Jazz funeral held for Savannah musician Ben Tucker
by Associated Press Wire
June 10, 2013 05:24 PM | 445 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In an April 1, 2010 photo Ben Tucker performs for his 80th Birthday Celebration at the Charles H. Morris Center in Savannah Ga. during the Savannah Music Festival. Tucker, a Savannah jazz legend, died Tuesday June 4, 2013 on Hutchinson Island when the golf cart he was in was struck by a car. (AP Photo/The Morning News, Richard Burkhart)
In an April 1, 2010 photo Ben Tucker performs for his 80th Birthday Celebration at the Charles H. Morris Center in Savannah Ga. during the Savannah Music Festival. Tucker, a Savannah jazz legend, died Tuesday June 4, 2013 on Hutchinson Island when the golf cart he was in was struck by a car. (AP Photo/The Morning News, Richard Burkhart)
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Musicians filled the streets of downtown Savannah with the sounds of jazz Monday in honor of bassist Ben Tucker after friends and family said farewell at his funeral, where Tucker's beloved upright bass stood beside his casket.

Hundreds packed the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension for Tucker's memorial service, which took its theme from the title of his best-known song, "Comin' Home Baby," the Savannah Morning News reported.

"The bass section in heaven just got a little more vibrant," the church's pastor, the Rev. Carl Yost, told mourners. "Ben is going home."

After the church service, musicians close to Tucker led a New Orleans-style jazz procession through the streets to Ellis Square, where a tribute concert was to last throughout the afternoon until sundown.

Tucker played bass with a roster of stars including Herbie Mann, Quincy Jones and Peggy Lee before he moved to Savannah in 1972. He became one of the city's most beloved working musicians, playing festivals and nightclubs as well as weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Tucker was killed last week when a speeding car crashed into his golf cart on Hutchinson Island, where the musician frequently played golf and held a steady gig playing Sunday brunch at the Westin hotel. Authorities charged Robert William Martin, 52, of Spicewood, Texas, with vehicular manslaughter and other crimes. He remains jailed without bond pending a preliminary court hearing.

James Lee Smith was among the musicians who turned out Monday to play in Tucker's honor. He said he was impressed to see how much Tucker meant to Savannah, WTOC-TV reported (http://bit.ly/14Q6bG3).

"Of course, I expected a lot of musicians to be here, but I didn't expect so many from community to come out," Smith said. "I guess he affected a lot of people's lives."



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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