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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Curtis Fuller: Down Home

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Legendary trombonist Curtis Fuller was 22 years old when he played on John Coltrane's landmark Blue Train (Blue Note, 1957), and the saxophonist remained best friends with Fuller during the 1950s and '60s. In 2005, the trombonist met saxophonist Keith Oxman, and has since developed a friendship leading to Fuller's favorable comparison of his new friend to Coltrane. For the past seven years, Fuller has been performing and recording with a sextet of players he now calls his “band of choice" which, he has assembled, once again, for Down Home.At the ripe youthful age of 77, Fuller shows ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Curtis Fuller: Down Home

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The trombone can be smoothly seductive, raucous, rasping or cheekily fruity by turn. Curtis Fuller is a master of the instrument, a veteran of six decades of top flight jazz who is still full of creativity as a player and writer. Featuring his regular sextet, Down Home is an absolutely delightful recording--a sophisticated collection of tunes performed with a real sense of joy.Fuller's place in jazz history was assured with his appearance on saxophonist John Coltrane's Blue Train (Blue Note, 1957), at the age of 22. Fuller's tone may have softened in the intervening decades and, in later ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Curtis Fuller: Down Home

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The jazz world of the fifties and sixties was undeniably a golden age, and legendary trombonist Curtis Fuller was one of the era's key voices. Throughout his sixty-year career, Fuller has worked with some of jazz's foundational players: he appears on saxophonist John Coltrane's Blue Train (Blue Note, 1957), he was part of drummer Art Blakey's smoking hot, early sixties Jazz Messengers, plus he worked with trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, saxophonists Hank Mobley and Benny Golson, bassists Paul Chambers and Jimmy Garrison, and pianists Bud Powell and Red Garland. In short, he was there. But unlike so many ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Curtis Fuller: The Story Of Cathy & Me

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Legendary trombonist Curtis Fuller pays heartwarming tribute to his wife, Catherine Rose Driscoll Fuller, on The Story of Cathy & Me, a musical tale of how they met, how they lived and how he now lives without her (she passed away in January, 2010). The album's many soft and intense pieces reflect Fuller's deeply personal memories, and range of emotions from excitement to sadness.With titles like “My Lady's Tears," “Too Late Now," and “Life Was Good, What Went Wrong," and a somber theme to boot, it might seem that this is an entirely down-tempo and dreary affair. Not ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Curtis Fuller/Gilbert Castellanos Quintet Live at the Saville Theater

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Curtis Fuller Quintet with Gilbert Castellanos Saville Theater, San Diego City College San Diego, CA September 21, 2010 There was a palpable sense of energy in the air for Tuesday night's concert which sold out well in advance. The chance to see a former band-mate of John Coltrane, (and a legend in his own right), doesn't come along very often--especially in San Diego. At age 75, trombonist Curtis Fuller doesn't seem to be slowing down much. He's still on the road constantly, he's on the faculty of several prestigious university jazz programs, and still ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Curtis Fuller: I Will Tell Her

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Legendary trombonist Curtis Fuller and saxophonist Keith Oxman have performed a regular gig at the Dazzle nightclub in Denver leading to this first recording for Fuller on the Capri label. I Will Tell Her is a special album in several ways, dedicated to Fuller's late wife Cathy, the album is also the 100th of the Capri label and their first double CD. The two disc set comprises a studio recording session and a live date at the Denver nightclub. Fuller and saxophonist Oxman met for the first time in 2005 for their gig at Dazzle's and formed an immediate friendship ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Curtis Fuller: I Will Tell Her

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The title song and two-disc set are dedicated to a true love, but the music is clearly for the audience. I Will Tell Her, by trombonist Curtis Fuller, achieves plenty. The title song was written for Fuller's wife of 30 years, Cathy, who died before getting a chance to hear the music. The artist explains that she was a source of inspiration. That love comes through clearly in the 14 tracks--eight recorded in studio and six during a performance at Dazzle, a jazz club in Denver. “Minor's Holiday," one of four songs that appear in both ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Curtis Fuller: The Opener

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What a rare privilege it is to review a new entry in Blue Note's esteemed RVG reissues series knowing that the featured artist can still be caught at venues around New York City. Such is the case with trombone virtuoso Curtis Fuller, whose 1957 Blue Note debut The Opener has been remastered courtesy of the great Rudy Van Gelder. Although he recorded two sessions for Prestige that predated it, Fuller's Blue Note date hit the shelves first. Therefore its title fits perfectly, making it the world's first, true introduction to Fuller as a leader.

Like so many of ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Curtis Fuller: Motor City Messenger

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The most recorded jazz trombonist of his lifetime, Curtis Fuller's illustrious career spans six decades and includes tenures with many of the greatest names in this music. Born Dec. 15th, 1934 in Detroit, Fuller was orphaned at an early age, but found family in the close-knit jazz community of the musically fertile Motor City. He first picked up the trombone in the school band at Cass Tech High School, where his fellow students included Donald Byrd and Paul Chambers and the list of graduates reads like a Who's Who of jazz. Fuller downplays his early musical abilities evidenced ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Curtis Fuller: The Opener

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Detroit-born trombonist Curtis Fuller stepped into the hard bop big league during the summer of 1957 with a flurry of high profile sideman dates and two albums as leader, New Trombone (Prestige, 1957) and The Opener, made within a few weeks of each other. The Opener, a lithe and soulful but largely forgotten disc, has been rereleased as part of Blue Note's Rudy Van Gelder Remaster series.

In 1957, the big league meant New York, where Fuller had arrived in April as a member of reed player Yusef Lateef's quintet. When Lateef and his band returned to Detroit, ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Curtis Fuller: Up Jumped Spring; Keep It Simple

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The timeless Curtis Fuller has been a brand name trombone player for about 50 years now and he's never sounded better than he does on his two new releases, Up Jumped Spring and Keep It Simple, which will enhance his standing as one of the bright and enduring stars in the jazz firmament. These discs prove that not only does he still have strong chops but he can bring a fresh perspective to classics and originals. This was evident during a recent gig at Sweet Rhythm, where he led a dynamic sextet that included three members of the Louis Hayes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Curtis Fuller/Hampton Hawes: Curtis Fuller and Hampton Hawes with French Horns

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One would be hard pressed to find an instrument less suited to jazz than the French horn. Firmly rooted in classical music and played sitting down, the French horn seems almost to resist being pulled from the orchestra pit. Of course, this didn't stop people from using it. The wide experimentation of the forties and fifties brought several new instruments to the jazz spectrum; as a result, the French horn gained a few advocates along the way. Mostly, though, this was in larger group settings; very few souls were daring enough to suggest that it could be used in a ...



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