Saturday, June 25, 2011

Curtis Fuller: The Story of Cathy & Me

CURTIS FULLER remembers his beloved wife CATHY
A look into the life of a master who suffers one of life's greatest losses.
(Quote: Benny Golson)
Hans Koert
Some would have us believe that death is as light as a feather when, in fact, as we all must heroically sometimes do .. even with a broken heart. But as he goes forward, those who love him symbolically go with him (Benny Golson)
When a painter has lost his beloved - he might make a picture to remember her - a poet could make a poem dedicated to her and a jazz musician? ......... he would play to remember him of her. Curtis Fuller, trombone player, jazz musicians in heart and soul, lost his beloved wife Cathy in January 2010. For her he recorded some great albums like I Will Tell Her (Capri records) and The Story of Cathy & Me ( a Challenge record) ( CH73309). I love to point you to the latter!

Curtis Fuller: The Story of Cathy & Me (Challenge CR73309) (cover photo of the Detroit River by Cosmin Nahaiciuc. Cover design: Marcel Van Den Broek)
The Curtis Fuller band features several musicians, like, Curtis Fuller on trombone, of course, leader of the group, Lester Walker (from Atlanta) on trumpet - Daniel Bauerkemper and Akeem Marable on tenor saxophones -
Henry Conerway III originally from Detroit on drums - Clarence Levy on percussion - Nick Rosen and Kenny Banks jr. at the piano and Brandy Brewer and Kevin Smith on bass. Tia Michelle Rouse sings on two tracks.

Part of the tracklist
Curtis Fuller was born as Curtis DuBois Fuller in Detroit December 1934 and raised in an orphanage because he lost his parents when he was still a kid.
During the 1950s he became a sought after jazz trombonist and performed and recorded in almost all important jazz groups of that time, like the bands of Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Clark and John Coltrane. His first recordings date from April 1956 with the Paul Chambers Quintet, featuring Paul Chambers, of course and John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones and Pepper Adams. His first own recordings date from a year later, May 1957, when he recorded for Prestige with his quintet the album New Trombone. He can be heard on one of the best known Coltrane albums, Blue Train, which was recorded in September 1957. Now a days he is still active - last week he performed at the Hague Jazz with the
Peter Beets Trio + Simon Rigter.

Curtis Fuller (source: )
He also played the trombone in bands like the
Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet and the Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. His colleague and friend for years, Benny Golson, remembers their first meeting:
I met this phenomenal man many years ago when I was a member of Dizzy Gillespie's band when we were playing an engagement in Boston. Dizzy either knew him or has just met him, but almost nobody in the band ever heard of him. Nevertheless, Dizzy brought him to the gig and invited him to sit in. Curtis happened to be a talent. ...when he stood and began playing, his playing, his timing, his rhythm, his big sound, his concept quickly invaded my ears and my understanding, and yes, my heart forever. Curtis met Cathy, who was born as Catherine Rose Driscoll, somewhere during the 1980s and Benny Golson, who wrote the liner notes, remembers her ..... She was a lovely, extremely intelligent, and ambitious girl, who had been seeking higher education in Spain. He married her and they became a happy family - they got several children and .... as Benny says .... It seemed that they would be together forever. But, unfortunately, Cathy got lung cancer and she passed away in January 2010, after a marriage of more then 30 years.

Part of the tracklist.
The Story of Cathy & Me has become a very personal homage by Curtis Fuller to his beloved wife. It has a dozen tracks on which Curtis and his men play tribute to her in emotional contributions, like I Asked & She Said Yes, Too Late Now (with a great trumpet by Lester Walker ) and My Lady's Tears, which has Daniel Bauerkemper on tenor saxophone
drawing you into his emotional vortex ........
The most fascinating pieces are those in which Curtis plays his bone ....... like in Little Dreams which opens the theme with an emotional slide trombone solo played by a fragile old man being in distress, but later in that same song his sound is powerful and self-assured. What a great record!
Curtis remembers his wife and their marriage in four interludes. In the first ones he remembers how they met; in the second interlude he tells about their children; the third ones is entitled: Cancer, a Horrible Experience, about how she lost the battle against cancer and the last interlude contains a wish for Cathy and his friends.

The members of the band
A great album which affects ......... a great personal document - an example how music can help to come to terms with sorrow. The album can be ordered at the
Challenge Records site or at your local record dealer.
Hans Koert

A look into the life of a master who suffers one of life's greatest losses, Benny Golson writes in the liner notes of the latest album by Curtis Fuller, entitled The Story of Cathy & Me. Curtis Fuller lost his beloved early 2010 and remembers her in this emotional album. Some would have us believe that death is as light as a feather when, in fact, as we all must heroically sometimes do .... even with a broken heart. But as he goes forward, those who love him symbolically go with him (Benny Golson)
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Anonymous Eva Finley Gumbs said...

05-17-2020 Curtis was married, first to Judith Patterson,who was born New York in 1938. She attended school in Washington DC. In her senior at Dunbar High School, she auditioned for The Katherine Dunham Dance Company and travelled with the acclaimed company as they toured New Zealand and throughout the United States. After two years of dancing professionally,she met and married Curtis, lived in BronxNY and together they had five sons. They divorced. Judy moved to NJ with the five boys,returned to school and graduated
from Monmouth College in Long Branch NJ with a BA in Education. In 1977 Judy married Bill King. They lived and worked in Neptune,NJ for 21 happy years, surrounded by family and friends. Upon retiring they spent their final years in Sierra Vista,California. Judy died of lung cancer in1977. She went s survived by her five sons and eleven grandchildren.

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