Curtis Fuller

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Curtis Fuller
Curtis Fuller.jpg
Background information
Birth nameCurtis DuBois Fuller
Born (1934-12-15) December 15, 1934 (age 86)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
Years active1953–present
LabelsBlue Note, Prestige, Savory, Impulse!, Epic, Atlantic

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.[1]


Fuller's Jamaican-born parents died when he was young; he was raised in an orphanage. While in Detroit he was a school friend of Paul Chambers and Donald Byrd, and also knew Tommy Flanagan, Thad Jones and Milt Jackson. After army service between 1953 and 1955 (playing 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 roommate 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 1999, Curtis Fuller was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music.[2] 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).[3]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Curtis Fuller among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[4]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Count Basie

With Dave Bailey

With Art Blakey

With John Coltrane

  • Blue Train (Blue Note, 1957)
  • Tanganyika Strut (Savoy, 1958)
  • Dial Africa (Savoy, 1977)
  • Gold Coast (Savoy, 1978)

With Kenny Dorham

  • This Is the Moment (Riverside, 1958)
  • Bash! (Jazz Line, 1961)
  • Hot Stuff from Brazil (West Wind, 1988)

With Art Farmer

  • Brass Shout (United Artists, 1959)
  • Meet the Jazztet (Argo, 1960)
  • Back to the City (Contemporary, 1986)
  • Real Time (Contemporary, 1988)

With Joe Farnsworth

  • It's Prime Time (Eighty-Eight's, 2003)
  • Drumspeak (Commodore, 2006)
  • Make Someone Happy (Hadley Street, 2014)

With Benny Golson

With Lionel Hampton

  • Hamp in Haarlem (Timeless, 1979)
  • Live in Europe (Elite Special, 1980)
  • Outrageous (Glad-Hamp, 1982)
  • Ambassador at Large (Glad-Hamp, 1984)

With Jimmy Heath

With Quincy Jones

With Yusef Lateef

With Hank Mobley

  • Monday Night at Birdland (Roulette, 1959)
  • Another Monday Night at Birdland (Roulette, 1959)
  • A Caddy for Daddy (Blue Note, 1966)

With Woody Shaw

With Jimmy Smith

  • House Party (Blue Note, 1958)
  • Confirmation (Blue Note, 1979)
  • Special Guests (Blue Note, 1984)
  • The Sermon! (Blue Note, 1987)

With others


  1. ^ "Curtis Fuller Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  2. ^ "Curtis Fuller". Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  3. ^ NYSSSA SJS Artistic Staff Archived 2010-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.