Cornelius Bumpus, born May 7, 1945, in Santa Cruz, California, and passed away on February 3, 2004, was a versatile and accomplished American saxophonist, keyboardist, and flutist. Best known for his work with the rock bands Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers, Bumpus showcased his exceptional musicianship and adaptability throughout his career, playing various genres of music, including rock, jazz, and R&B.
Bumpus discovered his love for music at a young age, learning to play the piano at the age of seven. His passion for music led him to study saxophone, flute, and clarinet in high school. As his skills developed, Bumpus began to perform in local clubs and gained recognition for his exceptional talent.
In the 1970s, Bumpus played in a variety of bands and performed as a session musician, working with numerous artists such as Etta James, Boz Scaggs, and Michael McDonald. His big break came in 1977 when he joined The Doobie Brothers, a successful American rock band, as their saxophonist and keyboardist. Bumpus toured extensively with the band and contributed to several of their albums, including “Minute by Minute” (1978) and “One Step Closer” (1980).
After The Doobie Brothers disbanded in 1982, Bumpus continued to pursue his musical career, performing with other artists and forming his own bands. In 1993, he joined the legendary jazz-rock band Steely Dan as their saxophonist. Bumpus’s tenure with the band was marked by numerous successful tours and his contributions to their critically acclaimed album, “Two Against Nature” (2000), which won four Grammy Awards.
In addition to his work with renowned bands, Bumpus also released solo albums, showcasing his skills as a composer, arranger, and bandleader. His albums, “A Clear View” (1991) and “Known Fact” (1999), featured a blend of jazz, pop, and R&B, highlighting his diverse musical influences and talents.
Tragically, Cornelius Bumpus passed away at the age of 58 on February 3, 2004, while on a flight to California for a concert with his band. His sudden death was a significant loss to the music community, but his contributions to the world of music continue to be celebrated and appreciated.
Throughout his career, Cornelius Bumpus’s exceptional musicianship and dedication to his craft earned him a well-deserved place in the annals of rock and jazz history. As a versatile and talented performer, Bumpus left a lasting impression on the many artists and fans he touched during his life, and his music continues to inspire and captivate listeners to this day.
Last updated 7/9/2023.