Glenn Tucker

musician

Glenn Tucker is a member of the youngest generation in the lineage of Detroit pianists. He is known for enthusiastic versatility and a balance between youthful energy and dedication to history. He has performed music representing the entire jazz canon both as a leader and sideman. He was mentored by Claude Black and studied with Geri Allen at the University of Michigan. He also cites Detroit pianist Harold McKinney as a major influence. Other teachers include Tad Weed, James Dapogny, Marilyn Mason, and Chris Foreman.

Glenn grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, starting piano lessons with Mary Bates and joining Dr. Thomas Strode’s Ann Arbor Boychoir at age 8 following his older brother’s lead. In middle school he picked up clarinet and was exposed to jazz in the Ann Arbor Public Schools Summer Music program led by Sean Dobbins. He then studied with Paul Finkbeiner at the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts.

In high school, Glenn added the tenor saxophone (studying with Jack Wagner) while also returning to the piano under the tutelage of Brian DiBlassio. Glenn played his first professional jazz gig at age 15 with 1920s dance orchestra Phil Ogilvie’s Rhythm Kings. This began his relationship with early jazz scholar James Dapogny. Shortly before his 16th birthday Paul Keller recommended him for a gig with Toledo bassist Clifford Murphy, who in turn introduced Glenn to master pianist Claude Black.

During Glenn’s years at Community High School, he rose quickly on the local jazz scene. In addition to frequent gigs at Murphy’s Place in Toledo, he performed with all of the weekly bands (Paul Keller Orchestra & Ensemble, salsa band Los Gatos, swingtet Easy Street Jazz Band, and P.O.R.K.) at the Firefly Club in Ann Arbor. This versatility has been a signature throughout his career. Glenn studied at Vincent York’s York University, eventually performing professionally with York. During this time, Glenn subbed for teacher Tad Weed at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit.

Glenn co-founded the Cool Moose Orchestra with trombonist Connor Otto, which was an all-student big band that performed monthly at the Firefly Club. Glenn led the band and wrote over 100 arrangements for the group. Other youthful experiences from this period included punk-ska band Mad Hot Dance Hall and funk outfit the True Funk Soldiers, which morphed into the Hip Bop Experiment.

Rather than attending college in New York, Glenn decided to stay in the local scene and attend the University of Michigan. While at Michigan, he studied with jazz piano legend Geri Allen, who imbued in him a passion for the jazz tradition and a drive to be creative. During this time he was exposed to a wide range of music and musicians, while also learning from gigs in the local jazz scene. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the spring of 2012.

Following a 2010 visit to Paris, Glenn developed a budding interest in the pipe organ. After signing up for elective organ lessons at UM, he was placed in the studio of legendary organist and pedagogue Marilyn Mason. Due to Prof. Mason’s motivation and his early classical training, he went on to earn a Master’s degree in organ performance in 2013, culminating in a recital at Hill Auditorium. Music from this recital was later broadcast on a July 2016 edition of NPR's Pipedreams. From 2013-2016 he was successor to Mason as organist at the First Congregational Church in Ann Arbor.

Glenn’s stature as a pianist, Hammond organist, and arranger is steadily rising on the Detroit scene. He is a favorite sideman to a who's-who of Detroit jazz veterans: George "Sax" Benson, Wendell Harrison, Allan Barnes, Leonard King, George Davidson, Ralphe Armstrong, Marion Hayden, Larry Smith, Ron English, etc. He has also performed on several occasions with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and from 2014-2016 he played keyboards for R&B great Michael Henderson, including accompanying guest appearances by Jean Carne among others. His sophomore album Determination was released in 2015 by Mack Avenue subsidiary Detroit Music Factory. A duet collaboration with the legendary George "Sax" Benson, Dreamers, was released on Benson's 87th birthday in February of 2016. 

In 2016 Glenn was selected as pianist for the Thelonious Monk Institute, a two-year fellowship at UCLA under the direction of Herbie Hancock. Glenn currently resides in Los Angeles, where he studies at the Monk Institute.