Saturday, 18 July 2009

Milt Buckner - Play Chords

Play Chords1966

256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from MPS 15110

In the next stretch of posts, I'll try to fill some holes for the fine assortment of label and discography blogs we've come to know and love over the past year or so. This one is for Ish, the instigator of our label-blogging addiction. I noticed recently the link
for Play Chords on Magic Purple Sunshine had died out and thought I'd revive it with my own rip. I warn you, this one's a bit sharp in the treble department since I've played the hell out of this smokin' slice of good-time tunes over the years. However, trying to filter it just made it sound too flat so I left it as is (although ClickRepair did wonders for the snaps, crackles and pops as always), although it's still very listenable.

AMG Review by Dave Nathan

In 1966, Milt Buckner, like several of his contemporary jazz confreres, took his trio into Germany's Black Forest to record for Hans GeorgeBrunner-Schwer's MPS label. He was joined by former Ellingtonian bass player Jimmy Woode and former Count Basie drummer Jo Jones. Although Buckner's major legacy was as the originator of the locked-hands or parallel-chords technique, this album shows he was a performer of commanding originality.
"Hamp's Boogie Woogie" reveals that he was a pretty fair boogie-woogie player and "Saba's House Party" shows a special affinity for the blues. But for the most part on this session, he sticks with his locked-hands approach. The play list is clearly designed to showcase this form of playing, especially such Buckner originals as "Feelin' Sorta Villingen" and "Chitlins à la Carte." At the same time, "Yours Is My Heart Alone" has the flourishes and frills worthy of Erroll Garner at his virtuosic best.

Not only is Buckner at the top of his form in this forest setting, so is Woode, whose bop-oriented bass is featured on most tracks. Jo Jones is given some opportunities for drum breaks, particularly on "Cute." He also engages in a rollicking exchange with Buckner on "Pick Yourself Up." This album confirms that Buckner's contributions to jazz extend beyond the development of a particular technical approach to the piano. This is a fine session that needs to be reissued on CD.
Amen Dave! 

Although the compound phrase "under-appreciated" gets bandied about often on vinyl blogs, it's hard not to use it in Milt's case, even though he does receive recognition for some of his accomplishments. However, it's hard to believe Buckner helped revolutionize the keyboard's place in the genre not once, but twice, in his 40 year career and yet few mention his name in the same breath as the Jimmies - Smith, McGriff & Hammond - when it comes to bringing the beloved B3 to bear on the jazz idiom. The International Archives For The Jazz Organ probably say it best: "a great jazz musician who, because of the star system that prevails in the jazz field, was never given proper credit for his tremendous contribution to the jazz lexicon."

The best place to find detailed info on Milt's career is probably the Jazz Documentation website from out of Switzerland. I found the below scan of Milt's account book over there and thought I'd give you a peek. It comes from the engagement at the legendary Lennie's On The Turnpike club in '66 that produced Illinois Jacquet's Go Power album on Cadet and took place only a few scant months before the trip over to Europe that would culminate in this recording and prompt his emigration to those greener jazz pastures.

Besides being a snapshot of history vis-a-vis the jazz musician's pay scale at the time, it's hard not to notice Milt lists his expenses for "wife" as 4.5x the price of his rent. I'm not so knowledgeable of Buckner's personal life but if that don't smell like alimony, I don't what does! Perhaps that was yet another good reason for him to head across the pond.

Milt Buckner - Organ, Piano
Jo Jones - Drums
Jimmy Woode - Bass

1 Feelin' Sorta Villingen
2 Chitlins a la Carte
3 Cute
4 Alec Lovejoy
5 I Only Have Eyes for You
6 Pick Yourself Up
7 Robbins Nest
8 Hamp's Boogie Woogie
9 Saba's House Party
10 Yours Is My Heart Alone

Lock down some locked hands with Soundological HERE. (updated 2013-05-24)


ish said...

Thanks Cheeba! I've linked you up at Magic Purple Sunshine.

Buns O'Plenty said...

hey, i saw your comment on my blog and checked out yours. Great stuff! Will be exploring it more. I added you to my blogroll also


cheeba said...

@ish, my pleasure! Always on the look out for contributions to MPS and Seven Sisters!

@Buns, welcome! Thanks for dropping by and double-thanks for adding me to the blogroll at your fine establishment!

K said...

This is great. Thank you for sharing this recording!

cheeba said...

You're welcome K! For more Milt from this period be sure to check out the Magic Purple Sunshine blog!

NERIG said...

Hi! Great record! I tried to download it and it seems to have been taken off. Any ideas?

cheeba said...


Link updated today!

NERIG said...

Thank you so much!

Erwin Trommel said...

Hello cheeba!
It seem that link is dead again! Can you update it again, please?
Thank you in advance!

cheeba said...


Sorry so long to fulfill such a politely stated request...updated today

Hope you enjoy