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Mickey Tucker

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Since the '60s Mickey Tucker has graced hard bop recordings by such players as Junior Cook, James Moody, Frank Foster, Louis Hayes, and others. Primarily a pianist, Tucker has also performed on organ, notably with Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Tucker began playing piano around the age of six. Experience playing in church as a youngster influenced his musical concept. In the mid-'60s he backed non-jazz acts Little Anthony & the Imperials, R&B vocalist Damita Jo, and comedian Timmy Rogers. His jazz career took off beginning in the late '60s. From 1969 to 1975 he recorded and/or toured with the saxophonists Moody, Kirk, and Eric Kloss; the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, drummer Roy Brooks, vocalist Eddie Jefferson, and the group Final Edition. Tucker was also present on several George Benson recordings dating from the early '70s before the guitarist abandoned straight-ahead jazz. In 1976 Tucker played with Kloss and Jefferson. He also toured Europe with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, serving as the group's musical director. In the late '70s he recorded with Cook, Philly Joe Jones, and Billy Harper, among others. In the '80s Tucker recorded with flügelhornist Art Farmer and tenor saxophonist Benny Golson's Jazztet, alto saxophonists Richie Cole and Phil Woods, and drummer Louis Hayes, among others. He remained active in the '90s, playing with Cook, the Jazztet, and saxophonist Bob Ackerman, and others. Tucker is a musician's musician -- not well known to the public at large but highly respected by his fellow jazz players. Although most of his recorded work has been as a sideman, he has occasionally recorded as a leader, beginning with the 1975 album Triplicity on the Xanadu label. ~ Chris Kelsey

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28 April 1941 in Durham, NC

Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s