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Curtis Fuller: The Story Of Cathy & Me (2011)

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Curtis Fuller: The Story Of Cathy & Me How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

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 so, as the lively, swinging "I Asked & She Said Yes" is taken for a ride on dazzling solos from tenor saxophonist Akeem Marable and trumpeter Lester Walker, with a percussive foundation provided by Clarence Levy. "Sweetness"—another Fuller composition referring to his late wife—is another upbeat track where Walker is featured. Despite its title, there's nothing wrong with "Life Was Good, What Went Wrong," as it turns out to be the high-octane—even funky—boisterous tune of the set.

Fuller delivers warm phrasings on "Look What I Got," its gorgeous, relaxing melody departing from the album's main theme. The soft texture of the project begins to come through on "Little Dreams," followed by a light rendition of the pop classic "The First Time I Saw Your Face." With delicate accompaniment from Fuller and pianist Nick Rosen, Tia Michelle Rouse lays down tender vocals on "The Right To Love," which, along with the lovely "Too Late Now" and "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year," completes the mellow tribute to Fuller's soul mate.

Speaking to light background music, Fuller includes four interludes where he first introduces himself, subsequently talking about his children, reflecting on learning of his wife's illness, and finally affirming to the world that Cathy was the "love of his life." A touching tribute to his late wife, The Story of Cathy & Me is an inspirational love story from Fuller, expressed beautifully through music.

Track Listing: Interlude 1: My Name Is Curtis Fuller; Little Dreams; The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face; I Asked & She Said Yes; The Right To Love; My Lady's Tears; Interlude 2: My Children; Sweetness; Look What I Got; Interlude 3: Cancer, A Horrible Experience; Life Was Good, What Went Wrong; Love Was Everything When Love Was You And Me; Too Late Now; Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year; Interlude 4: My Wish For Cathy And My Friends.

Personnel: Curtis Fuller: trombone; Lester Walker: trumpet; Daniel Bauerkemper: tenor saxophone; Akeem Marable: tenor saxophone (1, 3, 4, 8, 9, 14); Henry Conerway III: drums; Clarence Levy: percussion (4, 8, 10); Nick Rosen: piano; Kenny Banks, Jr.: piano (1, 3, 5, 9, 14); Brandy Brewer: bass; Kevin Smith: bass (4, 5, 8); Tia Michelle Rouse: vocals (5, 11).

Record Label: Challenge Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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