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TROMBONE LEGEND CURTIS FULLER DIES AGE 88

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    Posted: 17 May 2021 at 10:26am
Peter Vacher pays tribute to the former John Coltrane sideman and master trombonistís life in music:
 

Should there be any doubt about the worth of trombonist Curtis Fuller, who died aged 88 in Detroit on 8 May, then listen to John Coltraneís Blue Train from 1957. Aside from the stalwart contributions by Coltrane himself and trumpeter Lee Morgan, itís the five sublime choruses by the 22-year-old Fuller that stand out. Describing this solo, Detroit writer Mark Stryker said, ďItís one for the agesĒ. Fullerís ripe, succulent tone and his supple command of the horn confirmed him as the hottest modern jazz trombone newcomer since J.J. Johnson.

Curtis Dubois Fuller was born in Detroit on 15 December 1934 and raised in an orphanage. Already assigned to the trombone as a teenager, he was bowled over by hearing Johnson with Illinois Jacquetís jumping band in 1947 and knew then that Johnsonís style was for him. Having cut his teeth with local groups, Fuller was drafted in 1953 and spent two years in an army band run by Cannonball Adderley, learning a lot. When Yusef Lateef took him to New York in early 1957 to record for Savoy, Fuller stayed on and embarked on a dazzling array of album dates for Blue Note, Prestige and Riverside. 

Seemingly locked in the studios, Fuller connected with all the key figures of the post-bop generation. He was a founder member the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet in 1959, toured with Art Blakeyís Messengers from 1961-1965 and then freelanced extensively, gradually moving from Johnsonís style to an approach of his own combining rapid articulation with harmonic enterprise. Suddenly short of work in the late 60s, he took a desk job before touring with Count Basie from 1974-1977, this taking in the Royal Command Performance in November 1975 and concerts with Frank Sinatra.

Other UK appearances were with the much-lauded Timeless All Stars in 1982, the rather louche Satchmo Legacy Band in 1987 and his smart-suited Sextet at Ronnieís in March 2005. Forever on the go, cancer slowed Fuller down, and he played less in recent years. One of Detroitís finest and an NEA Jazz Master, prolific on record, invariably animated and expressive, he made much great music. A life well-lived. RIP Curtis Fuller.


from www.jazzwise.com



Edited by snobb - 17 May 2021 at 10:26am
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