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bresna

Curtis Fuller - RIP

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A marvelous trombonist, and by all accounts, a lovely human being. RIP.

 

 

gregmo

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THERE IS AN INSTRUMENT.  IT IS CALLED THE TROMBONE.  ONE PERSON EXCELLED ON IT ABOVE ALL OTHERS.  HE CAME TO EARTH ON DECEMBER 15, 1934 BEING BORN IN DETROIT, MI- AND PROCEEDED TO PUT THAT CITY ON THE MAP AS FAR AS JAZZ IS CONCERNED.   FOR POSITIVELY ALTERING THE COURSE OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION ON SUCH A PROFOUND LEVEL, HE WILL HAVE MANY WONDERFUL EXPERIENCES AWAITING HIM IN SPACE TODAY AND BE REUNITED WITH ALL HIS FELLOW GENIUS FRIENDS.  HE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED BY ALL WHO HEARD HIM

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he will be missed by them until they join him in space.

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Because Space is the Place!

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and in space they have a Fuller understanding.

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IIRC the only time I ever saw him was with Blakey nearly 60 years ago. 

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My favorite Fuller live performance was in Chicago at the North Park Hotel circa 1971 with the Joe Henderson band that appeared on half of "In Pursuit of Blackness" (with Pete Yellen, George Cables, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White). Fuller was on fire, roughing up his sound in a speechlike manner like a hardbop Dickie Wells.  Helluva rhythm section that was, not too long before we pretty much lost Clarke for good.

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To my recollection, I saw Curtis Fuller twice, once in his later years in a Fort Worth club, which was just okay, and more thrillingly, with the Timeless All Stars in New Orleans in 1987 (also the only time I got to see Harold Land in person).

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5 hours ago, kh1958 said:

(also the only time I got to see Harold Land in person).

I also saw Harold Land only one time in person. And this was in 1983 with Dizzy Gillespie. It was scheduled as "Dizzy Gillespie All Star Quintet" and had Dizzy, Harold Land, George Cables, Herbie Lewis and Louis Hayes. Really all stars. But the interesting thing was, that I wouldn´t have associated Dizzy so much with Harold Land before. I think, this might have organized somehow by Timeless or WIM WIGT also from Netherlands, who booked a lot of Timeless Artists for Europe touring. So they might have combined Dizzy with musicians from the Timeless "pool". 

And it was strange, since it was the only time I saw Dizzy with an acoustic bass player. Usually, from the 70´s on, Diz performed with a quartet with guitar, electric bass and drums....

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7 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

I also saw Harold Land only one time in person. And this was in 1983 with Dizzy Gillespie. It was scheduled as "Dizzy Gillespie All Star Quintet" and had Dizzy, Harold Land, George Cables, Herbie Lewis and Louis Hayes. Really all stars. But the interesting thing was, that I wouldn´t have associated Dizzy so much with Harold Land before. I think, this might have organized somehow by Timeless or WIM WIGT also from Netherlands, who booked a lot of Timeless Artists for Europe touring. So they might have combined Dizzy with musicians from the Timeless "pool". 

And it was strange, since it was the only time I saw Dizzy with an acoustic bass player. Usually, from the 70´s on, Diz performed with a quartet with guitar, electric bass and drums....

Sounds great.

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RIP. Read the chapter on Fuller in Mark Stryker's Jazz from Detroit and listened to the Mosaic and to Blue Train in recollection.

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RIP. Never saw him live but the recordings are to be cherished.

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Saw Curtis Fuller live a number of times in the early days when he was still living in Detroit.

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Posted (edited)

It’s  not often that obituary writers actually break news, but Matt Schudel has done so today in the Washington Post by reporting that Fuller, contrary to received wisdom, was born in 1932 rather than 1934. Fuller’s daughter confirmed the earlier year to Schudel after she looked at his passport records and other similar documentary sources.

In “Jazz from Detroit,” I have Curtis' birthday in 1934 per not only all the standard reference books and liner notes from his early recordings but also, curiously, his own confirmation when I double-checked it with him the last time I interviewed him at length in 2012. 

Birthdays can be particularly slippery "facts," and the reference books are wrong in an alarming number of cases. With someone like Curtis, whose early years are hazy because of his rough childhood, the ease with which incorrect information can enter the bloodstream of popular media and even scholarly books is the kind of thing that keeps historians and fact-obsessed journalists up at night. Curtis was never particularly consistent or concerned with the veracity of dates he might give in interviews, so sorting out the timeline is a challenge. I have no doubt that all the things he said happened to him or that he experienced are true, but as to WHEN they happened, well ...

That's when you have to do as much research as you can to corroborate, crosscheck the data, pray you find multiple documentary sources, weigh and synthesize the evidence, etc. You can be SO careful yet still make mistakes. It's maddening, but accuracy is everything. Curtis' birthday never seemed in doubt, yet here we are. When my book goes into another printing or appears in paperback, I'll be able to get it right. (Of course, due diligence will require I check the information myself with the daughter.) In any case, the jazz world owes Mr. Schudel a hearty “thank you” for setting the record straight.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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Not just need, but good news -  he got another two years out of the deal!

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Posted (edited)

Interesting. His Wiki and all online obits still list 1934 as well for obvious reasons. 

Edited by trane_fanatic

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4 hours ago, Brad said:

Very interesting to read. I didn´t know that Curtis Fuller had lung cancer. In most cases, I heard this is a terminal desease. He had been inactive for the last 5 years of his live I read. That means, that it may be that I saw him live just before he retired. Maybe, he didn´t have the speed of his early years, but still very much worth listenig. And above all, he was such a nice man. I was at that concert with my wife and had my "Bone and Bari" CD with me. Before the concert started, my wife said "look, the musicians are sitting down there, now go down and ask him to sign the record. He had a big, warm smile, shook my hand and was delighted when he saw the album, asked my name and wrote my name and "Peace from Curtis Fuller". Really a wonderful memory. 

I heard, that even when he made those great records in 1957 for BN, he still had a "day job". 

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16 hours ago, Brad said:

Yes, thanks for posting that. While I agree that Fuller's solo on "Blue Train" is fine, I think I'd rate Teagarden's second solo on the live version of St. James Infirmary (Town Hall Concert) as the best I ever heard. That said, I don't think I ever heard a record by Fuller I didn't enjoy, and I have most of them! (In fact, I'm listening to him right now with Blakey.)

 

 

 

gregmo

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