (1979), Guitar Tim Weisberg, 'Party of One' (1980), Guitar Gary Wright, 'Heading Home' (1979), Guitar Jesse Colin Young, 'Perfect Stranger' (1982), Guitar In Anthologies or Samplers Various Artists, 'JVC World Class Sampler, Vol. 2' (1989), Guitar Various Artists, 'Rock of the 70's, Vol. 4' (1992), Guitar Various Artists, 'Best of Smooth Jazz, Vol. 3' (1998), Guitar Various Artists, 'Midnight Groove: Art of Smooth Jazz' (1998), Guitar In Film, Television, or Video Soundtracks Michael Kamen, 'Hudson Hawk' (film), original score Film 'Footloose' [Original Soundtrack] (1984), Guitar Original TV Soundtrack, 'Melrose Place Jazz: Upstairs at MP' (1998), Guitar