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The Tucker Brothers Return with 'Writing Prompts'
Posted July 28, 2017 by Brett Alderman
WRITTEN BY
Brett Alderman
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July 28, 2017
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Brothers Joel and Nick Tucker, a pair of Indy’s busiest musicians, will release their second album, Writing Prompts on July 29, with a pair of live performances at the Jazz Kitchen. This album plays as a personal tribute to Indiana’s jazz musicians and teachers that have influenced the duo since picking up their instruments.

The creation of Writing Prompts benefited from Musical Family Tree’s Amplify grant program. “We were incredibly excited to award one of these grants to the Tucker Brothers whose application demonstrated their immense dedication to creative expression as well as that of the Indianapolis music community as a whole; they are both active within the jazz, rock, and hip-hop communities, and chose to write an album paying homage to the rich history of jazz in Indy,” says Erin Jeter, MFT executive director. “Amplify is a pilot program developed in partnership with The Indianapolis Foundation and Michael Kaufmann to fund collaborative and innovative music projects in Indiana,” Jeter explains.

Ahead of the event, I was able to speak with Joel Tucker about creating Writing Prompts.

 

Brett Alderman: How long has this project been in the works?

Joel Tucker: In a way, this project has been in the making for my entire life. The essence of Writing Prompts is a record that represents where I am at the moment, and where I'd like my music to go in the future. I spent a bit over a year writing the music that is featured on this record, but the concept has been with me since I started playing my instrument.

BA: Is there much stylistically different from what you’ve done in the past?

JT: Each track on Writing Prompts has its own character. Jazz is great because it's about each individual voice working together to create an original sound. As far as styles go, this record features swing feels, straight eighth feels, and odd time signatures, all of which we are comfortable playing. 

BA: Both of you stay busy as performers, working with several talented musicians. Did you have difficulty choosing the other players to join you?

JT: The sidemen featured on this album are all world-class musicians as well as world-class people.  I'm happy to call them my friends... and we all just happen to play jazz.  Choosing them was really a no-brainer.

BA: Was it difficult to find time to create this album?

JT: Every track featured on this album was written organically. Finding time to write wasn't an issue.  When inspiration struck, I was never far away from my instrument. Writing and recording original music is what I want to be doing as an artist, so I've always made time for it. In terms of everyone else's schedule and planning the rehearsals and recording date, that's a different story (laughs).

BA: How many tracks did you compose for Writing Prompts?

JT: I composed five tracks, and Nick composed three.

BA: Are there any particular jazz musicians from Indiana that you think deserve more attention?

JT: I think there are plenty of jazz musicians who are currently living in Indianapolis that deserve more attention, both locally and nationally. Jared Thompson, Ryan Taylor, Steven Jones, Brian Yarde, Jesse Wittman, Charlie Ballantine, Carrington Clinton, Cassius Goens III, Sean Imboden... there are so many more too. All of these guys are just people I have the pleasure of playing with from time to time.  

BA: When did the Musical Family Tree involvement come in to play?

JT: Musical Family Tree came into play in the fall of 2016 when I heard about the Amplify grant. I thought it seemed like a great opportunity, so I jumped on the application right away. The concept of the album was to tie in past jazz musicians who grew up in Indianapolis, and my proposal explained how we are continuing the jazz tradition that they started here. 

BA: Beyond the release shows on July 29, do you plan on having more shows supporting the new album?

JT: We are currently working on further promoting the record nationally, which will lead to more shows outside the Indianapolis area. We plan on having copies of our album available for purchase at our weekly Chatterbox gig on Wednesday nights from 8 to 11 p.m., as well as at our monthly gig at Coal Yard Coffee in Irvington. Our Facebook page and Instagram account will have updates on performances as well as more news about Writing Prompts.

BA: Is there a Writing Prompts 2 on the horizon?

JT: Let's just get this one out into the airwaves before we talk about that. 

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