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One of the fathers of the funky organ sound and one of the inspirations for George Shearing's "locked hands" style of playing. Buckner played with McKinney's Cotton Pickers in the 1930s, then spent most of the 1940s with Lionel Hampton's big band. He struck out on his own, leading an unsuccessful big band that folded in 1949. He rejoined Hamp briefly, then left again to lead a trio. He recorded several classic albums for Capitol in the mid-1950s. Buckner pioneered the use of the electric organ as a substitute for a brass section, which proved an effective economy measure as the big band era ended. He began touring in Europe in the early 1960s, and gradually shifted most of his appearances there. In the early 1970s, he teamed with another Hampton alumnus, tenor sax man Illinois Jacquet, and they recorded a number of albums for European labels.
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