Curtis DuBois Fuller (December 15, 1932 – May 8, 2021)[1] was an American jazz trombonist. He was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and contributed to many classic jazz recordings.[2]

Curtis Fuller
Background information
Birth nameCurtis DuBois Fuller
Born(1932-12-15)December 15, 1932
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedMay 8, 2021(2021-05-08) (aged 88)[1]
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
Years active1953–2021
LabelsBlue Note, Prestige, Savoy, Impulse!, Epic, Atlantic

Early life edit

Fuller was born in Detroit on December 15, 1932. His father had emigrated from Jamaica and worked in a Ford automobile factory, but he died from tuberculosis before his son was born. His mother, who had moved north from Atlanta, died when he was 9. He spent several years in an orphanage run by Jesuits.[1] He developed a passion for jazz after one of the nuns there brought him to see Illinois Jacquet and his band perform, with J. J. Johnson on trombone.[3]

Fuller attended a public school in his hometown, together with Paul Chambers, Donald Byrd, Tommy Flanagan, Thad Jones, and Milt Jackson.[4] There, he took up the trombone when he was sixteen,[5] after attempting the violin and with the saxophone (his next choice) being unavailable. He studied under Johnson and Elmer James.[4]

Career edit

Fuller joined the US Army in 1953 to fight in the Korean War. He served until 1955, and played in a band with Chambers and brothers Cannonball and Nat Adderley. Upon his return from military service, Fuller joined the quintet of Yusef Lateef, another Detroit musician. The quintet moved to New York in 1957, and Fuller recorded his first sessions as a leader with Prestige.[3][4]

Alfred Lion of Blue Note Records first heard Fuller playing with Miles Davis in the late 1950s, and the trombonist led four dates for Blue Note,[3] though one of these, an album with Slide Hampton, was not issued for many years.[6] Lion featured him as a sideman on record dates led by Sonny Clark (Dial "S" for Sonny, Sonny's Crib) and John Coltrane (Blue Train).[7] Other sideman appearances over the next decade included work on albums under the leadership of Bud Powell, Jimmy Smith, Wayne Shorter,[3] Lee Morgan and Joe Henderson (a former roommate at Wayne State University in 1956).[5][8]

Fuller was also the first trombonist to be a member of the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet, later becoming the sixth man in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1961, staying with Blakey until 1965.[7][3] In the early 1960s, Fuller recorded two albums as a leader for Impulse! Records, having also recorded for Savoy Records, United Artists, and Epic after his obligations to Blue Note had ended.[3][8] In the late 1960s, he was part of Dizzy Gillespie's band that also featured Foster Elliott. Fuller went on to tour with Count Basie and also reunited with Blakey and Golson.[3]

Later life edit

Fuller married Catherine Rose Driscoll in 1980. She died of lung cancer in 2010; Fuller recorded his album The Story of Cathy & Me (2011) as a tribute.[9]

Fuller was granted an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music in 1999.[10] Eight years later, he was honored as an NEA Jazz Master.[3] He continued to perform and record, and was a faculty member of the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) School of Jazz Studies (SJS).[11]

Fuller died on May 8, 2021, at the age of 88. He had eight children; nine grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. Throughout his life, Fuller was reported to have been born in 1934; he had added two years to his age at 17 in part to gain work.[1]

Discography edit

As leader edit

As sideman edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d Russonello, Giovanni (May 14, 2021). "Curtis Fuller, a Powerful Voice on Jazz Trombone, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  2. ^ "Curtis Fuller Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Curtis Fuller – Bio". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Curtis Fuller". National Jazz Archive. January 1, 1976. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "2013 Curtis Fuller to sit in with WCSU jazz combos". Western Connecticut State University. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  6. ^ "Two Bones: Curtis Fuller – Releases". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Martin (May 10, 2021). "Curtis Fuller, Leading Trombonist Of Jazz's Detroit Wave, Dies At 86". NPR. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Musto, Russ (December 1, 2008). "Curtis Fuller: Motor City Messenger". All About Jazz. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  9. ^ Whiteis, David (October 18, 2011). "Curtis Fuller: The Story of Cathy & Me". JazzTimes. Archived from the original on May 9, 2021. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  10. ^ "Curtis Fuller". Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  11. ^ "NYSSSA SJS Artistic Staff". Archived from the original on July 4, 2010.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee "Curtis Fuller – Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  13. ^ Chinen, Nate (December 4, 2009). "Giving a Great 1960s Jazz Album Its Groove Back". The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  14. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Thermo: Art Blakey – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  15. ^ "Art Blakey – Live at the Renaissance Club". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  16. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Gold Coast: John Coltrane – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  17. ^ "Joe Farnsworth – Drumspeak". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  18. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Take a Number from 1 to 10: Benny Golson – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  19. ^ Lord, Tom (1992). The Jazz Discography. Vol. 7. Lord Music Reference. ISBN 9781881993063.
  20. ^ "Jazz Record Requests". BBC Radio 3. September 8, 2007. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  21. ^ "Lionel Hampton – Live In Europe (aka Live In Switzerland)". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  22. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Fast Company: Jimmy Heath – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  23. ^ "Yusef Lateef – Jazz for the Thinker". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  24. ^ "Mike Longo 1972". Center for Jazz Studies. Columbia University. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  25. ^ "Herbie Mann – Afro Jazziac (aka With Flute To Boot! aka Super Mann Featuring Machito's Jazz Orchestra)". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved May 10, 2021. Originally released in 1959 as Machito And His Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble's album "With Flute To Boot"(Roulette – SR-52026,US)
  26. ^ "Kenny Dorham – Hot Stuff From Brazil". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved May 10, 2021. Originally released as V.A.- "Jazz Committee for Latin American Affairs"(Fred Miles FM 403)
  27. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Reunion Big Band: Dizzy Gillespie – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  28. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Today: Gary McFarland – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  29. ^ Nastos, Michael G. "Sweet Lotus Lips: Mickey Tucker – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  30. ^ "Mickey Tucker – Theme For A Woogie-Boogie". Jazz Music Archives. Retrieved May 10, 2021.

External links edit