Born in Morristown, New Jersey in 1923, Tucker was a pianist, arranger and accompanist. He recorded with Mildred Bailey, Billie Holiday and others. In 1949, he began a collaboration with vocalist Billy Eckstine, a relationship which lasted forty years. He was also sought out by other singers, including Lena Horne, Tony Bennett and Sarah Vaughan. Tucker worked with Quincy Jones to arrange and conduct the music for the 1978 film, "The Wiz", which won an Academy Award nomination for best original music score. Tucker died in 2008.
The collection documents the life and musical career of Robert "Bobby" Tucker. The collection particularly emphasizes Tucker's close collaboration with Billy Eckstine over a forty-year period from approximately 1949-1990, and includes original orchestrations of arrangements by Tucker and other arrangers, a complete set of commercial recordings by Eckstine for which Tucker served as arranger, and ephemeral material including photographs, concert programs and news clippings. Materials relating to Tucker's collaboration with Quincy Jones on the musical "The Wiz" are also included.
Bobby Tucker Papers, 1883-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History