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Curtis Fuller

Curtis Fuller

American jazz trombonist
The basics
Occupations Composer Jazz musician
Countries United States of America
A.K.A. Curtis DuBois Fuller
Gender male
Birth December 15, 1934 (Detroit)
Education Wayne State University
Authority Discogs id ISNI id Library of congress id Musicbrainz id VIAF id
The details

Curtis DuBois Fuller (born December 15, 1934) is an American jazz trombonist, known as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and contributor to many classic jazz recordings.


Fuller's Jamaican-born parents died when he was young; he was raised in an orphanage. While in Detroit he was a schoolfriend of Paul Chambers and Donald Byrd, and also knew Tommy Flanagan, Thad Jones and Milt Jackson. After army service between 1953 and 1955 (when he played in a band with Chambers and brothers Cannonball and Nat Adderley), Fuller joined the quintet of Yusef Lateef, another Detroit musician. In 1957 the quintet moved to New York, and Fuller recorded his first sessions as a leader for Prestige Records.

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

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. In the early 1960s, Fuller recorded two albums as a leader for Impulse! Records, having also recorded for Savoy Records and Epic after his obligations to Blue Note had ended. 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. In 2007 Fuller was named an NEA Jazz Master.

Fuller continues to perform and record, and is a faculty member of the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) School of Jazz Studies (SJS).


As leader

  • 1957: New Trombone (Prestige)
  • 1957: Curtis Fuller with Red Garland (New Jazz)
  • 1957: Curtis Fuller and Hampton Hawes with French Horns (Status)
  • 1957: The Opener (Blue Note)
  • 1957: Bone & Bari (Blue Note)
  • 1957: Jazz ...It's Magic! (Regent)
  • 1957: Curtis Fuller Volume 3 (Blue Note)
  • 1958: Two Bones (Blue Note)
  • 1959: Sliding Easy (United Artists)
  • 1959: Blues-ette (Savoy)
  • 1959: The Curtis Fuller Jazztet (Savoy)
  • 1959: Imagination (Savoy)
  • 1960: Images of Curtis Fuller (Savoy)
  • 1960: Boss of the Soul-Stream Trombone (Warwick)
  • 1961: The Magnificent Trombone of Curtis Fuller (Epic)
  • 1961: South American Cookin' (Epic)
  • 1961: Soul Trombone (Impulse!)
  • 1962: Cabin in the Sky (Impulse!)
  • 1971: Crankin' (Mainstream)
  • 1972: Smokin' (Mainstream)
  • 1978: Four on the Outside (Timeless)
  • 1978: Fire and Filigree (Bee Hive)
  • 1979: Giant Bones '80 (Sonet)
  • 1980: Giant Bones at Nice (Ahead)
  • 1982: Curtis Fuller Meets Roma Jazz Trio (Timeless)
  • 1993: Blues-ette Part II (Savoy)
  • 2003: Up Jumped Spring (Delmark)
  • 2003: Keep It Simple (Savant)
  • 2010: I Will Tell Her
  • 2011: The Story of Cathy and Me (Challenge)
  • 2012: Down Home

As sideman

With Dave Bailey

  • One Foot in the Gutter (Epic, 1960)
  • Gettin' Into Somethin' (Epic, 1961)
  • Bash! (Jazzline, 1961)

With Count Basie

  • Basie Big Band (Pablo, 1975)
  • Fun Time (album) (Pablo, 1975)
  • I Told You So (Count Basie album) (Pablo, 1976)
  • Prime Time (Count Basie album) (Pablo, 1977)

With Art Blakey

  • Art Blakey!!!!! Jazz Messengers!!!!! (Impulse!, 1961)
  • Buhaina's Delight (Blue Note, 1961)
  • Mosaic (Blue Note, 1961)
  • Caravan (Riverside, 1962)
  • Three Blind Mice (Blue Note, 1962)
  • Ugetsu (Riverside, 1963)
  • Free For All (Blue Note, 1964)
  • Kyoto (Riverside, 1964)
  • Indestructible (Blue Note, 1964)
  • Golden Boy (Colpix, 1964)
  • 'S Make It (Limelight, 1964)
  • In My Prime Vol. 1 (Timeless, 1977)
  • In My Prime Vol. 2 (Timeless, 1977)
  • Live Messengers (Blue Note, 1978)
  • Pisces (album) (Blue Note, 1979)

With Bob Brookmeyer

  • Jazz Is a Kick (Mercury, 1960)

With Paul Chambers

  • 1st Bassman

With John Coltrane

  • Blue Train

With Sonny Clark

  • Dial "S" for Sonny
  • Sonny's Crib

With Lou Donaldson

  • Lou Takes Off

With Kenny Dorham

  • This Is the Moment!

