Michael Tucker (born 1948) began writing for Jazz Journal in 1977. He has always felt it an honour to be asked to contribute to an enterprise that, over the years, has helped open his ears to so much superb music. Until his retirement in 2012, he was Professor of Poetics at the University of Brighton, where he promoted jazz concerts and curated many exhibitions. These included the 1999 Selected Signs – a month-long celebration of the 30th anniversary of ECM, long his favourite label.
He is particularly interested in the shamanic import of the arts, a theme explored in depth in his 1992 Dreaming with Open Eyes: The Shamanic Spirit in Twentieth-Century Art and Culture. He has given guest lectures at universities and arts institutions across Britain, Europe and Scandinavia and was also invited to teach periodically at the University of Sussex. In 1997 that institution awarded him the (examined) degree of Doctor of Letters, for “distinguished contributions to the advancement of learning”.
A dabbler on guitar, piano and bone-flute and a keen amateur painter inspired by, a.o., Cézanne and Soulages, Davie and de Kooning, Munch and Miró, he is a specialist in Nordic culture. In 1999 his Jan Garbarek: Deep Song was rated “the bible of Garbarek studies” by Norway's NRK Music Magazine; it was also a BBC Critics Book of The Year Choice. In 2012 he was made a Knight: First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, in recognition of “outstanding service in the interest of Norway”.