Curtis Fuller (tb), Thad Jones, Lee Morgan (tp), Benny Golson, Yusef Lateef (ts), Sonny Redd (as), Tommy Flanagan, McCoy Tyner, Wynton Kelly (p), Jimmy Garrison, Paul Chambers (b), Dave Bailey, Charlie Persip (d)
Although Curtis Fuller remains somewhat underrated, he is nevertheless considered among the best jazz trombonists ever - and also worked with many top jazz stars as John Coltrane, Donald Byrd, Milt Jackson, Cannonball and Nat Adderley.
This 3-CD box set contains his complete recordings as leader for the Savoy label, comprising five complete Quintet / Sextet albums, including the widely celebrated "Blues-ette," which received 4 stars from Down Beat magazine. All the known alternate takes has been also added.
01. Two Ton
My One and Only Love
They Didnt Believe Me
03. Soul Station
04. Club Car
05. Upper Berth
06. Five Spot After Dark
09. Minor Vamp
10. Love, Your Spell Is Everywhere
11. Twelve Inch
Total time: 77:02 min.
01. Its All Right With Me
02. Wheatleith Hall
03. Ill Walk Alone
05. Judys Dilemma
07. Bang Bang
09. Blues De Funk
10. Lido Road
Total time: 78:40 min.
02. Darryls Minor
03. Be Back Ta-Reckla
05. New Date
06. Five Spot After Dark [Alternate Take]
07. Blues-Ette [Alternate Take]
08. Love, Your Spell Is Everywhere [Alternate Take]
09. Accident [Alternate Take]
10. Darryls Minor [Alternate Take]
11. New Date [Alternate Take]
Total time: 68:40 min.
CD 1, tracks #1-5 from The Curtis Fuller-Tommy Flanagan Quintet "Jazz... It's Magic" (Regent MG 6055; Savoy MG 12209). Personnel: Curtis Fuller (tb), Sonny Redd (as), Tommy Flanagan (p), George Tucker (b) and Louis Hayes (d). Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, New Jersey, on September 5, 1957.
CD 1, tracks #6-11, CD 3, tracks #6-8 [alternates takes] from The Curtis Fuller Quintet "Blues-ette" (Savoy MG 12141). Personnel: Curtis Fuller (tb), Benny Golson (ts), Tommy Flanagan (p), Jimmy Garrison (b) and Al Harewood (d). Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, in Hackensack, New Jersey, on May 21, 1959.
CD 2, tracks #1-5 from The Curtis Fuller Jazztet With Benny Golson "Arabia" (Savoy MG 12143). Personnel: Lee Morgan (tp,) Curtis Fuller (tb), Benny Golson (ts), Wynton Kelly (p), Paul Chambers (b) and Charlie Persip (d). Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on August 25, 1959.
CD 2, tracks #6-10 from The Curtis Fuller Sextette "Imagination" (Savoy MG 12144). Personnel: Thad Jones (tp), Curtis Fuller (tb), Benny Golson (ts), McCoy Tyner (p), Jimmy Garrison (b) and Dave Bailey (d). Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on December 17, 1959.
CD 3, tracks #1-5 & 9-11 [alternate takes] from Curtis Fuller "Images of Curtis Fuller" (Savoy MG 12164). Personnel: Lee Morgan (tp), Wilbur Harden (replaces Morgan only in #5 & 11), Curtis Fuller (tb), Yusef Lateef (ts), McCoy Tyner (p), Milt Hinton (b) and Bobby Donaldson (d). Recorded in New York City, on June 6 & 7, 1960.
-Jazz... It's Magic
"Trombonist Curtis Fuller's recordings for Savoy in the 1950s, like those of labelmates Hank Mobley, Milt Jackson, Wilbur Harden, Donald Byrd, and others, were prototypes in the development of hard bop. The next stage would come with the subsequent work of many of the same artists for Blue Note, where improved recording technique, greater attention to writing and arranging, and a more generous policy with respect to preparation and rehearsal time helped bring in the classic hard bop era of the late '50s and early '60s. On Fuller's Jazz...It's Magic, the hard bop prototype is still under refinement, but it's easy to enjoy the music in its essential elements: elegant, bluesy melodies; earthy, yet sophisticated, solo work; and fresh treatments of standards. For this 1957 date, Fuller is joined by the appealingly urbane Tommy Flanagan, the versatile Louis Hayes, and George Tucker, whose loping but solid style resembles Paul Chambers'. Joining the trombonist in the frontline is the relatively obscure alto player Sonny Redd, who has a clean, expressive, melodic approach to the Charlie Parker legacy that provides many of the best moments. Three Fuller originals, Frank Foster's "Upper Berth," and a medley of ballad standards make up the program. If there are any misgivings about the album, it would be the long medley (over 13 minutes), which drags on the overall pace. That said, Red's and Flanagan's solo spots on the medley are superb, but the listener's attention can be expected to wander by the time the trombonist finally steps up for his three choruses."
