University of California Jazz Ensembles
The First Decade

The University of California, Berkeley

To Remember
Dr. David W. "Doc" Tucker
On the Occasion of His Passing
November 7, 2003

Images Compiled by Les Golden, Ph.D 1977
Trumpet 1967-1977
Announcer 1968-1977

Please email me your own images for inclusion. I hope these images will bring back many happy memories and remind us what Dave meant to us as a director, teacher, and friend.

Image Gallery (as of 1/2/05) | Eulogy | Put Your Name on Alumni email List
Button's Don't-You-Wish | Musician's Lament | Contact
University of California Jazz Ensembles | Dave Kopf's Octobop (link to band bios)
Susan Muscarella's Jazz School in Berkeley | Dave Lebvre and Jazz West | Letters from UCJazzers



Jazz Festivals

Latter two pix from Carol added 7/31/05. Unknown judge. Dave and Freddie Hubbard rehearsing for Pacific Coast Jazz Festival.

Bear's Lair Concerts (added February, 2004)

Cafeteria Concerts

Lower Sproul Concerts

Party at Dr. Tucker's House

Other Images

Dave and Susan checking out a venue? -- Anyone know the location? (Carol pix added 7/31/05)

Our Soloists

Jon Aymong, Chris Corpuz, Chris Gillock, Gordon Giedt, Tyler Johnston, "Doc," unknown, Ron Woertz?
Peter Olson, unknown guitar, Adrienne Chambers (identified by Keith Stone, November 22, 2007 -- see his letter immediately below), unknown bone
Last row added 7/31/05. More to come.
Please provide names for those who I could not identify.

Sent by Carol Tucker, December 18, 2004

Letters from UCJazzers



Hello Les:

I saw your tribute site to Dr. Tucker. Thanks for posting it. I was a student at Cal in the 70’s and my roommate was the drummer for the jazz ensemble Tom Johnson. I was in the Jr. Jazz Ensemble so I didn’t play with the Sr. Jazz Ensemble for the concert with Sonny Rollins, Hubert laws, Freddie Hubbard, Patrice Rushen & Ed Shaughnessy.

I was on the committee, as the equipment manager, to select the artists for the concert however, and I suggested Sonny Rollins since I was a saxophonist. Since Sonny was recording at Orin Keepnews studio in Berkeley, we were able to get him, much to my happiness.

The school rented me a station wagon which I picked up Sonny and his wife at the airport and I chaperoned them around. There was something wrong with Sonny’s horn so I took him to a music store to see if we could get it fixed. The night of the concert at Zellerbach, Sonny told me to stay on the sidelines with my horn if he needed it. Sure enough, after the first number, he came over and took my horn and played it the entire show. I have stayed in touch with Sonny since then and he’s always been very gracious to me, even getting me into his concerts for free.

I was trying to find out the exact date of the concert since Sonny told me he would sign a letter for me stating he played my horn on that date but I wasn’t sure the exact date and year. Do you have any archives stating the date of that show? I still have the same sax and would like to have an authenticated record of his playing it.

Thanks so much for keeping the “spirit” of Dr. Tucker alive. He was a very cool, calm guy and I remember him fondly.

Thanks sincerely,

Rob Stone



Hi Les,

My wife is Polly Draper, an actress who played Ellyn on thirtysomething. She's the creator, writer, director and show runner of my kid's tv show on Nickelodeon. I play their father on the show and produce the music, but my sons write all the songs. They're amazing musicians.

I'll look forward to your book and am happy to write a blurb about it.

Mike Wolff

email Les if you'd like Mike's email address.
Les' email



I happened across the tribute to Doc and the Ensembles that you have on Geocities as a result of searching on Paul Giorsetto. The whole spread got my interest and I've spent some time going through it. It sure brings back some memories.

The french horn player you have the picture of is Adrienne Chambers. She was with the band that went to Europe in the summer of '79. I was on that trip as well, and one of the best stories from that trip was when she whipped Dizzy Gillespie in backgammon.

I do remember you from my days at Berkeley. I was there from '75 to '80 and was Ensembles president for close to two years.

What are you doing in Illinois these days? I moved out of California in 1985 and have not lived there since. I now live in Austin.

If anything else comes to mind, I'll let you know.

Best regards,
Keith Stone

email Les if you'd like Keith's email address. Les' email


After discovering Chris is still in Chicago, he sends news of his group. Chris, also known as "Mr. G," has gone from the trombone to the harmonica!

Subj:Mr. G & the Mystery Band - Gigs in June!

It is June and in Chicago, that means BLUESTIME! Don't miss the Chicago Blues Fest on June 12, 13 & 14 at Grant Park And don't miss Mr. G and the Mystery Band at its favorite venues in the North Suburbs::

Friday June 12 - we will be back at our Northshore hang-out, C.J. Arthur's, 1168 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette, IL 60091, 847.256.8870; Music starts a 8:30 PM and will continue until closing - after midnight, most likely.....Come on out for an "after Fest" party after your day at the Chicago Blues Festival

Saturday June 27 - The Mystery Band returns to its home club at Bill's Blues Bar, 1029 Davis Street, Evanston IL 60201, 847.424.9800, Music starts at 8:30 and will continue until 11:30 PM.

The Mystery Band for both gigs will include Mr. G on harmonica & vocals, Anthony Palmer on guitar, E.G. McDaniel on bass, Mark Wydra on guitar and Aaron Almon on drums. This is a top-knotch Mystery Band, the "A" Team!

If you like bluesy funk and funky blues, check out the Mystery Band this month. Oh, and buy our CD at CD Baby:
Mr. G and the Mystery Band
It's A Mystery


From: Mark Hansen
Subject: Hi From UC Jazz First Decade Alumnus (Harold Hansen)
Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 4:11 PM

Hi, Les. How are you? I was reminiscing about my college days today, and I came across your wonderful website about the UC Jazz Ensembles. I saw the famous 1972 band portrait with me (standing right next to you) listed as "IDR", so I thought I'd drop you a line and say hi. I was the guitar player in the Wednesday band (the one you were in) from 1970 to 1973. I went by the name of Harold then, but I always hated that name (it was Bill Cosby's fault!) so a number of years ago I changed my first name to Mark.

When I have a minute, I will pull out my copy of the portrait, on the back of which I wrote the name of every person in the photo, and send it to you, in case you want to update the website. I also have a very detailed journal from those days, and I will see if I can find some interesting stories for you.


Mark (used to be Harold) Hansen


Daily Cal Article About First Concert, 1968
Vice-Chancellor Letter to Jazzers
Program of First Concert, Under Direction of Bob Docken, 1968
Letter from Dave to Les

Dr. Tucker's Comments on Music Education
Professional History
Tyler Johnston's Comments at Retirement Party

Sent by Carol Tucker, December 18, 2004

Courtesy of Russ Button, April 15, 2004

Courtesy of Russ Button, May 19, 2004


Les Golden
934 Forest Avenue
Oak Park, Illinois 60302
email Les

November 13 and 14, 2003


Dear friends and family,

How I wish I could be with you all tonight to honor Dave, our friend and teacher. One makes decisions in life and one has to abide by them. I’m luckier than most of you, though, because I got to be with Dave for 9 great years, from 1968 to 1977.

I thank Carol and Jeff for providing some of this information, and Russ Button for commenting upon the captions for the images I emailed for your viewing. Russ also corrected my mis-identification of one of the players, Gordon Giedt. Those images will be available, with Russ’ help, at Thanks also to Russ and whoever else printed out the images.

Dave loved his years with the Ensembles. The inevitable battles with the administration didn’t stop him from guiding the organization to greatness. The most visible and successful musical group on campus. The jealousy of, and conflict with, the Cal Band when some of their best players like Lee Shenk and Jim Ware left to join us. But with Dave we flourished. The trip to Reno – remember the laughs we had about staying at the Bee Gay Motel? That trip led Dave to sponsor the fabulous jazz festivals. Multiple venues. Bands all around. Jon Faddis blasting out the walls of Pauley Ballroom as a high school kid and then visiting us, and do I remember him playing a solo, was it in the Bear’s Lair? Barbara Garcia from South San Francisco High coming out from stage right in a white dress and mesmerizing us with "On a Clear Day." The great professionals whom Dave brought to the festivals thrilled us and provided lifelong memories: Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, Ed Shaughnessy, George Duke, Hubert Laws, and more. Richie “Alto Madness” Cole played with us, I forget if it was at one of the jazz festivals or at some other location, although I favor the latter because I remember sitting down and eating together somewhere. We all got to play with them and meet them because of Dave. I remember Dave rehearsing those guys! And we were there.

The bank account “across the street.” The first concerts in the cafeteria, then those in the Bear’s Lair and the weekly Lower Sproul noontime performances. The Oakland Art Museum and the Rio Vista festival. The first aborted attempt at recording an album. The 3rd place finish at the PCCJF when we played our cerebral music and showed up the L.A. ringer bands. The guys taking a trip to Basin Street West for a live taping of the Don Ellis orchestra, with strings. Herb Wong of KJAZ and the Washington elementary school always there to help us out.

