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In Memoriam: Ben Tucker

Ben TuckerJazz bassist Ben Tucker was killed on June 4th after his golf cart was struck by a speeding car. The veteran musician was 82 years old.

Born December 30th, 1930 in Tennessee, Tucker began his career in Nashville before heading to California and New York City where he played with artists ranging from Art Pepper to Dexter Gordon to Quincy Jones. He was also known for his compositions, including “Comin’ Home Baby,” which was a hit for singer Mel Torme.

The bassist had a wide range of musical interests. In the early seventies, he created a production company with Bob Dorough to make television commercials. After he was approached by an advertising executive to help his son learn arithmetic, the two set multiplication tables to music. The idea became the basis for Schoolhouse Rock!

Even more, Tucker became a music publisher, helping Bobby Hebb record and promote the hit song “Sunny.”

Tucker settled in Savannah, Georgia in the 1970s, becoming a major figure in reviving the area’s jazz scene. “One of the most interesting things about playing with Ben was he was so beloved by so many people in Savannah who had met him at his club or whose weddings he had played,” fellow guitarist Howard Paul told the Associated Press. “You could count on being interrupted at least three times in a song because Savannahians would walk up and shake his hand while we were playing.”

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ben Tucker.

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