early soul jazz

Dry Heat

Poppa Steve

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Smooth jazz with funk & fun. Unique grooves driven by hot percussion and stylish rhythms.

Steve "Poppa" Mutimer

Steve literally cut his teeth on his parent's old 78 record player listening to their collection of 40's swing music in Rockford, Illinois. There was actually a 1-inch deep "bite mark" on the old Victrola where Steve had nibbled away at the vinyl-covered plywood while listening to Glenn Miller, Harry James, Artie Shaw and the like. By age two, he could identify both sides of every record by name even though he could not yet read.

At the tender age of 8, his parents bought him an old used Slingerland drum set to stop him from wrecking the family furniture with the kitchen utensils. Between the ages of 12 and 14, he took drum lessons from Ray Mann, a former big band swing drummer who once played with Benny Goodman. After 3 years, Ray told him he had taught him everything he knew and ... good luck.

At age 15, Steve formed his first band, a rock n roll group called The Rhythm Kings which was the first rock band in the city. As such, they weren't even allowed to play in their own high school because they played "the devil's music" ... but they were a smash hit everywhere else in town.

The Rhythm Kings once traveled to Memphis to record a demo at the request of Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records, home to Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and even Elvis. The label didn't pick up the band, but they later recorded two singles on regional Cuca Records in Wisconsin. Their songs received strong local air play and one tune, "Maj", actually got a "bullet" from Billboard Magazine and reached the Top Ten in local record sales.

After high school and a stint in the US Navy, Steve formed another group in Rockford called The Daze & Knights. That band traveled for the William Morris Talent Agency out of their Chicago offices, baking up many hit makers of the time such as The Four Tops, The Chiffons, Bobby Goldsboro, The Crystals, Jimmy Clanton, Len Barry, Dick & Dee Dee, The Vogues and many others.

After three years on the road and newly married in 1968, Steve left the road to play with a local legendary band called The Exceptions. His daytime gig at the time was in radio sales at WROK radio in Rockford. After the birth of his first daughter, Holly, Steve hung up the sticks for good in 1970. In 1973, Steve and his wife, MJ, had a second daughter, Colleen.

His time in radio, and also television, led to the formation of an exceptionally successful retail advertising agency in Rockford, later moving to San Diego where it grew to be the #3 billing agency in that city in less than two years.

Steve stayed in the ad biz for 35 years, moving to Tucson, Arizona in 1992 where he lives today. During those years, he continued producing music for hundreds of clients earning himself over 100 awards for creative excellence including 3 television EMMYs for music composition, direction, and copywriting.

A recognized TV producer/director in Southern California, Steve directed many celebrities including Eddie Albert, Vanna White, Mike Farrel and Kevin Costner plus sports Hall of Famers Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, Dick Butkus, Mark May and Ernie Banks ... again, "to name a few".

As computers became so advanced over the past several years, Steve began doing his own recording and editing as a personal hobby. As his work progressed, the hobby became more and more of a vocation and Dry Heat, his second CD, is testament to his good work.

As a former drummer, Steve's love of percussion is obvious in his recordings. He believes that "tunes first need a good foundation (rhythm and percussion) upon which you can then build a good song". Ray Mann would have been proud.

Many good folks think of the desert as a wasteland with nothing but sand, rugged mountains and gorgeous sunsets. As this CD demonstrates, however, there's a new smooth jazz breeze blowing out of the southwest these days ... and it brings with it a Dry Heat.

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