From child prodigy to mainstream jazz violinist, Buckley Mills is quickly raising the already high jazz standards set by such legends as Joe Venuti and Stephane Grappelli.
At the age of three, Buckley, yearning for his father’s attention, ran into his office, but his father, a professional musician, was tutoring a student. Young Buckley listened intently for a moment, then high-tailed it into the next room. He picked up a violin and quickly learned to pluck the notes he had just heard. After mastering the song, he proudly walked back into the other youth’s music lesson, and distinctly played “Sweet Georgia Brown” for his father. In that instant, a violin virtuoso was born.
Under the tutelage of his father, Buckley’s talent continued to emerge. At fourteen, Buckley became the youngest member of the Sioux City Symphony, with his Dad as his stand partner. Unfortunately, the pairing was short-lived. His father was diagnosed with cancer, and Buckley had to proceed alone.
And proceed he did, playing with bands of all genres, from country and rock to classical and jazz. Buckley traveled throughout the United States playing for up to twenty-thousand people and performed with or on the same bill as Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, and countless others.
His propensity for “perfect pitch,” (confirmed by the University of California at San Francisco and documented by the media worldwide in 2007 including Reuters, Yahoo, and ABC News) only enhances the perfection of his performance.
In 2002, seeking inspiration and new challenges, Buckley relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. Although he was born in Illinois and raised in Iowa, he comments, “I didn’t move here, I just came back home.” Being surrounded by the creative energy of other musicians, singers, songwriters and entertainers, has stimulated Buckley’s own artistry, as evidenced by his debut CD, “VIOLIN ON FIRE.”
For this release on Chacra Music, Buckley selected twelve well-known songs that he has personally connected with over the years, including that first song he performed for his father, “Sweet Georgia Brown.” The album is an intense melodic ride down an old familiar road. The combination of Buckley’s custom-made Anton Krutz Signature Model violin and his innate musical flair glides music through the air in a smooth yet characteristic sound. His endorsement deal with Anton Krutz only signifies the depth of his talent.
Buckley is a gifted conversationalist as well and loves to talk about vintage Fender guitars and Jazz music over a cup of coffee at Starbucks. A down-to-earth, humble man, with his feet firmly planted on the ground, he states, “Music is my gift, it’s from God.”
In addition to being an accomplished musician, he also has an entrepreneurial and educational spirit. Tapping into his knowledge of instruments, he opened a violin business in 2002 and sold over twenty-thousand violins, violas, cellos, and basses in a seven year period before calling it quits in 2008 to turn his attention to finishing his college education by registering at Harvard University and collecting vintage Fender guitars of which he has acquired some of the rarest including a 1950 Fender Broadcaster prototype that is definitely one of the few holy grails of vintage Fender guitars.
But Buckley knows that his true calling is the violin, stating, “I’m going to sell out every Orpheum in America. Just like Joe Venuti.”