Curly Russell

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(From left: Charlie Ventura , Curley Russell, Bill Harris , Ralph Burns, and Dave Tough , Three Deuces , New York, circa April 1946.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb .

Dillon "Curly" (also "Curley") Russell (born March 19, 1920 in New York City , New York; † July 3, 1986 ibid) was an American bebop jazz bassist .

Bassist Curly Russell will be remembered for his participation in the early Savoy sessions of Charlie Parker (1945/47) and the prestige sessions of Thelonious Monk .


Curly Russell initially played trombone and bass, but soon concentrated on bass alone. He became a professional musician at the age of 18 and had engagements with Don Redman in 1941 and Benny Carter in California in 1943. Russell came to New York City in 1944 and soon became one of the most sought-after bass players on the bebop scene. He played with all the prominent bop musicians until the mid-1950s, such as Charlie Parker , Miles Davis , Stan Getz , Serge Chaloff , Tadd Dameron , Dizzy Gillespie , Dexter Gordon , Johnny Griffin , Milt Jackson , Bud Powell , Zoot Sims , Sonny Stitt , Fats Navarro , JJ Johnson, and Art Blakey . With Parker he took part in his "Koko" session in 1945; with Thelonious Monk he played his recordings for Prestige Records (1952/54). In the mid to late 1950s, Russell was no longer as noticeable; During this time he played mainly in rhythm and blues bands.

Lester Young : " East of the Sun (and West of the Moon) ", 78 of the Aladdin session with Gene DiNovi , Chuck Wayne , Curly Russell and Tiny Kahn on December 29, 1947

Discographic notes

as a sideman

  • Charlie Parker: The Charlie Parker Story ( Savoy Records , 1945)
  • Charlie Parker: Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol. 1 (Savoy, 1947); Memorial Vol. 2 (Savoy 1947-48)
  • Charlie Parker: Bird and Diz , (Verve, 1950)
  • Fats Navarro: The Fabulous Fats Navarro ( Blue Note Records , 1947-49)
  • Miles Davis: The Real Birth Of The Cool (Bandstand, 1948)
  • Stan Getz: Early Stan (OJC, 1949–53)
  • George Wallington : Trio (Savoy, 1949-51); Trios (OJC, 1952-53)
  • Milt Jackson: Roll 'em Bags (Savoy, 1949-56)
  • Al Cohn: Cohn's Tones (OJC, 1950–53)
  • Zoot Sims: Quartets (OJC, 1950)
  • Bud Powell: The Amazing Bud Powell (Blue Note, 1951–53)
  • Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Monk Trio / Blue Monk ( Prestige Records , 1952-54); MONK (OJC, 1953–54)
  • Art Blakey Quintet: A Night at Birdland (Blue Note, 1954)
  • Jay Jay Johnson: The Birdlanders (Fresh Sound, 1954)
  • Johnny Griffin: Introducing Johnny Griffin (Blue Note, 1957)

Lexical entry

Web links


  1. or March 19, 1917 in Trinidad, both information in Carlo Bohländer Reclam's Jazzführer 1989, the latter with question marks. 1920 also in Black Perspective in Music Vol. 14, 1986, p. 327