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 helped Miles Davis with the preparation of On the Corner. He was involved in the studio sessions which he did the arrangements for but Miles would often just ask him to hum bass lines and rhythms and then the musicians would then just take off. The arrangements he wrote were often used as a starting point which were then transformed until what was being played bore no resemblance to what he had written. This was in keeping with the Stockhaussian approach that Buckmaster had been discussing with Miles in the weeks leading up to the session.
Buckmaster 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, in which David Bowie starred as Thomas Jerome Newton. Buckmaster himself told in the book 60 Years Of Bowie that he had played cello on the original soundtrack recordings. Also Carlos Alomar, J. Peter Robinson and others were involved. Buckmaster: "There were a couple of medium tempo rock instrumental pieces, with simple motifs and rifly kind of grooves, with a line-up of David's rhythm section (Carlos Alomar et al) plus J Peter Robinson on Fender Rhodes and me on cello and some synth overdubs, using ARP Odyssey and Solina. There was also a piece I wrote and performed using some beautifully made mbiras (African thumb pianos) I had purchased earlier that year, plus cello, all done by multiple overdubbing." Later film-director Nicholas Roeg decided not to use the recordings but existing songs as soundtrack for the movie.
Buckmaster won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for Drops of Jupiter.
- Blood, Sweat and Tears
- No Sweat
- Angelo Branduardi
- Chitinous Ensemble
- Chitinous (Compositions and arrangements)
- Lloyd Cole
- Don't Get Weird on Me Babe
- Elton John
- Shawn Phillips
- Second Contribution
- Rodney Franklin
- You'll Never Know
- Eder, Bruce. "Paul Buckmaster: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
- "Drops of Jupiter > Charts & Awards > GRAMMY Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-14.