Ted Curson (tp), Bill Barron (ts), Kenny Barron (p), Ronnie Boykins (b), Dick Berk (d)
Reference: FSRCD 323
Bar code: 8427328603232
The co-leaders of the Bill Barron-Ted Curson group are both products of the same Philadelphia environment that has produced such great modern jazzmen as John Coltrane, Bobby Timmons, and Charlie Ventura.
Bill Barron grew up in a musical family. Inspired to learn music by his mother who had studied the piano, young Bill turned first to piano lessons, second-at the age of thirteen-to lessons on the saxophone.
Bill enrolled in the music course at Mastbaum Vocational High in Philly, where his classmates included Johnny Coles, Red Rodney, and Howard Reynolds. School couldn't hold him, however, when he was given an opportunity to join the Carolina Cotton Pickers band. Bill traveled with this band until he was drafted into the army.
In the army, the growing saxophonist grew by leaps and bounds with the help of Ernie Henry, the late alto saxophonist, who helped Bill to get a seat in the army band. A later arrival in the same organization was Randy Weston. Speaking of the pianist, Bill says gratefully, "Randy really brought a new sound into our band, and it helped me hear something I hadn't heard before."
After his discharge from the army, Barron was still hearing and playing this new sound. He returned to Philadelphia where he soon graduated from the Ornstein School of Music. In and around Philly, Bill played with his own group and under the direction of Jimmy Heath, Johnny Coles, Mel Melvin, and Red Garland. Finally, he made the big move to New York City. Here Bill has appeared with Cecil Taylor, Ted Curson, Mingus, Philly Joe Jones, his own band, and, most recently, with the Barron-Curson group.
Ted Curson has arrived at this same point by a remarkably similar route. He is also a Philadelphian. His sister played the violin - not professionally but enough to interest young Ted in music. At the age of ten he began trumpet lessons, sidestepping his father's attempts to start him on the saxophone.
Like Bill, Ted took the music course at Mastbaum High. After graduation he traveled extensively in the United States and Canada with carnivals, jazz bands, and stage shows. In the Philadelphia area, he worked with Charlie Ventura. After he moved onto the New York scene, he played with Duke Jordan, Red Garland, Cecil Taylor, and Charlie Mingus. Then Ted graduated again-this time to leading his own group!
The Curson Quartet, sometimes a Quintet, went the rounds of the New York clubs-Birdland, the Five Spot, the Jazz Gallery (now defunct), Minton's, the Purple Manor, the Prelude, and Brooklyn's Coronet Bar. Then the band took the road to such- faraway places as Newport, New Haven, Rochester, and Montreal [...]
—Taken from the inside liner notes