But we all know that it was our personal relationship with Dave that we cherish most. I know I’m not unique. Dave made us all feel special, important, and talented. He’d give us opportunities to solo and sing and shine. He farmed out gigs to those of us who had put together jobbing bands. Those who chose to work with the festivals or as band officers got their first administrative experiences. We learned from Dave the value of hard work, love, and truth to a purpose from his example. We expanded our personalities by being spotlighted as soloists, officers, and announcers. No one in my life has had a greater positive influence than Dave, and I know you feel the same way.

I will never forget my coming to Dave at a low moment in my grad student career and his asking me what I thought were my best attributes. I made some superficial remarks about my appearance and intelligence. And he, without chiding me for my superficiality, said words to the effect, “Les, your best traits are that you are responsible and have good judgment. If anything ever happened to me, I would trust the welfare of my family to you.”

I will never forget Dave telling me the Cal Band announcer, who had announced our first few concerts, was ill from his cancer, and that because he knew I had a jazz show on KALX he wanted me to do the announcing. Right there, in the cafeteria, in the area just behind where the Thursday noontime concerts would later take place. I was petrified. I asked him, “What do I do?” He said, “Just read off the names of the tunes and the soloists. You’ll do fine.” With a firm, gentle hand, he brought the best out of us, led us to obtain fulfillment in our talents.

I’ll never forget him assigning me to sing “ ‘N All That Jazz,” essentially a scat solo. Not the band vocalists, but me!

There was a trumpet player who had come to us in the Bear’s Lair one night and blew us away with his fluid solos and who later joined the band. I’ll never forget Dave telling me that he liked my solos better – and trust me, I was no great soloist (just ask Susan or Dave LeFebvre). He said he liked my solos better because when I played Dave felt he could think along with me.

I’ll never forget Dave making the announcer position an elected officer, so that I could officially help in decision-making.

I’ll never forget when I returned after moving to L.A. for a post doc and getting together at the house. A discussion about funding cutbacks or strategy again was occurring, and being removed from the scene I had nothing to say. After a while Dave said something like, “There’s someone here who I know has a lot to contribute, but hasn’t spoken up yet. Les, what do you think?”

But I’m not unique. All that inspiration, the faith he instilled in me that I could be special, the confidence he gave me that I was special – he gave that to everyone. What a gifted, special man David Tucker was.

Carol told me that Dave at first was going to be a minister. So now we can understand his love for us more easily. And it’s clear he brought those skills to the Ensembles. He was a true, sincere friend. He guided us and aided us in our personal lives. He rejoiced in our triumphs and consoled us in our disappointments. We remember the wisdom he provided us in our one-on-one talks and the warmth and kindness we felt in his presence.

I can hear him say “beaucoup.” I can hear him utter his humor-tinged exasperation, “Oh, boy!” I’m glad Carol has kept the answering machine outgoing message with his voice on it.

I’m sorry for going on at such length, friends and family, but I’ve got 9 years of happy memories. I hope you’re finding these reminiscences worth listening to.


In case others don’t talk about his background, Dr. David W. Tucker was a native of Cerro Gordo, Illinois, a village of 2000 between Springfield and Champaign-Urbana, and the only child of farmers. He received his undergraduate and masters’ degrees in education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and then served in the military, stationed at Little Rock during the Korean War. He then taught in the Sacramento area school districts, and spent summers playing trombone in the show bands of Lake Tahoe.

Those of us in the Ensembles were interested in hearing Dave play trombone, but the word I heard was that he had suffered a collapsed lung and could no longer play.

In 1968, he was hired by the University of California, Berkeley, to arrange for the Cal Marching Band. He volunteered to direct the fledgling University of California Berkeley Jazz Ensembles, which had begun in the fall of 1967 under Cal bandsmen Bob Docken and Rick Penner, and eventually was hired by the university for that position He got his Ph.D from Berkeley in 1969 in Education. He was also a skilled classicial composer, working among other things with students at Jim Fiatarone’s (spelling) family music store in Pinole.

Dave directed the Ensembles until 1983, his early retirement resulting largely from a bad back that had him lying flat for a year. Each year 100 students worked under Dave’s direction in the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night big bands, combos, and classes. A vocal jazz education program formed as a result of the success of the Ensembles, under the direction of Dr. Tucker’s associate Milton Williams. The Ensembles had joint spring concerts with them.

Because of Dave, the Ensembles became the most successful and visible performing arts organization at the university. He was a great administrator and leader. He had an immensely cordial personality, with that easy laugh, an ability to get the best out of people, an ability to get others to work with him and support his efforts. It is clear that the band flourished under him. It performed throughout California, at cultural venues such as the Oakland Art Museum and International House, once or twice weekly on campus, and at student and administration functions, including receptions for the Chancellor of the Berkeley campus. In years after my leaving, the band had successful tours in Japan and Europe. The first was, I believe, a trip to Japan which resulted from friendships he had made with some Japanese musicians or businessmen.

