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Jubilant Power

Ted Curson

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Album Review

Ted Curson's Jubilant Power shows the modern jazz trumpeter in prime condition, very influenced by a stint with Charles Mingus, and exhorting his large ensemble to play music indicative of the title. This recording combines two live concert sessions from autumn of 1976 done on consecutive nights, the first in his native Philadelphia at Rittenhouse Square, and the second at Downtown Sound in New York City. Curson assembled a dynamic and exuberant band with the baritone saxophonist Nick Brignola and saxophonist/flutist Chris Woods, bassist David Friesen, conga player Sam Jacobs, an exchange of pianists and drummers for each night, and different compositions. An LP now out on CD, "Side A" has two tunes from the Philly sessions with AACM drumkit juggernaut Steve McCall and pianist Andy LaVerne in tow, making for a presence that gives the band a forceful persona. The hot free bop "Reava's Waltz" showcases Curson's post Lee Morgan/Freddie Hubbard sound with an edge perfectly, especially during his solid solo as the horns chime in on occasion. "Ted's Tempo" is a modal to hard bop scorcher, fluent, risky, but built like a brick wall. The four tracks from "Side B" in N.Y.C. have Jim McNeely on the 88s and Bob Merigliano playing drums, offering a generally softer focus. The straight ballad "Marjo" borrows from "Sophisticated Lady," while the midtempo "Song of the Lonely" has Friesen's emotionally drenched bass saturating the quote-riddled trumpeter, who most specifically channels the changes of "What's New?." The upbeat numbers include a popping Latin chart "Airi's Tune" with a rich horn accord, while the definitive "Searchin' the Blues" is straight out of the Mingus bag with its delightfully entertaining, spontaneous, quirky speed-ups and settled slow-downs in the melody. For the time of these recordings, the sound is a little muddy, but certainly enhanced by the digital transfer, and quite acceptable. Because Ted Curson produced far too few recordings, and because the band is excellent, this has to rank as one of his best efforts, his modern jazz still sounding vital and fresh. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: 03 June 1935 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An excellent and flexible trumpeter, Ted Curson will always be best known for his work with Charles Mingus' 1960 quartet (which also included Eric Dolphy and Dannie Richmond). He studied at Granoff Musical Conservatory; moved to New York in 1956; played in New York with Mal Waldron, Red Garland, and Philly Joe Jones; and recorded with Cecil Taylor (1961). After the 1959-1960 Mingus association (which resulted in some classic recordings), Curson co-led a quintet with Bill Barron (1960-1965), played...
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Jubilant Power, Ted Curson
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