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2013 Curtis Fuller to sit in with WCSU jazz combos

DANBURY, CONN. — Legendary jazz trombonist Curtis Fuller will perform in concert with five Western Connecticut State University student ensembles at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury.

Adult tickets are $15. Tickets for children, seniors and students are $10, and are available at or (203) 837-TIXX. Admission will be free for WCSU students with valid ID.

Fuller has earned a reputation over his long performing career for his lyrical improvisation, gifted composition and unique personal style both on stage and in the studio.

“Curtis Fuller is a true icon of jazz music,” WCSU Department of Music Chair Jamie Begian said.  “His career spans more than six decades and his name is associated with a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ in jazz music including John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley and Joe Henderson. Our students will benefit not only from his continued outstanding musicianship but also from his first-hand knowledge of what it was to be an integral part of Jazz’s ‘Golden Age’ and how he sees them continuing that legacy.”

The combos performing will include:

Greene I combo – Jimmy Greene, coach (Performing “Arabia” with Curtis Fuller)

Tim Lewis – alto saxophone

Greg LaPine – tenor saxophone

Evan Gray – trombone

Kriston Ervin – piano

Andrew Zwart – bass

Molly Sayles – drums

Greene II combo – Jimmy Greene, coach (Performing “Prince Albert” with Curtis Fuller)

Ryan Asbridge – soprano saxophone

John Holden – guitar

Jon Thomas – piano

Doug Toussaint – bass

Reuel Camacho – drums

Scott II combo – Dave Scott, coach (Performing “Moanin’” with Curtis Fuller)

Katelyn Gavagan – voice

Tomas Kurachi-Ube – trumpet 

Adam N’Gadi – trombone

Matt Angelo – piano

Gene Leone – guitar

Jeff Moro – bass

Andrew Zwart – drums

Weisz I combo – Deborah Weisz, coach (Performing “Along Came Betty” with Curtis Fuller)

Matthew Volpe – trumpet

Dakota Austin – alto saxophone

Rosemary Minkler – piano

Jeff Guzinski – bass

Jacob Zonderman – drums

Scott I combo – Dave Scott, coach (Performing “Ugetsu” with Curtis Fuller)

Emma Sayles – trombone

Michael Schmidt – tenor saxophone

Eric DeAngelis – baritone saxophone

Grant Beale – guitar

Montel Gray – piano

Andrew Zwart – bass

Steve Niemitz – drums

A native of Detroit, Mich., who first began playing trombone at age 16, Fuller came of age as a musician during the early 1950s along with other Detroit artists destined for future success on the New York and international jazz scenes including Donald Byrd, Elvin and Thad Jones, Paul Chambers, Louis Hayes, Kenny Burrell, Barry Harris, Pepper Adams, Doug Watkins and Tommy Flanagan. From 1953 to 1955, Curtis served in the U.S. Army where he met and played with Cannonball Adderley and Junior Mance among others. When he returned home, he began working with Yusef Lateef and went with the Lateef quintet to New York in 1957 to record two albums for Savoy and a third produced by Dizzy Gillespie for Verve. Within a month of his arrival in New York, Fuller recorded his first two albums as the leader of his own quintet, and within the short space of eight months he had made six albums as a leader and performed on 15 other recordings.

After several album collaborations with fellow jazz artist Benny Golson, Fuller joined Art Blakey‘s Jazz Messengers in 1961. The leadership of Blakey and the combined writing and playing talents of Fuller, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and Cedar Walton, created one of the most exciting and distinctive bands in the history of hard bop. Fuller left the Jazz Messengers in 1965 to perform free-lance with jazz greats including Shorter, Mobley, Morgan and Henderson.

The concert is sponsored by the WCSU Department of Music. Student members of the participating WCSU jazz ensembles will receive individual coaching and rehearsal from Fuller in preparation for the concert.

For more information call (203) 837-8350 or visit For tickets, go to


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.