Today In Jazz

Happy Birthday Bobby Tucker, and Duke Ellington’s Tiger Rag!

January 8

Pianist Bobby Tucker is born in 1923, in Morristown, NJ. An elegant, almost pensive, stylist best known for being an accompanist to two of the greatest jazz singers of all: Billie Holiday and Billy Eckstine. Tucker played with Holiday from 1946 until 1949, and with Eckstine throughout the 1950s. (He is on what is probably Eckstine’s greatest LP, the live No Cover, No Minimum.) Tucker made only one LP under his own name, the 1960 release Too Tough. Listen to a track from it, “Don’t Explain” (a song Holiday wrote), here:

Tucker died in 2007.

In 1929 Duke Ellington records “Tiger Rag” (Parts 1 and 2). We’re in a generous mood today, so we’ll give you both on one link, here:

Saxophonist Jackie McLean records the LP Bluesnik with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Pete LaRoca. Listen to the track “Cool Green” here: