Obituary: Jazz and classical bassist Buell Neidlinger, 82

Posted on: March 28, 2018

“Buell Neidlinger, a masterly bassist who had a significant role in the establishment of free jazz, took part in the premieres of works by John Cage and Igor Stravinsky and had credits on numerous hit songs and soundtracks, died on March 16,” writes Giovanni Russonello in Monday’s (3/26) New York Times. “Mr. Neidlinger’s virtuosity manifested itself early, first on the cello…. He attended Yale for one year, studying classical music.… He headed to New York…. He apprenticed with Walter Page, a former bassist for the Count Basie Orchestra [and] played with Billie Holiday on club dates…. In 1956, he joined Cecil Taylor, a young pianist and composer intent on disrupting the fixed linguistics of bebop and hard-bop.… After being caught with heroin in his possession … he kicked his drug habit while immersing himself again in classical music. Later he became a member of the Houston Symphony [and] landed a spot in the prestigious Boston Symphony Orchestra. [In the 1970s] he became the principal bassist for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra…. Mr. Neidlinger moved to [Washington’s] Whidbey Island in 1997, where he played in a string quartet every week … and continued to release albums on K2B2.”

Posted March 28, 2018