Buell Neidlinger

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Buell Neidlinger (March 2, 1936 – March 16, 2018) was an American cellist and double bassist.[1] He has worked with a variety of pop and jazz performers, prominently with iconoclastic pianist Cecil Taylor in the 1950s and '60s.


Neidlinger was born in New York City to the former Jane Buell and Roger Nidlinger.[2] He was raised in Westport, Connecticut, where his father ran a cargo shipping business.[2] He played cello in his youth, and began studying double bass after a music teacher recommended it to strengthen his hands.[3] He took lessons from jazz bassist Walter Page. In his teens, Neidlinger suffered a nervous breakdown which he attributed to the pressure of being perceived as a child prodigy on cello. While institutionalized, he met jazz pianist Joe Sullivan who was in treatment for alcoholism.[3]

Neidlinger dropped out of Yale University after one year, where he had been studying orchestral music.[2] He moved to New York City and began playing in various jazz settings. He joined Cecil Taylor's group in 1955, played with Herbie Nichols and recorded extensively with Taylor's groups with Steve Lacy and with Archie Shepp among others until 1961.[4] He was also involved with new directions in classical music (John Cage, Mauricio Kagel, George Crumb) and Gunther Schuller' s Third Stream music.

In 1971, Neidlinger moved to California.[2] He became the principal bassist for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and was also principal bassist in the Warner Bros. studio orchestra for 30 years.[2] He worked extensively as an orchestral and as a session bassist before becoming a musical educator at the New England Conservatory and CalArts. Together with Marty Krystall he founded K2B2 Records. The sessions Neidlinger performed on as a strings player included Tony Bennett's "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" and the Eagles' "Hotel California".[5]

In 1983, he performed on the Antilles Records release Swingrass '83.[6] In 1997, Neidlinger moved to Whidbey Island, Washington State.[2] There, he played in a band called Buellgrass, which included fiddler Richard Greene and featured their version of bluegrass music. Neidlinger's fourth wife, Margaret Storer, was also a bass player.[2] They played baroque music with friends; he played cello, while she played violin.[7]

Neidlinger's final recording was The Happenings, accompanied by Howard Alden on guitar and Marty Krystall on bass clarinet and flute, released in December 2017.[5]


As Leader[edit]

  • 1961: New York City R&B (Barnaby) with Cecil Taylor
  • 1980: Ready for the 90's (K2B2 2069) as Krystall Klear and the Buells
  • 1981: Our Night Together (K2B2 2169) as Krystall Klear and the Buells
  • 1983: Big Day at Ojai (K2B2 2369) as Buellgrass
  • 1983: Marty's Garage (K2B2 2269)
  • 1987: Thelonious (K2B2 2569)
  • 1987: Buell Neidlinger Quartet Live at Ravenna Jazz '87 with Special Guest Steve Lacy (K2B2 3969) with Steve Lacy
  • 1989: 2 by 2 (K2B2 4169) with Anthony Braxton
  • 1989: The Complete Candid Recordings of Cecil Taylor and Buell Neidlinger (Mosaic) with Cecil Taylor
  • 1989: Aurora (Denon 73148) as Aurora
  • 1990: Big Drum (K2B2 3069)
  • 1991: Locomotive (Soul Note)
  • 1995: Blue Chopsticks – A Portrait of Herbie Nichols (K2B2 3169)
  • 1996: Across the Tracks (K2B2 6923)
  • 1997: Rear View Mirror (K2B2 2969)
  • 2001: Thelonious Atmosphere (K2B2 3269)
  • 2005: All Strung Out. Adventures in Buellgrass. (K2B2 3569)
  • 2005: Krystall Klear and the Buells - This Way Is West (K2B2 3369)
  • 2009: Basso Profundo (Vivace Records|Vivace]] 8001)

As sideman[edit]

With Darol Anger

With Ruben Blades

  • 1988: Nothing But the Truth (Elektra)

With Anthony Braxton

With Natalie Cole

With Ry Cooder

With Stewart Copeland

With Elvis Costello

  • 1989: Spike (Warner Bros.)

With Earth, Wind, and Fire

With Duane Eddy

With Richard Greene

  • 1979: Ramblin' (Rounder)
  • 1997: Sales Tax Toddle (Rebel)
  • 1996: Wolves A' Howlin' (Rebel)

With Jimmy Giuffre

With David Grisman

With Leo Kottke

With Steve Lacy

With Roy Orbison

With Jean-Luc Ponty and Frank Zappa

With Van Dyke Parks

With Sam Phillips

With Bonnie Raitt

  • 1994: Longing in Their Hearts (Capitol)

With Peter Rowan

  • 1978: Peter Rowan (Flying Fish)
  • 1996: Bluegrass Boy (Sugar Hill)

With Bob Seger

With Frank Sinatra

With Pops Staples

  • 1992: Peace to the Neighborhood (PointBlank)

With Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson

With Barbra Streisand

  • 1994: Ordinary Miracles (Columbia)

With Cecil Taylor

With The Beach Boys

Featured Classics[edit]

  • Franz Schubert: Quintet in A op. 114 ("Trout") with Peter Serkin and Tashi (RCA ARLI1882)
  • Paul Chihara: GRASS Concerto for Bass and Orchestra London Symphony Orchestra (Turnabout 34372)
  • Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra with Neville Marriner (Angel 537081)
  • Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances Neville Marriner / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Angel CDC - 7471162)
  • Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra with Neville Marriner (Argo ZRG 792)
  • Basso Profundo. Solo bass and chamber music by Bussotti, Rosenman, Kagel, Xenakis and Ceely. (Vivace Records)


  1. ^ "Bassist and Cellist Buell Neidlinger Dies at 82". JazzTimes. 2018-03-18. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Russonello, Giovanni (25 March 2018). "Buell Neidlinger, Acclaimed Genre-Crossing Bassist, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b Clifford Allen Buell Neidlinger: From Taylor to Zappa to the Carpenters, AllAboutJazz.com, 2003; accessed 07 Nov 2017
  4. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Buell Neidlinger: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  5. ^ a b "Bassist and cellist Buell Neidlinger dies at 82: Strikingly versatile musician played with Cecil Taylor and Steve Lacy: Video". jazzbluesnews.com. March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Allmusic review
  7. ^ Williams, Richard (March 19, 2018). "Buell Neidlinger 1936-2018". thebluemoment.com. Retrieved March 24, 2018.

External links[edit]