Jim Todd -All Music Guide
"Sessions in any genre of music are all too often described as "sublime," but seldom has that description been better deserved than with this relaxed hard bop classic. One looks to other catchalls such as "effortless" and "loose," but even those slight this amazing date by implying a lack of intensity - and intensity comes in all forms. For all intents and purposes, this is the first recorded meeting of what would become the famous Benny Golson/Art Farmer Jazztet (albeit without Farmer), a group most commonly associated with its 1960 Chess session, Meet the Jazztet. Curtis Fuller's next date, The Curtis Fuller Jazztet, and his appearance on the Chess date, only compound this point. Like perhaps Jimmy Smith's flagship, The Sermon, Blues-ette's brilliance manifests itself not only within the individual solos but also in the way the group functions as a collective. One gets the impression that these tunes could have continued for hours in the studio without the slightest lack of interest on anyone's part. This might be because many of the themes presented here are so basic and seemingly obvious that they don't seem like anything to write home about upon first listen. A day or so later, when you're walking down the street to the tempo of the title track, you may begin to think otherwise. These are some exceptionally catchy heads and many have since become standards. As far as individual performances are concerned, you're not likely to find better solos by any of the members of this quintet than you will here, though they all have extensive and very high-quality catalogs themselves. Picking highlights is a moot point. Blues-ette is best experienced as an entire LP. It would have surely made a greater impact upon its initial release had it been on a more high-profile label, such as Columbia or Blue Note, but there's no sense worrying about that now. Any serious jazz collection is incomplete without this record. Period."
Brandon Burke -All Music Guide
"Like the other Savoy recordings of Curtis Fuller, The Curtis Fuller Jazztet is a relaxed hard bop set featuring many of the young stars of the day. The more famous Blues-ette, from earlier in 1959, featured Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Garrison, and Al Harewood. This time, however, the Fuller/Golson combination included Lee Morgan, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and the percussive talents of drummer Charlie Persip. Listeners already acquainted with Blues-ette (or other comparable dates) should find this session to be familiar territory. Similarly, it is also very much in the same vein as another classic, Meet the Jazztet, upon which Fuller and Golson were again paired. Even though the compositions may not be as strong as those on Blues-ette (and how could they be?), there are a number of highly engaging solos by all and perhaps a bit more diversity with regard to both tempo and arrangement. Where Blues-ette's sublime grace stems from the collective understanding displayed by the group, the greatness of The Curtis Fuller Jazztet is to be found in the individual talents of the soloists. Of particular note are Golson's flights on up-tempo numbers such as the album's opener, "It's Alright With Me," and absolutely every soloist's take on the ballad "I'll Walk Alone." Let this highly recommended set also be a testament to the sparkling, Roy Haynes-like "snap-crackle" style of the underappreciated Charlie Persip."
Brandon Burke -All Music Guide
"Prior to the official formation of the Jazztet with trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonist Curtis Fuller and tenorman Benny Golson made several albums together, usually with other trumpeters. This somewhat rare date has trumpeter Thad Jones, bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Dave Bailey, and, most significantly, pianist McCoy Tyner in his recording debut completing the sextet. Fuller arranged all five of the songs, four of which were his originals. Although the material (other than the lone standard "Imagination") is unfamiliar, the chord changes inspire the players to create some fine solos. Easily recommended to hard bop fans lucky enough to find this album."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
-Images of Curtis Fuller
"There has always been some confusion about the dates and personnel for the Savoy album 'Images by Curtis Fuller.' Among other things, some discographers claim Lee Morgan is on all tracks, but last time I listened I was pretty sure the trumpet player on some of the tracks is not Lee. Also, there are rumors that Yusef Lateef is not on the tracks with Lee despite what most discographies show. It's Wilbur Harden on two tracks. In 1960 he had to stop playing because of a weak health and he didn't record after that time. His last recordings were two tunes, Accident and A New Date with the Curtis Fuller septet, released on the album Images Of Curtis Fuller. Most sources don't inform about Wilbur Harden's death, but he passed away in June 1969 complete forgotten."
Hans Koert -Keep Swinging Blog