Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rest In Peace Ben Tucker

     Savannah’s own Jazz Icon Ben Tucker is sadly no longer with us, as of yesterday 11:45am.  He was known internationally as a jazz bassist and composer. He was instrumental in reviving the jazz community of Savannah. He purchased the radio station WSOK-AM with several other investors and founded The Coastal Jazz Association bringing the treasure of Jazz music to the people of this city.  He contributed a great deal to our community and is sorely missed.

Charles J. Elmore- jazz historian and author of “All that Savannah Jazz… From Brass Bands, Vaudeville, to Rhythm and Blues” also a close personal friend of Ben Tucker and said:

“He was a gentleman and any time Savannah State or anyone would call Ben about any kind of charitable cause he would be the first person in line. Ben Tucker was not only a quintessential jazz man, but he was a great man and a great community man. Truly one of the nicest men you’d ever meet.”

Ben Tucker | jazz bassist

Born a native of Nashville, Tennessee, Ben Tucker relocated to Savannah, Georgia in 1972 and purchased radio station WSOK with Dr. Bill Taylor, jazz pianist.
Ben has recorded and played with such musical greats as Bill Taylor, Peggy Lee, Quincy Jones, Illinois Jacquet, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Cy Coleman, Herbie Mann, Bob Alberti, Clark Terry, Phil Woods, the late Oliver Nelson, Mary Lou Williams, Marion McPartland, Buddy Rich, Sara Vaughn, Ella May Morse, Jessiphia Pamise, Benny Goodman, the late great Earl Gardner and Earl Fatha Hines.

In 1988, Ben created a jazz club in Savannah called Hard Hearted Hannah's featuring Joe Jones and Emma Kelley (known as the lady of 6,000 songs). Hard Hearted Hannah's has been featured in such movies as Love Crimes. The composition "Comin' Home Baby" was featured in Get Shorty (starring John Travolta), as well as the movie Getting Even With Dad and has been documented in a segment for Public Television concerning the late Joe Jones.

"I'd like to quote Dr. Billy Taylor on jazz." 'Jazz is like pure mountain air that regenerates the soul of man.'   - Ben Tucker.

Ben Tucker - jazz bassist

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