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King Curtis - Live At Fillmore West

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Album Review

After the issue of the four-disc complete Aretha Franklin/King Curtis Live at Fillmore West concerts on the limited-edition Internet-only Rhino Handmade, the label has seen fit to release the original albums by Curtis and Franklin separately, with bonus cuts on each set for the masses. The original Live at Fillmore West was a double LP, so this double set is rounded out and expanded with cuts not used on the original. First, the band: the Memphis Horns, Billy Preston, Cornell Dupree, and Bernard Purdie are in the ranks for this set, already making it a must-hear. Given that this recording was a classic in its own right, this treatment by Rhino is not only proper and fitting but delightful. Disc one features a completely remastered version of the original disc. Listeners familiar will be delighted with the sound and immediacy of the performance on this CD. The somewhat throwaway "Memphis Soul Stew" was designed to tease — at least for the first six minutes. From then on, this is a burning, gritty, freewheeling performance of the highest order. The band was clearly excited and it shows. Whether they are ripping through "Whole Lotta Love," "Them Changes," and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours," simmering up to the boiling point on "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and "Mr. Bojangles," or getting downright spooky on "Ode to Billie Joe," the effect is the same: deep, funky soul that turns these tunes inside out and reflects an emotional core not revealed in the originals. And if you thought Curtis was a lightweight, this is an opportunity to change your mind. He was a formidable saxophonist with a sweet, high tone who could dig the very guts out of the horn when he wanted to. The bonus tracks feature alternates of four cuts from disc one along with "My Sweet Lord," which was left off the original album. Highly recommended.


Born: 07 February 1934 in Fort Worth, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

King Curtis was the last of the great R&B tenor sax giants. He came to prominence in the mid-'50s as a session musician in New York, recording, at one time or another, for most East Coast R&B labels. A long association with Atlantic/Atco began in 1958, especially on recordings by the Coasters. He recorded singles for many small labels in the '50s — his own Atco sessions (1958-1959), then Prestige/New Jazz and Prestige/TruSound for jazz and R&B albums (1960-1961). Curtis also had...
Full bio
King Curtis - Live At Fillmore West, King Curtis
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  • €11.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Blues, Rock, R&B/Soul, Soul
  • Released: 1971

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