Saturday, April 08, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Milt Buckner

Artist:Milt Buckner
Song:The Beast
Album:The Rockin' Hammond Of...

Milt Buckner was a pioneer of the Hammond organ. The 1956 song The Beast is probably one of his best known songs as it has been used in movies and is considered to be a lounge/exotica classic. He was born July 10, 1915 in St. Louis. His younger brother Ted Buckner played sax in the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra. Their parents died when Milt was nine. They were sent to Detroit to be raised by uncle John Tobias who played trombone for the Earl Walton Orchestra. By age 15, Buckner was writing arrangements for the band. He worked for several bands in the 30s until his big break came in 1941 as an arranger with Lionel Hampton. He worked for Hampton for most of the 40s. He recorded occasionally for smaller labels. Buckner signed with MGM Records in 1949 and he released a few big band singles. He started playing the Hammond organ in 1952 and he developed his signature sound. Probably Buckner's best known recordings were two albums he recorded for Capitol in 1956. The albums were Rockin' With Milt and The Rockin' Hammond Of... Both albums are on this CD from Jasmine Records. The Beast was first released as an EP and then added to The Rockin' Hammond Of... The musicians appear to be Everett Barksdale and Mickey Baker on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass and Shadow Wilson on drums. The Beast is a staple of Capitol's Ultra Lounge CD series. And it got a big boost when David Lynch used it in his film Mulholland Drive. Buckner moved to Chess and he recorded for Argo and Cadet. Then he moved to Paris and worked a lot with other US jazz musicians living there like his lifelong pal from the Hampton band Illinois Jacquet. Buckner lived in Paris until he died on July 27, 1977 at age 62. He was setting up for a show with Jacquet in Chicago when he collapsed and died. There's no question that many organ players owe a debt of gratitude to Buckner for popularizing the Hammond organ. Here's a video of The Beast by Milt Buckner.

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