On Friday nights at Maxwell’s Restaurant in Tacoma, a crowd gathers to enjoy Lance Buller’s stellar vocal ability and mastery of trumpet. Even those who never thought of themselves as jazz fans fall in love with America’s indigenous music when they hear the melodic style he describes as “old school and listener friendly,” delivered with virtuosity, emotion, and inclusiveness.
This talented artist’s musical roots dwell in the genre’s honored past. He started playing the trumpet at age 13. Five years later, as he drove the Pacific Coast Highway below Santa Monica, he discovered the old Cliff House nightclub featuring “Live Jazz.” The owner let eighteen-year-old Buller sit in with the house band. He continued with them for two years, learning from veteran musicians and gaining experience.
“I was fortunate, growing up in L.A., in that a lot of the famous jazz guys and big band players retired, or semi-retired, there,” he said. “You could study with them, and hear the best.”
Buller flourished in top rock, jazz, and Latin bands in Los Angeles. His talents soon propelled him into major Las Vegas showrooms. As a member of the Beach Boys for years, he recorded five albums and toured extensively in the U.S. and abroad. He performed with Bob Marley and Little Anthony and recorded with Hollywood Bowl’s production band, Jan and Dean, Pearl Django, Stephanie Porter, and others.
The gifted musician’s playing complements numerous TV documentaries, videos, films, festivals, guest soloist spots, cruises, concerts, nightclubs, restaurants, private events, and 25 albums. He is a continuing presence on KPLU 88.5, ranked No. 1 in the world for streaming jazz. While writing and producing shows, he still teaches privately and makes time to volunteer with youth.
Buller describes living his bliss: “There is nothing like being up there with a hot band behind you and a great crowd to entertain!” For more information, visit lancebuller.com