Steve Rucker has had extensive performing and teaching experience over the last forty years. Originally from North Carolina, Mr. Rucker attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, and holds an Undergraduate Degree in Studio Music and Jazz and a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. He has twice been voted “Best Jazz Performer” and “Most Versatile Artist” in South Florida polls.
Since 1979, Mr. Rucker has been the Director of the Drumset Program at the University of Miami, where he has created many unique and creative programs. His Drumset Improvisation class is one of the most unique programs in the country. He directs the Funk/Fusion Ensemble, which has Downbeat Student Awards almost every year since 2001. In previous years has created Tower of Power Ensemble and Weather Report Ensembles.
His students include:
- Brendan Buckley Shakira, Damien Rice, Tegan and Sara
- Graham Hawthorne Paul Simon, David Byrne, Aretha Franklin, Harry Belafonte, and Joan Osborne, producer, composer
- Van Romaine Enrique Iglesias, Steve Morse Band, Kansas, on 100 Greatest Rock Drummers list
- Ed Toth Vertical Horizon, Doobie Brothers
- Robert Rodriguez Gloria Estefan, composer
- Jeff Quay Musical Director, performer with Blue Man Group
- Vince Verderame Blue Man Group
- Carlomagno Araya Ruben Blades, producer, engineer
- Marko Marcinko Dave Liebman, Maynard Ferguson
- Lee Levin Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Jon Secada
- Jonathan Joseph Pat Metheny, Joe Zawinul, Randy Brecker, Joss Stone, Jeff Beck
- Ettienne Fuentes Chayanne
- Mike Sturgis Aha, Asia
- Olbin Burgos Gloria Estefan, David Lee Roth, Jon Secada, Rare Silk
- Marty Beller They Might Be Giants, composer
- Ludwig Afonso Spiro Gyra, Eldar, Richard Bona
- Norman Arnold Film Composer, LA studio musician
- Mark Poiesz Tyler Farr
- Chris Hartz Passion Pit, Childish Gambino
- Austin McMahon Jerry Bergonzi
- Mike Sturgis Aha, Asia
- Andrew Atkinson Mike Stern, Oz Noy
- Omar Tavarez Pitbull
In the early 1980’s, Mr. Rucker was a member of the Ross-Levine band, a ground-breaking jazz-fusion group. In addition to numerous appearances with them, he recorded “That Summer Something” and “Humidity”. While a member of Randy Bernsen’s Ocean Sound Band in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, he recorded tracks on “Paradise Citizens” and “Calling Me Back Home”, and performed many concerts internationally, including a billing with Miles Davis. In 1990, he recorded “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” with Gloria Estefan. For many years, he performed nationwide with Ben Vereen, and appeared with Mr. Vereen with the Atlanta Symphony and the Dallas Symphony.
Mr. Rucker was a member of the Bee Gees band for over twelve years, and appeared with them on the Tonight Show, Oprah Winfrey, The Today Show, VH 1 Specials, David Letterman, Rosie O’Donnell, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and at a Command Performance for the Queen of England. In 1997, he appeared at a Bee Gees concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas which was shown on pay-per-view television, HBO, and was mastered as a live album.
The CD of this performance sold over 5 million copies. This led to a world tour of “One Night Only” concerts. The tour included playing to 56,000 people at London’s Wembley Stadium on September 5, 1998 and concluded in the newly-built Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australian in March 1999.
Mr. Rucker has also performed or recorded with Michael Jackson, Jaco Pastorius, Joe Sample, Johnny Cash, Ben Vereen, Paquito D’Rivera, David Liebman, Steve Khan, Jon Secada and the Woody Herman Big Band. He is also knowledgeable in the field of recording and production, having produced two records for Active Ingredient, “Building Houses” and “Extra Strength.”
His latest book, Exercises in African-American Funk, a collaboration with former student Jonathan Joseph, has created quite a buzz in the drum world.