George H. Buck, jazz pioneer and advocate, has died at the age of 84 after suffering a heart attack.
Buck was born in New Jersey, but moved with his wife Nina to New Orleans in the late 1980s. He was a New Orleans-based entrepreneur who devoted his life to jazz. He acquired record company labels and radio broadcast companies that hold historic transcription discs. He also is a major record collector. He founded the jazz magazine JazzBeat, published from New Orleans, and founded the George H. Buck, Jr. Jazz Foundation in 1987. He was also has been a partner in radio stations, including WJNO in West Palm Beach.
He founded and owned several record labels that preserved and promoted traditional jazz, blues and other types of music, with his G.H.B label focusing on traditional New Orleans jazz. Buck also founded Jazzology Records in 1949 that focused on traditional Chicago style jazz. The other labels he acquired included:
- American Music Records (founded 1944) — authentic New Orleans style jazz, acquired from founder and composer Bill Russell in 1990
- Black Swan Records (founded 1921) — re-issues of Paramount Records, acquired in the 1990s
- Solo Art Records — piano jazz
- Audiophile Records — classic American popular songs
- Circle Records (founded 1946) — big bands, acquired in the 1960s
- Southland Records (founded 1948) — authentic blues, acquired from its founder, Joesph P. Mares (1908–1991), in the 1960s
- Progressive Records (founded 1950) — modern music
- World Broadcasting System, Inc. (founded 1929) — entire library of radio transcription discs, acquired in 1971
- Langlois & Wentworth, Inc. (founded 1933) — entire library of radio transcription discs, acquired in 1982
Buck and his wife Nina moved to the New Orleans French Quarter in 1987, and established not only the base of his record companies and businesses, but the restaurant/music venue/record store The Palm Court Jazz Cafe on Decatur Street, which Nina has operated since its opening. Both were honored with OffBeat‘s Best of The Beat Award in Music Business in 2006.
Buck was an amazing and highly respected advocate for music and music preservation; his accomplishments are astonishing, especially given the fact that he was legally blind for many years.
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
- Friday, December 20: Visitation, 6pm – 8pm at Charbonnet Funeral Home (1615 St Philip) – 504-581-4411
- Saturday, December 21 at 11am, Jazz Funeral Parade from Charbonnet Funeral Home to St Mary’s Catholic Church (1116 Chartres St)
- Saturday, December 21 at 12pm: Noon Service at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, followed by Jazz Funeral Parade from church to Palm Court Jazz Cafe (1204 Decatur Street)
*George Buck Memorial Fund at New Orleans Musicians Clinic: www.musiciansclinic.org