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Musician on the Rise

Centreville man gets national recording contract.

Centreville's Jim Tucker may well be heading for the big time in the music industry. He released a CD in June and just signed a national recording contract.

Tucker, 41, of the Bent Tree Apartments, describes his sound as surrealist music — "Using real instruments, but stretching the envelope with them and using technology to pull it all together. It's like strings with a funk band and weird voices."

His music is all instrumental, and Tucker is a one-man band called Ballet Mecanique. "I write everything out, myself, and put it down," he said. "It sounds like nine people — a four-piece, string quartet with a band and an extra drummer. As for musical instruments, he said, "I play pretty much everything."

HIS CD is called "Paradigm Suite" and is available at Tower Records in the Fairfax Towne Center and in Tysons Corner and also via his Web site, www.ballet-mecanique.com — where those interested may also hear a sample of his music.

What sets Tucker's sound apart is that he uses standard instruments and infuses them with a technological edge, and the end result is both cool and unique. It's also upbeat and a real hybrid between classical and funk.

"I put the quartet on the computer and play harmony lines off of that so you can't really tell where I start and they leave off — or what's the sample and what are the live instruments," he explained. "It's been compared to [the music of] Mannheim Steamroller but, more accurately, people say it's like listening to a Salvador Dali painting."

Tucker also teaches piano and composition at Music & Arts in Oakton and gives private lessons to students in Centreville, Great Falls, McLean, Tysons Corner, Oakton and Reston. And he's hoping to premiere his music in the spring at The Kennedy Center. "I'm working on the stage design now," he said.

BUT THE BIGGEST news in his career, right now, is that he was recently signed by W. Christian Treiber, president of the national recording company, Dreamscape Records, of New York City. And Tucker's definitely excited about it.

"It's a partnership — a distribution deal," he said. "[Treiber] is putting my CD on the national playlist for college radio and marketing. As an independent artist, it's next to impossible to get onto a radio station's playlist — but he can do it with the strength of his label."

Believing his CD has "mass, cross-over appeal," Tucker is optimistic that it'll strike just the right chord with music fans and they'll make it a rousing success. And he hopes the recording contract will lead to even bigger things in the future. For now, though, he's happy with the opportunity it gives him to reach a wider audience with his sound. Said Tucker: "It gives me a better conduit to get my music out."