Milt Buckner: Too hot?
I recently acquired some photographs that allow me to tell a little story.
On Wednesday June 27, 1962 Milt Buckner brought his organ into Chicago’s Eden Roc Night Club.
Buckner had just fired saxophonist Jimmy Campbell after an engagement at the Shell-Mar Cafe in Rochester NY, when he came to Chicago. So he engaged his old colleague from the Hampton band, Johnny Board, for the engagement. Buckner’s drummer around this time was Maurice Sinclair.
But the fun at Eden Roc did not last long:
From Jet, July 19, 1962
The Eden Roc burned down sometime on Sunday, July 8.
(Click to enlarge) Press photo from the day after the Fire.
Photo: Don Casper/Chicago Sun Times
As the Jet article above mentions, already in 1957 Buckner’s organ was damaged by a fire. In regard to the 1957 incident Buckner remembered (in a conversation with Otto Flückiger):
The organ with my name on the front had just burned up, my two speakers, the music, everything. The Columbus Dispatcher got hold of it and sent a photographer over there and he asked me to sit on the steps, wearing an axe and a hat. They had that picture on the front page. I had no insurance, it had been cancelled three months before. The headlines of the paper were ”Music too hot for local bistro”. I wasn’t in a laughing mood.
Buckner thought that the 1957 incident was related to arson as well, but that is a story I will possibly tell you at another time.
In regard to the 1962 fire at the Eden Roc, there also must have been reasons to suggest something other than Milt’s hot music was responsible for the fire, as the Chicago Sun Times wrote (accompanying the Don Casper photo above) :
From Chicago Sun Times
Or was it the hot music just the same? Well, decide for yourself!
Here is Milt playing Fever, recorded on March 5, 1963 for Bethlehem Records.
The other musicians are Gene Redd (vib), Milt Buckner (org), Bill Willis (b), Phil Paul (dr).