Paul John Buckmaster (13 June 1946 – 7 November 2017) was a Grammy Award-winning British cellist, arranger, conductor and composer, with a career spanning five decades.
|Birth name||Paul John Buckmaster|
|Born||13 June 1946|
|Died||7 November 2017(aged 71)|
|Genres||Classical, rock, pop, social music, country, film score|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, arranger, film composer, conductor|
He is best known for his orchestral collaborations with David Bowie, Shawn Phillips, Elton John, Harry Nilsson, The Rolling Stones, Carly Simon, Leonard Cohen, Miles Davis, and the Grateful Dead in the 1970s, followed by his contributions to the recordings of many other artists, including Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Rogers, Guns N’ Roses, Taylor Swift, Train, and Heart.
Paul Buckmaster was born in London on 13 June 1946. His father, John Caravoglia Buckmaster, was an English actor[a] and his mother, Ermenegilda ("Gilda") Maltese, was an Italian concert pianist and graduate of the Naples Conservatory of Music.
At age four, Buckmaster started attending a small private school in London called the London Violoncello School, and continued studying cello under several private teachers until he was ten. In 1957, his mother took him and his two siblings to Naples, where he auditioned with cello professor Willy La Volpe, to be assessed as eligible for a scholarship. From 1958 to 1962 he divided his time between studying music in Naples and working for his GCEs in London, then won a scholarship to study the cello at the Royal Academy of Music, from which he graduated with a performance diploma in 1967.
Buckmaster displayed professional mastery as a cellist. After leading a small orchestral group during a two-month tour with the Bee Gees in 1968, he started his career as an orchestral arranger on various hit songs, including David Bowie's "Space Oddity" (1969), and contributed orchestral collaborations on a number of early albums by Elton John (1969–72), as well as on the songs "Sway" and "Moonlight Mile" on The Rolling Stones' album Sticky Fingers (1971). Buckmaster contributed string and horn arrangements to Leonard Cohen's 1971 album, Songs of Love and Hate. He also helped Miles Davis with the preparation of On the Corner (1972) and wrote the arrangements for the studio sessions, in which he also participated, at Davis' request, by humming bass lines and rhythms to lead the musicians. These arrangements were often used as a starting point to be transformed until what was being played bore no resemblance to what he had written. This was in keeping with the Stockhausian approach that Buckmaster and Davis had discussed in the weeks leading up to the session.
Buckmaster wrote some instrumental tracks for Harry Nilsson's film Son of Dracula (1974). He also played with Bowie and his band in the recordings for the original soundtrack to the science fiction film The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), in which Bowie starred as Thomas Jerome Newton. Buckmaster stated in Mojo magazine, 60 Years of Bowie, that he had played cello on the original soundtrack recordings, on which Carlos Alomar, J. Peter Robinson and others were also included:
In 1995 Buckmaster composed, orchestrated, conducted and produced the original score to Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, a science fiction movie starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe and Brad Pitt. He also composed the score for the 1997 film Most Wanted, starring Keenen Ivory Wayans (who also wrote the film) and Jon Voight; its soundtrack was released by Milan Records on 14 October 1997.
Buckmaster won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for Drops of Jupiter.
- John Caravoglia Buckmaster (1914–1995) should not to be confused with English actor John Rodney Buckmaster (1915–1983), the son of Gladys Cooper. John C. Buckmaster—son of actor-manager Charles Buckmaster, of Italian ancestry—started out as a young actor in the 1930s. During WWII, he enlisted in the London Scottish regiment, where he served with Bruce Copp, also an English actor. John C. Buckmaster saw action in North Africa, then north into Sicily and finally in and around Naples, during late 1943 and early 1944. There he met a young concert pianist, Ermenegilda ("Gilda") Maltese (1918–1989), during a production of Madama Butterfly at the newly restored San Carlo Opera House. They married on 15 August 1945 and, after the war, made their home in Earl's Court, London.:67–69 They had three children: Paul, Rosemary, and Adrian. John C. Buckmaster continued to have small acting jobs until 1989. In 1994, he moved to Sydney where he died on 9 March 1995.
- Sweeting, Adam (19 November 2017). "Paul Buckmaster obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Marble, Steve (9 November 2017). "Paul Buckmaster, arranger for Bowie, Elton John and the Rolling Stones, dies at 71". latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
- Lanz, Michelle (16 May 2016). "Inside the rock star's studio with music arranger Paul Buckmaster". Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Cole, George (30 September 2010). "Elton John, the Beach Boys and the fine art of pop alchemy". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
- Sylvie Simmons, 2012, I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, pp. 234–235.
- "Son Of Dracula (Soundtrack)". Harrynilsson.com. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "Paul Buckmaster". The Times. 15 November 2017. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Browne, David (8 November 2017). "Paul Buckmaster, Essential Arranger for Bowie and Elton, Dead at 71". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Genzlinger, Neil (15 November 2017). "Paul Buckmaster, 71, Arranger on Hits by Bowie and More, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "Paul Buckmaster - Most Wanted (Soundtrack From The Motion Picture)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Morgenstein, Mark (16 May 2016). "Drops of Jupiter / Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
- "North of a Miracle – Nick Heyward". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
- Copp, Bruce (2015). Out Of The Firing Line... Into The Foyer (hardcover). Stroud: History Press. ISBN 978-0-7509-6134-9.