Mark Tucker (1954-2000)

Jackson, Travis A.

Mark Tucker was one of those rare individuals who excelled in all the
areas one might invoke in assessing a musical scholar's importance. His
two books and numerous essays on Duke Ellington and his public presentations
on Thelonious Monk have all contributed to our recognition of
him as a first-rate musicologist and jazz scholar, one whose work is beautifully
written and brimming with insight. His research on Ellington's early
years has enhanced our understanding of how one of America's most
celebrated composers developed his craft. By situating Ellington in the
complex worlds of Washington, D.C. and Harlem up to the 1930s, Mark
helped open the door to a more nuanced investigation of jazz, going
beyond hagiography or decontextualized musical analysis to render a
complex portrait worthy of his subject. His unfinished monograph on
Thelonious Monk promised to go in the same direction. A presentation
for Columbia's Center for Jazz Studies lecture series in 2000 showed Mark
succeeding at disentangling Monk the myth from Monk the musician, and
in the process bringing many who thought they understood Monk to a
new level of awareness.



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Columbia University
Published Here
November 19, 2014