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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Ellyn Rucker born 29 July 1937

Ellyn Rucker born July 29, 1937  is a bop pianist and singer. Rucker was over 40 years old before she pursued a fulltime career in music. 

Born 29 July 1937, Des Moines, Iowa, USA. Singer and pianist Ellyn Rucker’s great pianistic skills and her sensuous voice belie her late start as a jazz performer. Coming from a very musical family, Rucker first took an interest in piano when she was eight years old. Later, she studied classical piano at Drake University, but by the age of 13 her brother had persuaded her to listen to jazz. She began playing clubs and hotels in her home-town area, but it was 1979 before she became a full-time professional musician. In the ensuing time she was an ordinary mother, raising a family, and playing infrequently. 

By this stage in her career, she had also begun to sing occasionally to her own accompaniment. She spent several years working in Denver, Colorado, where she was heard by Mark Murphy who advised her to try for the "big time". Although essentially a solo player, sometimes working with a rhythm section, she has occasionally worked with visiting jazzmen, including Roy Eldridge, James Moody, Clark Terry, Richie Cole and Buddy Tate. 

In 1986 she played at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands and in subsequent years toured Europe and the UK. Latterly, Rucker has continued to concentrate on solo tours but has also worked with Spike Robinson on a number of occasions. Her accompanists on records have included Robinson, Pete Christlieb and John Clayton. An eclectic pianist, with a wide-ranging repertoire, Rucker is gradually becoming accepted as an inventive and skilled jazz musician. Her playing style can be elegantly poised or dynamically forceful depending upon the material or the mood that she is in. Her singing, although less strongly promoted than her piano playing, is easy and natural. 

She is not well-known to the general jazz fan. Her bop and Bill Evans influenced piano can stand on its own, and her singing is top rank. Her few recordings show her music to be powerful and appealing. Ellyn Rucker is an underrated jazz musician. She has recorded several albums for Capri and has a full-length video on Leisure Jazz.. 

Perhaps if Ellyn Rucker had taken up music full-time 20 years earlier or lived in a larger area than Denver she would be a bigger name. However, her talent has long been in the major leagues and her recordings are all quite appealing and powerful. 

           Here is "The Night Has a 1000 Eyes" from above album 

Ms. Rucker since 1987 has released some fine records as “Ellyn,” (’87) “This Heart of Mine” (’88) “Nice Work!,” (89) “Thoughts of You,” (92) these are on the Capri label. She then went with the Leisure label for “Live In New Orleans” again in ’92. Her latest release is from 2003 “Now,” on Capri.   

 (Info edited from AMG, Capri & Encyclopedia of Popular Music)

Here's the Lenny Kaye Quartet featuring Lenny Kaye - Vocals, Ellyn Rucker - Piano, Dean Ross - Bass, and Jack McCutchan - Drums

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Ellyn Rucker - Now (2003) go here

1. Now
2. Can't Get Out Of This Mood
3. Now
4. Strollin'
5. With You In Mind
6. Estate (Summer Passed)
7. Stockholm Sweetnin'
8. The Heather On The Hill
9. Last Resort
10. Useless Landscape Moon And Sand
11. The Best Thing For You
12. Lucky To Be Me
13. Here

For Ellyn Rucker – Ellyn go here:

1. In Your Own Sweet Way
2. One Morning In May
3. Close Enough For Love
4. Nadines’s Waltz
5. Blues For Big Scotia
6. ‘Round Midnight
7. The Night Has 1000 Eyes
8. Solo Medley: Prisoner of Love/ Body & Soul / Wonder Why