From buoyant numbers like the standout single “Radio” and “In the Game” to poignant offerings like “Moving On” and “Any Time Your Heart Breaks” and ballads like “I Fall,” “The Penny” and “Rest Your Eyes,” Tucker delivers her thoughtful lyrics with poise, sophistication and deep soul. This talent deserving of wider recognition is making her first appearance at the Exit Zero Jazz Festival.
Vocalist and songwriter Dara Tucker has established a distinctive sound by fusing the melodic and lyrical strains of the central plains with the risk-taking verve of contemporary jazz.
Tucker’s 4th studio album, Oklahoma Rain (2017), named after the state of her birth, showcases her as a formidable songwriter, able to express love, loss and healing in one fell swoop. She creates a mosaic of sound to reflect the influences that have helped to shape her since childhood from the Gospel roots from which she sprung, to the jazz albums she listened to in secret, to the contemplative singer-songwriter music of the 70’s that lulled her to sleep each night.
With Oklahoma Rain, Tucker reflects on the convergence of ideals that, for her, have come to represent Oklahoma itself: Home, longing, the recent loss of her parents and ultimately, healing. It is from that place of reflection and remembrance that the title track “Oklahoma Rain” takes shape. The album’s standout single “Radio” again plays skillfully with the theme of nostalgia as Tucker reflects on the songs of “yesteryear” that contributed to her musical foundation. Calling on diverse influences such as Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and Earth Wind and Fire, Tucker has penned a brand new retro jam that taps into the current cultural zeitgeist, while daring DJ’s to ignore it. “Radio” rose to # 5 on the U.K.‘s Soul and Jazz Radio Charts and was featured on BBC Radio London.
In recent years, Dara Tucker has opened for Gregory Porter, appeared on the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS, won the silver medal & the Ben Tucker Jazz Award in the prestigious, American Traditions Vocal Competition, and was a finalist in the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Vocal Competition.
Additionally, Tucker has been featured on several of the major jazz stages in the U.S., including The Blue Note (NYC), Smoke (NYC) Snug Harbor (New Orleans) Scullers (Boston), San Jose Jazz Festival, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas and the iRock Jazz Fest. Tucker has performed or recorded with such luminaries as Peter Bernstein, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Charlie Hunter, John Ellis, Vince Gill and Helen Sung.
If you listen closely, you may hear the first few drops that signal the impending tide. In time, you’ll hear the rush of a mighty river sweeping through the musical landscape a tributary that will forge its own path to the greater ocean of heartfelt, organic and sincere music so many are craving. Keep your ears attuned to the sound of Dara Tucker and Oklahoma Rain.