I remember participating in one meeting with officers from the Ensembles, the executive director of the ASUC, and the ASUC student president, who I think was Alan Wong. As usual we were fighting for our financial lives. I think that particular meeting was in response to their desire to slash the director’s salary. Maybe Larry Heavey, who I think was our president at that time, might remember. I made the point that in the first year of our existence, before Dave arrived, no one bothered us. Struggling, we were no threat to anyone. We weren’t the target of the, for example, Cal Band. But now that we had become successful under Dave’s guidance, these forces were trying to demolish us. And I said words to the effect that, that is not how the university should react to a clearly talented person who created that success. The message rang a bell and we survived.

For many years, the Ensembles sponsored the Pacific Coast Jazz Festival, giving a highly visible performing venue to thousands of high school and college student musicians from the entire west coast and workshops with renowned guest professional musicians. In this way, the Ensembles became a magnet leading to the matriculation of hundreds of talented junior college and high school students to the campus. Paul Giorsetto and Dave LeFebvre are two from my era who I first saw star with their high school bands at the festival. (Thanks for asking me to do that recording gig, Paul. It was a great experience, individually ear-phoned and all.)

Many former jazzers became renowned musicians and music educators in their own right as a result of their experience with Dr. Tucker. Andy Narell, the father of the steel drum jazz movement, played piano in the Ensembles. Mike Wolff played with everyone from Cal Tjader to Cannonball Adderley before becoming the musical director for Nancy Wilson for many years and the musical director for the Arsenio Hall Show. Susan founded the Jazz School in Berkeley. James Henson and Dave and Don Megill are some of the many elementary and secondary school educators who studied under Dave. Who can count the number of professional musicians or those who continue playing as an avocation?

Special mention should be made of Dave’s role in Susan’s career. I remember when this student, Susan Denham, appeared in the band. She had won a classical composition award I believe at Cal (the same year I won an essay contest award in the same competition, Susan!). Dave introduced her to us and said she was a classical musician – correct me, Susan, if my memory is wrong on this – who had started playing jazz and wanted to play in the band. Her first efforts at soloing were a bit awkward. You could watch her feel herself around on the keyboard. But Dave knew the talent and potential and we know what a monster player Susan became. Now hundreds of students benefit from her guidance, teaching, and the administrative skills she at least partially learned under Dave as assistant director and then director of the Ensembles.


Why did Dave suffer in his last decade on earth? The great, loving, caring man we all knew. I have some resolution in this. I think when you care about others, you share their pain. You worry about them. Dave cared about us all. Hundreds. Carol tells me that he would stay up all night worrying, feeling emotional pain. I remember him telling me once that he tried to find the good in every person.

Loving and caring is stressful and takes its toll. Those who never love or care can survive, but they survive in a void and that is not survival. I think that the unloving and unloved person who lives to 95 is really dead. The person, like Dave, who loved and cared and who is loved in return lives a full life, and as important will live as long as memories exist.

Although distance and the events of life led Dave and I to have few interactions in almost 20 years I considered him my best friend. My best friend! And that’s because his love was always with me. I loved him, and he knew I loved him. He loved me, and I knew he loved me. Dave will live as long as I live and he’ll live as long as anyone in this room lives, as long as anyone who knew him lives.


We should remember that Dave was lucky. He loved the Ensembles and spent 14 years glorifying in its success, working with us all. From what Jeff told me he loved renovation work. Two happy careers. That’s not bad. We should all be so lucky.

In parting, I hope we can dedicate ourselves to preserving the Ensembles, for Dave’s sake. We should keep the jazzers’ alumni association strong and make contributions. We should attend UC Jazz functions and support and encourage the kids. We should lobby the Cal administration when funding becomes a problem. Those of you who are educators should encourage your best students to go to Cal and play in the Ensembles. If your friends have kids who are good musicians, you should encourage them to go to Cal and play in the Ensembles.

When I last spoke to Dave, and Carol would tell me his response to my comments by the firmness of his grip, I told him of a commitment I made to myself probably 20 years ago. That was to fund a Dr. David W. “Doc” Tucker Scholarship for one -- now I’d like it to be two -- students each year to attend Cal and play in the band. He nearly broke Carol’s hand on hearing that. Two great players each year will help perpetuate a monster Ensembles.

I plan to be able to do that. And I think I will take the liberty of joining my name to his in that scholarship and having a tribute read to him wherever the scholarships are announced, whether it be at a renewed jazz festival or a formal concert. That way our names will be joined and our friendship will exist long after I join Dave in the big band that he is now directing.

I love you Dave. I’m sorry your last years were in pain. Now, rest in peace.

Your friend,

Les Golden