Curtis Fuller

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Curtis Fuller (2008)

Curtis DuBois Fuller (born December 15, 1934 in Detroit , Michigan , † May 8, 2021 was an American jazz musician ( trombone , composition ).

Live and act

Fuller's parents were Jamaicans . They died when he was young. As a result, he was raised in the orphanage . He got into music late, began playing the tenor horn in high school and switched to the trombone at the age of 16 . Fuller was a school friend of jazz bassist Paul Chambers and jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd . He was also in contact with such well-known musicians as Tommy Flanagan , Thad Jones and Milt Jackson .

In 1953 he left Detroit to serve in the Army for two years. There he played in a band with the brothers Cannonball and Nat Adderley . After military service, Fuller became a member of the quintet of Yusef Lateef , another well-known musician from Detroit. In 1957 he moved with this quintet to New York , where he made his first recordings as a band leader for Prestige Records .

Alfred Lion of Blue Note Records heard Fuller in the late 1950s with Miles Davis playing and hired him as a sideman for recordings of Sonny Clark and John Coltrane . Fuller's collaboration on Coltrane's Blue Train album is probably his best known record. Fuller realized four of his own albums for Blue Note, such as The Opener with Hank Mobley and Bone & Bari and two more with Art Farmer and Slide Hampton , which appeared a few years later.

For the next ten years, Fuller played as the sideman of many of the well-known jazz greats of the time. He can be heard on albums by Bud Powell ( Bud! The Amazing Bud Powell (Vol. 3) ), Jimmy Smith , Wayne Shorter , Lee Morgan and Joe Henderson . Fuller himself said he was proud to be the only trombonist to have made recordings with both Coltrane, Powell and Smith (all between August and September 1957). At the end of 1957, after only six months in New York, Fuller had recorded a total of six albums under his own name and appeared on 15 other recordings as a sideman, for example on the Gil Evans album Great Jazz Standards (1960).

Fuller was the first trombonist who is a member in Jazztet of Art Farmer and Benny Golson was. In 1961 he became a member of Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers , where he stayed until 1965. In the early 1960s he also recorded several albums under his own name for Impulse! Records after making recordings for Savoy Records and Epic in the meantime.

In the late 1960s, Fuller was a member of Dizzy Gillespie's band. He then experimented for a while with hard bop arrangements in a band with electronic instruments and led a group with guitarist Bill Washer and bassist Stanley Clarke . This phase ended with the 1973 album Crankin ' . Between 1975 and 1977 he toured with the Count Basie Orchestra . In 1979 and 1980 he led the quintet Giant Bones together with trombone colleague Kai Winding . He also played with Art Blakey, Cedar Walton and Benny Golson in the late 1970s and early 80s .

In the 1980s, Fuller toured Europe regularly with the Timeless All-Stars ; he performed again with Blakey and Golson in the reactivated Jazztet , with whom he also made several recordings ( Real Time , Contemporary, 1986). After a few health problems in the next decade, Fuller was active again, released other albums since 2005 and performed, for example at the JazzFest Berlin 2009.

In 2007 he received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship .

Selected discography

As a band leader

  • New Trombone (Prestige, 1957)
  • Curtis Fuller with Red Garland (Prestige, 1957)
  • The Opener (Blue Note, 1957)
  • Bone & Bari (Blue Note, 1957), et al. with Tate Houston
  • Curtis Fuller & Hampton Hawes with French Horns (OJC, 1957)
  • Sliding Easy (United Artists, 1959)
  • Blues-ette (Savoy, 1959)
  • The Curtis Fuller Jazztette (Savoy Records, 1959)
  • Imagination (Savoy Records, 1959)
  • Images of Curtis Fuller (Savoy Records, 1960)
  • Jazz ... it's magic! (Savoy Records, 1960)
  • Crankin ' (MRL, 1973)
  • Fire and Filigree (Bee Hive, 1978) with Sal Nistico , Walter Bishop junior , Sam Jones , Freddie Waits
  • Blues-ette, Part 2 (Savoy Records, 1993)
  • Keep It Simple (Savant, 2005)
  • I Will Tell Her (Capri, 2010)
  • The Story of Cathy & Me (Challenge 2011)
  • Down Home (Capri, 2012)

As a sideman (selection)

  • John Coltrane: Blue Train (Blue Note, 1957)
  • Sonny Clark : Sonny's Crib (Blue Note, 1957)
  • Lee Morgan : City Lights (Blue Note, 1957)
  • Lou Donaldson : Lou Takes Off (Blue Note, 1957)
  • Blue Mitchell : Big 6 (Riverside, 1958)
  • Blue Mitchell: Blue Soul (Blue Note, 1959)
  • Benny Golson: Groovin 'with Golson (OJC, 1959)
  • Art Farmer, Benny Golson: Meet The Jazztet (Chess, 1960)
  • Yusef Lateef: The Centaur and the Phoenix (Riverside, 1960)
  • Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Mosaic (Blue Note, 1961)
  • Philly Joe Jones & Elvin Jones : Together! (Atlantic, 1961)
  • Hank Mobley : A Caddy For Daddy (Blue Note, 1965)


Web links

Commons : Curtis Fuller  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Johnson: Curtis Fuller, Leading Trombonist Of Jazz's Detroit Wave, Dies At 86. National Public Radio , May 10, 2021, accessed May 11, 2021 .
  2. ^ Obituary in USA Today
  3. Transcription of Fuller's play in "Moment's Notice" in Abgehört: Curtis Fuller on "Moment's Notice" by John Coltrane . Jazz newspaper 5/2005
  4. a b Jazz icon Curtis Fuller on music: "I have no time to waste". In: the daily newspaper . December 15, 2009, accessed May 9, 2021 .
  5. ^ Smooth sounds: Jazz fills the Ellen Theater - Daily Chronicle. In: Bozeman Daily Chronicle. October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2009 .