Jazz Concepts: Ben Tucker’s Beatnik Vibe

In the new Amazon series Crisis in six Scenes, Woody Allen frames his meandering plot with classic jazz hits from the ’60s: “Moanin’” played by Art Blakey with Jymie Merritt on bass, “Topsy” played by the Jimmy Guiffre Trio, and “Comin’ Home Baby.” Bassist Ben Tucker composed and performed “Comin’ Home Baby” with flautist Herbie Mann on Live at the Village Gate [1961, Atlantic]. Over the past 60 years, Tucker’s tune has been recorded often by both jazz and pop artists. The beauty of his composition lies in the sexy, hypnotic, double-stop boogaloo bass groove. On Live at the Village Gate, Tucker joins Mann’s band alongside Ahmed Abdul-Malik—Mann’s regular bassist at the time—for a two-bass romp that draws the listener into the smoky, dank zeitgeist of Greenwich Village in the ’60s.

Bob Dorough later put lyrics to the bluesy melody, which became a hit for vocalist Mel Torme [Comin’ Home Baby!, 1962, Atlantic] and Michael Bublé and Boyz II Men [Call Me Irresponsible, 2008, Reprise]. A strong bassist, Tucker eventually found a more profitable niche in the world of songwriting, music publishing, and radio . . .

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