Thursday, August 2, 2012

Curtis Fuller - Down Home

My Band of Choice (Quote: Curtis Fuller)
He made all of us feel that we are the most important musicians on the planet. (Quote: Keith Oxman) 
Hans Koert

Recently the third album  of Curtis Fuller with the Keith Oxman Quintet has been released on the Capri label: Down Home. Previous releases were entitled: Dues in Progress (2005) and I Will Tell Her ( 2010)
 Curtis Fuller ( thanks to Capri Records)

It is always great to listen to musicians who have played, years ago, with the great legendary jazz musicians from the past, like Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Miles Davis or Lester Young. It must be a treat for musicians to have such a legend in your band .... One of those men, a legend himself, is Curtis Fuller, the trombonist, who recorded in the late 1950s with all the great names of that era like Paul Chambers, Yusef Lateef, Paul Quinichette, Wilbur Harden and Sonny Clark, the latter with the legendary John Coltrane. John invited Curtis to play the trombone in one of the most famous Blue Note albums of the 1950s Blue Train.
 Curtis Fuller - Down Home (Capri 74116)

Curtis debuted in 1957 with his own band on the Prestige album New Trombone and became one of the founders of the great Art Pepper - Benny Golson Jazztet and he was also part of the Art Blakey Jazz Messengers during the first half of the 1960s.  I always have to play with the loudest drummers, he joked to Dutch drummer Eric Ineke  in 1991, like Art Blakey and Philly Joe Jones (source: The ultimate Sideman - Eric Ineke)(2012). The last decades he has been a sought after accompanist for years ..... Keith Oxman is one of those contemporary jazz musicians, that was fascinated by Curtis' sound and he couldn't imagine that he would ever play, side by side, with this great trombonist .... It never occurred to me that there would be a day that I not only would record with Curtis, but that we also would become close friends, he wrote in the liner notes of his latest album Down Home.
 They first met in the summer of 2005 during a series of concerts at Dazzle's in Denver. They first recorded in Wheat Ridge (Co), June 2005, their debut album, entitled Dues in Progress. I have cherished the hours that we have been able to spend together, in person and by phone, as a result of our musical association. (Quote: Keith Oxman) 
In May 2009 they joined again in the recording studio to make their 2nd album I Will Tell Her, a heart-felt tribute to his wife Caty, who unfortunately passed away a few weeks before the record was released. Two years later Keith Oxman and his men invited Curtis again and this meeting was recorded and recently released as Down Home. The sextet, my band of choice, as Curtis labels this group, features Curtis Fuller on trombone, Keith Oxman on tenor saxophone, Al Hood on trumpet and flugelhorn, Chip Stephens on piano, Ken Walker on bass and Todd Reid on drums.
The album features ten tracks, most Fuller originals, like the title track Down Home, which he composed and recorded late 1950s in a Gigi Gryce arrangement with his sextet, which could be labeled as a dreamed all-star group, featuring Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Tommy Flanagan, Paul Chambers and Elvin Jones. The two tracks Nu Groove and Sweetness were recorded in Copenhagen November 1979 in a quintet with his colleague on the bone Kai Winding. The other four tracks were composed by leader, saxophonist Keith Oxman ( Jonli Bercosta ), piano player Chip Stephens and trumpeter Al Hood   
 Don't ask me what track I prefer most - Ladies Night - Nu Groove or one of the others ..... All six men are excellent musicians and express their skills in all ten tracks  ..... The music on this albums suggests that it could have been recorded during the 1960s itself and it is great to learn that Curtis full tones still breathes the sound of the music played 50 years ago. Keith O'Brien of the Jazz Society of Oregon, suggested at its website, that jazzmen like Fuller prove, that jazz musicians don’t get older, they just find more great people to partner with ....  - I fully agree. Try to find yourself a copy of this great album: Curtis Fuller - Down Home (Capri 74116)
Hans Koert
Facebook group: Keep (it) Swinging

Curtis Fuller is one of those jazz men who has seen it all happened. This legend on the slide trombone can be heard on numerous albums from the 1950s and 1960s and played besides great musicans like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Benny Golson and Art Farmer, to list some. You can imagine that Keith Oxman was absolutely delighted with the fact that he could make in 2005 an album with this legend entitled Dues in Progress. Now their third album featuring Curtis Fuller in front of the band, has been released: Down Home.
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