Curtis Fuller

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]

Curtis Fuller
Background information
Birth nameCurtis DuBois Fuller
Born (1934-12-15) December 15, 1934
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
GenresJazz, bebop, hard bop, soul jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
Years active1953–present
LabelsBlue Note, Prestige, Savoy, Impulse!, Epic, Atlantic


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 (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 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 / co-leader

As sideman

With Ahmed Abdul-Malik

With Dave Bailey

With Count Basie

With Walter Bishop Jr.

With Art Blakey

With Bob Brookmeyer

With Paul Chambers

With John Coltrane

With Sonny Clark

With Buddy DeFranco

With Lou Donaldson

With Kenny Dorham

With Gil Evans

With Art Farmer

With Tommy Flanagan

  • Trio and Sextet (Onyx, 1973)

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Benny Golson

With Slide Hampton

With Wilbur Harden

With Hampton Hawes

With Albert Heath

With Jimmy Heath

With Joe Henderson

With Freddie Hubbard

With John Jenkins

With Philly Joe Jones

With Quincy Jones

With Clifford Jordan

With Yusef Lateef

With Abbey Lincoln

With Mike Longo

  • The Awakening (Mainstream, 1972)

With Machito

  • With Flute to Boot (Roulette, 1959)

With Gary McFarland

  • Today (Skye, 1970)

With Jackie McLean

With Blue Mitchell

With Hank Mobley

With Lee Morgan

With David "Fathead" Newman

With Houston Person

With Bud Powell

With Paul Quinichette

With Woody Shaw

With Wayne Shorter

With Jimmy Smith

With the Timeless All Stars

With Charles Tolliver

With Stanley Turrentine

With Cedar Walton

With Frank Wess

With Larry Willis

With Phil Woods

See also


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