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Paul Buckmaster is a Grammy Award-winning Englishmarker artist, arranger and composer. He is perhaps best known for his orchestral collaborations with Elton John. He has displayed professional mastery as a cellist but he has also worked as an arranger on various hit songs, including David Bowie's "Space Oddity" (1969), and played with Miles Davis on On the Corner.He also plays the cello on Bee Gees's song "Odessa (City on the Black Sea)" (1969).


Born in London, Englandmarker, Buckmaster was taught the cello from age 4. At age eleven, he won a cello scholarship to the Royal Academy of Musicmarker in London. Buckmaster played and composed in a number of jazz and progressive music groups including the Third Ear Band, Nucleus and Suntreader. He was the principal soloist on the third movement of Neil Ardley's 1976 recording, Kaleidoscope of Rainbows.

Buckmaster met Miles Davis in 1969 and began to study with him in New York Citymarker in 1972. He appears on Davis' album On the Corner (1972), for which he wrote arrangements and played electric cello. He began working with Elton John in 1970, helping arrange his second album, Elton John, and initiating a collaborative effort that exists to the present day.

Buckmaster is credited with the idea of the gospel choir that backed The Rolling Stones on "You Can't Always Get What You Want". In addition to the aforementioned artists, Buckmaster has arranged music on albums by The Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Mott the Hoople, Harry Nilsson, Carly Simon, Shawn Phillips, Belinda Carlisle, Debbie Gibson, Stevie Nicks, Nick Heyward, Faith Hill, Carole Bayer Sager, Backstreet Boys, The Darkness, Keith Urban, Angelo Branduardi, 10,000 Maniacs, Tears For Fears and Celine Dion. He also scored the soundtrack for the film Twelve Monkeys. Buckmaster has frequently worked with artists for performances in the Royal Albert Hallmarker.

More recently, Buckmaster won a Grammy Award as Best Arranger for the sweeping string arrangement of Train's 2001 song "Drops of Jupiter". He was brought back for the band's following album, My Private Nation.

In 2004, it was revealed that he had worked on arrangements for the songs "Madagascar", "The Blues", "There Was a Time", and "Prostitute" as part of the sessions for the Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy.

In 2005, Buckmaster arranged and conducted an orchestral accompaniment for the song "Landed", from the Ben Folds album Songs for Silverman. While the song went on to be a hit single, the string arrangement, at the request of Folds, was left out of the single and album versions and is now available on the DualDisc version of the album. In 2006, Buckmaster worked again on two Ben Folds tracks, "Learn to Live With What You Are" and "Still". These songs were already released without strings on EPs, and Buckmaster was asked by Folds to upgrade the tracks for Folds' album release Supersunnyspeedgraphic. Folds also convinced Amanda Palmer to have Buckmaster arrange strings for her album Who Killed Amanda Palmer, which Folds co-produced.

Selected discography

  • Blood, Sweat and Tears
    • No Sweat

  • Bee Gees
    • Odessa ("Plays cello in Odessa (City on the Black Sea)")

  • Shawn Phillips
    • Contribution
    • Collaboration
    • Second Contribution
    • Faces

  • Third Ear Band
    • Music From MacBeth



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