With Gil Evans

  • Great Jazz Standards

With Art Farmer

  • Brass Shout (United Artists, 1959)

With Dizzy Gillespie

  • The Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Big Band (MPS, 1968)

With Benny Golson

  • The Other Side of Benny Golson (Riverside, 1958)
  • Gone with Golson (New Jazz, 1959)
  • Groovin' with Golson (New Jazz, 1959)
  • Gettin' with It (New Jazz, 1959)
  • Meet the Jazztet (Argo, 1960) – with Art Farmer
  • Take a Number from 1 to 10 (Argo, 1961)
  • Pop + Jazz = Swing (Audio Fidelity, 1961)
  • Voices All (Eastworld, 1982) – with Art Farmer
  • Moment to Moment (Soul Note, 1983) – with Art Farmer
  • Nostalgia (Baystate, 1983) – with Art Farmer
  • Back to the City (Contemporary, 1986) – with Art Farmer
  • Real Time (Contemporary, 1986 [1988]) – with Art Farmer

With Slide Hampton

  • World of Trombones (West 54, 1979)

With Hampton Hawes

  • Baritones and French Horns

With Albert Heath

  • Kwanza (The First) (Muse, 1973)

With Jimmy Heath

  • The Thumper (Riverside, 1959)
  • Love and Understanding (Muse, 1973)
  • The Time and the Place (Landmark, 1974 [1994])

With Joe Henderson

  • In Pursuit of Blackness
  • Mode for Joe

With Freddie Hubbard

  • The Body & the Soul (Impulse!)

With John Jenkins

  • Jazz Eyes (Regent, 1957) with Donald Byrd

With Philly Joe Jones

  • Drums Around the World (Riverside, 1959)
  • Together! (Atlantic, 1961) with Elvin Jones

With Quincy Jones

  • I Dig Dancers (Mercury, 1960)
  • Newport '61

With Clifford Jordan

  • Cliff Jordan

With Yusef Lateef

  • Jazz for the Thinker (Savoy, 1957)
  • Stable Mates (Savoy, 1957)
  • Jazz Mood (Savoy, 1957)
  • Before Dawn: The Music of Yusef Lateef (Verve, 1957)

With Abbey Lincoln

  • It's Magic (Riverside, 1958)

With Ahmed Abdul-Malik

  • East Meets West (RCA Victor, 1959)

With Jackie McLean

  • A Long Drink of the Blues
  • Makin' the Changes

With Blue Mitchell

  • Big 6
  • Blue Soul

With Hank Mobley

  • A Caddy for Daddy

With Lee Morgan

  • City Lights
  • Tom Cat

With Houston Person

  • Blue Odyssey (Prestige, 1968)

With Bud Powell

  • Bud! The Amazing Bud Powell (Vol. 3)

With Paul Quinichette

  • On the Sunny Side (Prestige, 1957)

With Woody Shaw

  • Woody III (Columbia, 1979)
  • For Sure! (Columbia, 1979)

With Wayne Shorter

  • Schizophrenia

With Jimmy Smith

  • House Party
  • The Sermon!

With Charles Tolliver

  • Music Inc. (Strata-East, 1971)

With Stanley Turrentine

  • In Memory of
  • Mr. Natural
  • The Sugar Man

With Cedar Walton

  • Eastern Rebellion 3 (Timeless, 1980)
  • Eastern Rebellion 4 (Timeless, 1983)
  • Cedar's Blues (Red, 1985)

With Phil Woods

  • Rights of Swing (Candid, 1961)

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