Stephen P. Rucker


(305) 284-6306
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About Me


“If you truly love music, don’t let anyone or anything prevent you from reaching your dream. It is my goal to help you reach that dream.”


Steve Rucker is a lecturer in the Studio Music and Jazz Department at the Frost School of Music. He received his bachelor’s degree in Studio Music and Jazz from the University of Miami in 1979 and was awarded his Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance in 1983.

Mr. Rucker got his start in Charlotte, North Carolina, performing locally and touring with the Funk/R&B group “Sugarcreek.”  During this period he became the musical arranger for this seven-piece horn band, and wrote and recorded their first single, "Runnin' Out Of Time".  He moved to South Florida in 1976, and performed and recorded steadily with a number of jazz, Latin, funk and fusion groups.  He was twice been voted “Best Jazz Performer” and “Most Versatile Artist” in South Florida polls.  

In the early 1980s, Mr. Rucker was a member of the Ross-Levine band, a groundbreaking jazz-fusion group. In addition to numerous appearances with them, he recorded the albums “That Summer Something” and “Humidity,” which featured Pat Metheny and Hiram Bullock.

While a member of Randy Bernsen’s Ocean Sound Band, he recorded tracks on “Paradise Citizens” and “Calling Me Back Home,” and performed many concerts internationally, including a billing with Miles Davis.  He also recorded “Blues Hat Dances 'Round Midnight” with Bernsen, and continues to perform with him.

In 1990, Mr. Rucker recorded “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” with Gloria Estefan.  For many years, he performed internationally with Ben Vereen, and appeared with Mr. Vereen with the Atlanta Symphony and the Dallas Symphony.

Steve Rucker was a member of the Bee Gees for more than ten years, and appeared with them on numerous TV shows and performances, including:

  • The Tonight Show
  • Oprah Winfrey Show
  • Today Show
  • VH 1 Specials
  • David Letterman
  • Rosie O’Donnell
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction
  • Command Performance for the Queen of England
  • Top of the Pops
  • Live By Request
  • Wango Tango
  • Wetten Dass
  • Parkinson Show
  • Good Morning America
  • An Audience With The Bee Gees
  • Taratata

In 1997, Mr. Rucker appeared at a Bee Gees concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas that was shown on pay-per-view television, HBO, and was mastered as a live album.

The CD of this performance sold more than 5 million copies, which led to a world tour of One Night Only concerts. The tour included playing to an audience of 56,000 at London’s Wembley Stadium and concluded in the newly built Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australia for 72,000 fans.

In 2010, Mr. Rucker recorded an album with composer Ron Miller, entitled "Peacock Park the Music of Ron Miller."  He completed an album in 2013 entitled "Conversions" with singer/pianist Hal Roland, in a live jazz quartet configuration.

Mr. Rucker has also performed or recorded with:

  • Michael Jackson
  • Jaco Pastorius
  • Johnny Cash
  • Ben Vereen
  • Freda Payne
  • Joe Sample
  • Bo Diddley
  • Paquito D’Rivera
  • David Liebman
  • Steve Khan
  • Jon Secada
  • Sam Moore
  • Bob James
  • John Medeski
  • Woody Herman Big Band
  • Tommy Dorsey Big Band (with Warren Covington)

He is also knowledgeable in the field of recording and production, having produced two records for Active Ingredient: “Building Houses” and “Extra Strength.”

Mr. Rucker joined the faculty at the University of Miami in 1979.  His Drumset Improvisation class is one of the most unique programs in the country. He directs the Funk/Fusion Ensemble, which has won Downbeat Student Awards almost every year for 15 years. In previous years has created Tower of Power Ensemble and Weather Report Ensembles.

In 2015, Mr. Rucker published “Exercises in African-American Funk” with former student Jonathan Joseph.  The book has garnered much positive critical acclaim, and has spawned considerable interest in the application of African rhythms to the funk genre.