A successful musician, businessman, community champion and leader, Ben Tucker has traveled a long road from his roots in Nashville, Tennessee to his home in Savannah, GA. Given his diverse history of accomplishments, the one thread that runs through the fabric of Ben Tucker’s life and professional career is his outstanding commitment and determination to improve his community.
Mr. Tucker’s contributions to society are far reaching across race, gender, or social status across the country. He understood the meaning of “civic responsibility.” He worked on numerous boards, task forces, and planning committees within the City of Savannah. He was very passionate about the jazz community, and the impact he had on the youth in the community can be measured by his involvement with Junior Achievers, The First Tee of Savannah, the Bethesda Boys Academy, Boys and Girls Clubs of Savannah, YMCA, SCAD, The Westin Foundation and many others. His passions were expressed publicly through his dedication to his wife, jazz, and golf. An advocated for social justice, Mr. Tucker never rested on his laurels as long as there were inequalities that impacted the advancement of his community. Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting Ben Tucker met a friend for life!! How can you play a more substantive role in Ben’s legacy? Become a contributing member of “Friends Of Ben” and of this exceptional man.
BEN TUCKER’S LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS DEC. 13, 1930 – JUN 4- 2013
The State of Georgia – Member of Fair Employment Practice Advisory Board
Awarded by: George Busbee, Governor
Tom Pardee, Sec. State
Jan. 31, 1980
Advisory Committee – John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts., Presented by Jimmy Carter, President of US
March 23, 1979
Atlanta Society of Entertainers
Jazz Artist of the Year
Sept. 10, 2000
Ralph Mark Ellis Civil Rights Museum
Outstanding Service and Dedication of the Citizens of Savannah
Savannah Morning News
Spirit of Savannah Service Award
Savannah Chatham Public School
Contribution to Music Education
B. F. Lee Theological Seminary
In Recognition of the Noteworthy Service in Total Humanitarian Field – Doctor of Humanities, Jacksonville, Fl
March 12, 1976
The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Legacy Inductee
Oct. 24, 2015
Chatham County Proclamation shares the loss of a great legendary Jazz Icon, humanitarian, family man and Friend to the community
June 15, 2013
The Salvation Army “Doing the Best” Award. He helped Us Change Lives
Member of the Salvation Army
Best of Savannah
Best Jazz Artist
Certificates of Appreciation for Savannah’s 100 Men Who Cook
Best Local Jazz Band/Artist – Savannah
The International Village of Hope
Non-Profit Ben Tucker was an International Jazz Ambassador
Don Redman Heritage of Jazz Award
June 28, 2012
Savannah State College School of Business
SBA Workshop Keynote Speaker, Certificate of Merit
July 17, 1981
American’s Diabetes Asso.
Park & Tree Commission City of Savannah
The Jazz Corner Ring of Honor Award
Life Time Member
Dec. 17, 2010
The Rotary Club of Savannah
July 8, 2013
State of Georgia Secretary of State
Outstanding Georgia Citizens Award
April 22, 2014
Savannah State University Legendary Jazz Musician Award Black Heritage
Feb. 5, 2009
Jazz Hall of Fame – Don Redman Heritage Award
NAACP & Harpers Ferry Historical Association
Jr. Achievement Savannah Business Hall of Fame
The First Tee of Savannah Award for Outstanding
Service and Support
2011 – 2015
Links to Success Scholarships in Honor of Ben Tucker – The First Tee of Savannah
Kennedy Center National Committee for the Performing Arts
Georgia House of Rep. District 163 Lifetime Achievement Award
Attended Tennessee State University
Metronome Magazine selected Ben Tucker as one of the world’s Top Ten Bass Players
Performed with top musicians of the day, including but not limited to Herbie Mann, Billy Taylor, Buddy Rich, Peggy Lee, Cy Coleman, Red Norvell, Tommy Flanagan, Quincy Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Ellis Marsalis, Sam Cook
Authoring over 300 compositions, he has many commercial successes to his credit.
In the mid-sixties, Ben formed his own production company, creating commercials for television.
Among the many tunes, he published, “Sunny” was his greatest success.
He produced “Multiplication Rock,” a musical learning tool, which received wide acclaim in education circles and national TV broadcasting.
Ben purchased WSOK Radio in Savannah, Georgia. With over 8500 radio stations in the country at the time, he became the 15th Black radio station owner in the United States.
Within his first year as owner, Ben succeeded in turning WSOK around into the top AM station in the Savannah market.
1972 – 1984
The Wall Street Journal took note of the station’s incredible “climb to the top of the ratings against competitive odds.” The station maintained its #1 status for 13 years and sold as the number one Black Radio Station in the country.
He appeared before the House Sub-Committee on Communications and the Federal Communications Commission with testimony that resulted in changing the economic strata for Black entrepreneurs.
Recognized by both Democratic and Republican Administrations, Ben was appointed to the Selective Service Board by President Carter and reappointed by President Reagan.
President Carter appointed him to the Advisory Committee on the Art on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Served on the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Advisory Board
Ben performed at many countless 1996 Olympic Committee, the Newport Jazz Festival, Coastal Jazz Society, Hilton Head Jazz Society, and Jacksonville Jazz Society and the Vero Beach Jazz Society.
Over the years, B. T. Jazz has been the featured artist for the Savannah Music Festivals, Savannah Jazz Festival and Miner Winery Jazz Festival and many more musical events nationally and internationally
He has played jazz and traveled extensively in Canada, South American, and Asia. He was one the founder of the Telfair Jazz Society in Savannah.
Served in US Air Force
1952 – 1956
Ben Tucker was a highly-principled individual who demonstrated integrity, excellence, compassion, courage and an exceptional capacity for cooperation and collaboration throughout Savannah and the Coastal Empire in an effort to foster equality and reduce discrimination. Tucker was a community leader who worked tirelessly to bridge gaps in business development between races, genders, and those of different social strata. He understood the meaning of “civic responsibility” and served in the military and on numerous local, national and international boards. At his untimely death in 2013, this talented and successful musician left behind a commanding musical legacy and was respected and held in high esteem by the international jazz community. He had a tremendous influence on local youth which can still be measured by the impact of his involvement in, and support of, community-based literacy and academic enrichment programs. His unwavering focus on humanity and social advocacy won him national and international recognition from world leaders.This was a man who deserved to be honored and memorialized.