George Buck, Jazzology Founder, Dies at 84

Entrepreneur and jazz preservationist released more than 1,400 albums on nine labels

George Buck

George Buck, founder of the Jazzology group of record labels, which released more than 1,400 mostly traditional jazz titles and never took any out of print, died Dec. 11 at age 84 in New Orleans. The cause was a heart attack, according to the Jazzology website.

According to the obituary published on the site, Buck began his business during World War II by using his savings from selling newspapers. His first release, it says, was a 78-RPM disc of the cornetist Wild Bill Davison. (Another published obituary says the first release was from a recording session by New Orleans clarinetist Tony Parenti.) Buck ultimately ran nine different record labels devoted to jazz, including Jazzology and GHB. He also acquired the catalogs of other independent labels, including Southland, Audiophile and Circle, according to NOLA.com.

Buck also bought and sold radio stations. He started out in New Jersey, where he grew up, and eventually worked in South Carolina, Atlanta and finally New Orleans. Buck also hosted a radio program called Jazzology.

The ownership of the company was transferred to the George H. Buck Jazz Foundation in order to ensure that the music released by Buck would never be deleted.

Most of the firm’s stock of approximately one million LPs and CDs, were lost to Hurricane Katrina, however.

Jeff Tamarkin

Jeff Tamarkin on social media

Jeff Tamarkin is the former editor of Goldmine, CMJ, Relix, and Global Rhythm. As a writer he has contributed to the New York Daily News, JazzTimes, Boston Phoenix, Harp, Mojo, Newsday, Billboard, and many other publications. He is the author of the book Got a Revolution: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane and has contributed to The Guinness Companion to Popular Music, All Music Guide, and several other encyclopedias. He has also served as a consultant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, NARAS, National Geographic Online, and Music Club Records.