Martez L. Rucker was an acclaimed vocalist, pianist, composer, and arranger. His love of Music and his dedication to his craft was undisputed. Martez truly loved the art of vocal jazz. His deep love of harmony and singing, along with his passionate dedication to the vocal jazz genre can be witnessed through numerous performances of high school and college vocal jazz groups nationwide.
As an educator, his students say that he had very high standards but always made sure he gave them the tools to reach those standards. Martez wanted them to achieve more than they thought they could - and they always did. As an educator, he demanded excellence and inspired students to strive beyond their limitations. He was generous with sharing his wisdom and experience, providing his students with the tools they needed to achieve a high level of artistry. He created an inclusive learning environment, a sense of community, a community that is the pride and soul of the academic vocal jazz world.
Martez taught voice and piano at The Chicago High School of the Arts and was adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago. At CCC, he accompanied classes, faculty recitals and juries, taught piano lessons and directed the Jazz/Pop Choir and the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble, ChicagoVox.
Martez was always quick to offer a helping hand, a new harmonization or a kind word to a colleague, student or friend. That hat, that smile, that style…he was jazz. On Saturday, January 30, 2021, this bright light went out. While there are still no answers as to how or why he is gone, his family must go on without him now. His beautiful wife, Mesha, and his pride and joy - Samuel - need a village to help them now.
With Martez being the primary breadwinner for his family, let’s provide Mesha and Samuel with financial comfort to assure them they will have all that they need as they find their new normal and recover from this monumental loss. Funeral costs, loss of income and day to day expenses will pile up quickly and the need is rather immediate. Let’s share the beauty of community support with the Rucker family.
If you were ever touched by Martez, his music, his teaching or his spirit, please consider contributing what you can. Your light shines for him and his family.
We appreciate your generosity!
- Ben Lewis
- Kira Stuart
- Brian Hemstock
- Laurel Latimer
- Janet C Kemper
Organizer and beneficiary
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