Curtis Fuller Biography

15 December 1934, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Fuller began studying trombone in his teens, eventually playing in a band during his military service in the early 50s. As the leader of the band was Cannonball Adderley, it was not surprising that, following his discharge, Fuller quickly turned to jazz. At first he worked in his home town, playing with Kenny Burrell, Yusef Lateef and others, but then moved to New York, where he worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Hampton Hawes, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, led his own small bands and was a founder member of the Jazztet with Art Farmer and Benny Golson. In the early 60s he was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, touring extensively with this band and also with Gillespie. In the 70s Fuller gradually incorporated jazz rock concepts into his repertoire and worked with musicians such as Stanley Clarke. In the mid-to late 70s he was with Count Basie, Kai Winding, Lionel Hampton, Cedar Walton, Red Garland and Sal Nistico and also continued to lead his own groups. In the 80s his musical associates included Golson again and he also played in a re-formed Jazztet and in the Timeless All Stars band. In 1993 he reunited with the four surviving members of his 1959 quintet (Golson, pianist Tommy Flanagan and drummer Al Harewood, with bass player Ray Drummond standing in for the deceased Jimmy Garrison), to record the excellent BLUES-ette Part II. A major post-bop stylist on trombone, Fuller’s technical facility on the instrument allows him great freedom to develop his inventive lines.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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