Sometimes, a new musical group emerges that not only grabs the attention of the audience with its unique sound but also with their particular instruments. Kittyhawk is one such group. Paul Edwards and Daniel Bortz had been playing the Chapman Stick Touchboard for a while before they met in L.A. in 1977. Emmett Chapman was the stick designer. The unique stereophonic 10 string electric instrument was first introduced to them by articles in Guitar Player and other publications. They eagerly searched for the real thing shortly after reading the printed introduction to Chapmanā€™s creation. Bortz and Edwards played sticks on that February day 1977 and wrote “Islands”, an uptempo jazz-rocker. This song would be the opening track of Kittyhawk’s debut album, Kittyhawk. They were both so confident in the Stick’s melodic potentials and themselves that they started appearing together as a duo in clubs throughout Southern California. Their reputations grew and they wanted to improve their jazz-rock compositions by adding different harmonic textures. To complete their sound, they hired two more like-minded instrumentalists: Michael Jochum for percussion and Richard Elliot to add Lyricon [a wind synthesizer] as well as a saxophone. Kittyhawk was now ready to take off into the competitive and charged world of pop music. Kittyhawk rapidly evolved and refined its music, personnel and music: Bortz added Roland guitar synthesizer and fretless guitar to the stable of instruments. The band added Richard Elliott to its Lyricon and Saxophones lineups. Dan DeSousa was on Keyboards and LA Stickist Randy Strom on Percussion. Kittyhawk’s unique sound was created by the band’s focus on composition. Paul Edwards: Chapman Stick

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