Bobby Tucker

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Bobby Tucker
Bobby Tucker and Billie Holiday in 1948
Background information
Birth name Robert Nathaniel Tucker
Also known as Piano Man
Born (1923-01-08)January 8, 1923
Morristown, New Jersey, U.S.
Origin Harlem, New York, U.S.
Died April 12, 2008(2008-04-12) (aged 85)
Morristown, New Jersey, U.S.
Genres Jazz, swing
Occupation(s) Pianist, composer, arranger
Instruments Piano
Years active 1946–2008
Associated acts Billie Holiday and Billy Eckstine

Bobby Tucker (born Robert Nathaniel Tucker; January 8, 1923 – April 12, 2008) was a pianist and arranger during the jazz era from the 1940s into the 1960s. He is most famous for being Billie Holiday's accompanist from 1946 to 1949.[1][2]

Music career[edit]

Billie Holiday[edit]

On November 12, 1946, during Billie Holiday's stay at the Down Beat Club, Bobby Tucker was drafted to accompany Holiday because Eddie Heywood refused his opportunity. Billie's stay at the Down Beat was so successful due to Tucker's playing that she decided to keep him as her accompanist. The partnership lasted until 1949, where Tucker quit due to Holiday's abusive lover, John Levy, threatening him. (Not to be confused with John Levy the bass player and talent manager).

Billy Eckstine[edit]

After leaving Holiday in 1949, Bobby Tucker began playing for Billy Eckstine. Not much is known about this partnership, but there is a 1960 album, No Cover, No Minimum which features Tucker playing piano for Eckstine. On the 1959 album Basie/Eckstine Incorporated, on which Eckstine sang with the Count Basie Orchestra, Tucker is credited with the arrangements for eight of the eleven tracks, and he replaced Basie at the piano on most of the cuts as well.

In 1960 Tucker also released his own album under his own name, Too Tough. In 1973 Tucker played for Billy Eckstine at the Hobart (Tasmania, Australia) Wrest Point Casino. From the time Tuck as Mr. "B" called him, met, they became very good friends till the death of Mr. "B" in 1993, Mr. "B" called Tuck a brother he never had, as Mr. "B" would say, Tuck was his right tonsil. Bobby was more like part of the Eckstine family.

Tucker died of a heart attack at the age of 85, on April 12, 2008.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Donald Clarke (2009). Billie Holiday: Wishing on the Moon. Da Capo Press, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-7867-3087-2. 
  2. ^ Julia Blackburn (2010). With Billie. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4070-7387-3.