Incredibly, it’s only been two years since we lost bass legend and ambassador of both jazz and Savannah – Ben Tucker.
Howard Paul had returned only the previous night from a two-week tour of Europe, and was still jet-lagged when he received a late morning, panicked call from Rob Gibson, Executive Director of the Savannah Music Festival. As we pieced the tragic details of the accident that occurred that morning, we were in disbelief that we could lose our friend and colleague so suddenly and senselessly.
Two years later, all of us at Benedetto Guitars and Miner Family Wines continue to pay tribute to Ben. We display his photos, listen to his music in our offices, and Howard Paul personally dedicates one of his songs almost every night that he gets on stage. Throughout the year we are constantly reminded of him as we plan the annual Savannah Jazz Festival, and only two weeks ago we were absolutely charmed as Gloria Tucker, Ben’s widow, jumped up to dance during Howard’s Coastal Jazz concert with the Tony Monaco Trio.
The show goes on, though oftentimes with a heavy heart. Fortunately, we have outstanding bassists to carry the flame, and new community-minded volunteers to help us keep jazz music alive in Savannah. But, Ben’s mark is indelible as we rely on his legacy of music, philanthropy, goodwill and outsized personality to help us keep moving forward with our shared goal to keep jazz alive and celebrate the American art form that he was so much a part of.
Photo credits: (1) Allison Zielenbach; (2) Mike Oria