NEW ORLEANS - George Buck, the businessman, producer and music impresario who preserved and enhanced the history of recorded New Orleans jazz and other music through his record labels and radio stations as well as the French Quarter’s Palm Court Jazz Cafe, died Wednesday. He was 84.
Kathy Edegran, who with her husband, Lars, helps manage the Palm Court Jazz Cafe on Decatur St. and Mr. Buck's record labels, said Mr. Buck died of a heart attack. He had been in ill health for some time.
Mr. Buck and his wife Nina owned and operated the Palm Court, a bastion of traditional jazz lined with album covers and photographs of the many musicians who have performed there. Lars Edegran himself was a fixture there, on the piano, performing along with many of the city's traditional jazz mainstays, including the city's oldest performing jazz musician, Lionel Ferbos.
The Bucks opened the cafe after moving to the city in 1987. It was the public face of the mail-order recording and broadcasting operation that Mr. Buck ran out of offices above the business, which one writer described as a jazz factory of sorts.
Mr. Buck’s business interests followed his own personal, lifelong fascination with the music. He had a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the music and musicians, despite being legally blind since college.
I loved it from the first time I heard it. It spoke my language. It was me," he told The Times-Picayune in 2002. It’s an emotional thing. You fall in love with jazz."
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