The Tucker brothers, Joel and Nick, are poised to return this fall with their third album, “Two Parts.” The album finds the brothers playing with an ensemble that brings their original songs to life.
In their ensemble, the Tucker Brothers play guitar (Joel) and bass (Nick). They are joined in the ensemble by Sean Imboden on tenor saxophone and Brian Yarde on drums. The album’s special guests are Elena Escudero on vocals; Ellie Pruneau on piano, Walter Smith III on tenor saxophone, and Amanda Gardier on alto saxophone.
Two not to be missed songs on “Two Parts” are “Warm Heart” and “When Souls Meet.”
About the Tucker Brothers in brief
Both Joel and Nick Tucker are important members of the Indianapolis Jazz scene. Both are instructors of Jazz Studies at Ball State University. After graduating from Indiana University in 2012, Joel played on nine albums whose genres ranged from Latin to hip-hop. In 2016, the guitarist was one of the featured musicians at Indy Jazz fest’s tribute to Wes Montgomery.
Nick is an accomplished bassist. He graduated from the University of Indianapolis and received a masters degree from Indiana University. He has traveled the US playing with professional jazz groups, but has also been in a number of bands representing different genres, including rock music. Nick is also the house bassist for the American Pianists Association jazz competition.
“Warm Heart” by the Tucker Brothers
In the hurry and chaos of contemporary times, a song like “Warm Heart” is a breath of fresh air. Though gentle, the track comes like a force of nature. Each part of the instrumentation adds to the ambiance. The vocals on the track are as natural and soft as breath. Immediately, listeners are swept up into the beauty of the song.
The vocals are the first thing audiences hear. After a few measures the vocals are joined by the rest of the ensemble. The feel is gentle, even as bass, drums and saxophone tumble into the soundscape. The composition sounds seamless and it is as if the ensemble functions as one big respiratory system, working together to breathe. The saxophone note that ends the piece is artful in its unadorned expression.
“When Souls Meet” by the Tucker Brothers
A saxophone motif with an up and down feel opens the track. Even with the rollicking quality, there is also a pulsing that makes it seem as though the song is arching forward. The saxophone’s tone is a mixture of melancholy and aggrieved.
The guitar and saxophone showcase that finds the sounds seeming to wrap around each other like the fluttering of birds’ wings is a nice touch to take audiences from the gentle opening to what will ultimately constitute the rest of the song. Later, a saxophone showcase that is supported by drums and bass will make the song sound a bit more like classic jazz.
Though “When Souls Meet” is more expansive and sounds more present than “Warm Heart,” both are possessed of a unique beauty that captivates listeners.
“Two Parts” is album worth waiting for. The songs are pretty without being precious, and emotive without veering into whimsy. There is plenty for newer and veteran jazz fans to love about this album.