Buckner, Milt(on Brent)

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Buckner, Milt(on Brent)

Buckner, Milt(on Brent), jazz pianist, organist, vibraphonist, arranger; b. St. Louis, July 10, 1915; d. Chicago, July 27, 1977. He was orphaned at the age of nine and raised in Detroit. He received musical education from his uncle, trombonist John Tobias. In 1930 he did first arrangements for Earl Walton’s Band. He studied at the Detroit Inst. of Arts for two years, and during this time gigged with the Harlem Aristocrats, Mose Burke, and the Dixie Whangdoodles; he later played and arranged for McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. He worked mainly in Detroit throughout the 1930s with various local bands. He is said to have pioneered the “locked hands” piano style, both hands playing parallel chords, as early as 1934. He joined Lionel Hampton in November 1941 as assistant director and staff arranger (he wrote “Hamp’s Boogie Woogie” and many more), and remained with Hampton until September 1948. He left to form his own sextet, and later led his own big band, before rejoining Lionel Hampton from July 1950 until August 1952. He then switched primarily to playing Hammond organ, often performing in a trio setting, from the early 1950s through the end of his career. During the late 1960s and 1970s, he made several tours of Europe. Besides working on his own, he also partnered during this period with Illinois Jacquet, Jo Jones, and Buddy Tate.

His brother, Ted (Theodore Guy) Buckner (b. St. Louis, Dec. 14, 1913; d. April 12, 1976), was an alto and soprano saxophonist best remembered for his long stint with the Jimmie Lunceford band from 1937 to 1943.


“Hamp’s Boogie Woogie” (1941); Milt Buckner Piano (1946); Rockin’ Hammond (1956); Milt Buckner (1967); Play Chords (1973).

—John Chilton, Who’s of British Jazz/Lewis Porter

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Buckner, Milt(on Brent)

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