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Azure (Expanded Edition)

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Album Review

King Curtis' lone LP for the tiny Everest label eschews his signature gutbucket R&B approach in favor of a late-night, bluesy atmosphere that brilliantly captures the unparalleled soulfulness of his tenor sax solos. Ballads and standards spanning from "Unchained Melody" to "The Nearness of You" are vividly realized by the lush arrangements of Sammy Lowe, complete with vocal contributions from the Malcolm Dodds Singers. Still, it's Curtis' melancholy leads that command the spotlight, boasting the cerebral intricacy of jazz and the emotional heft of soul. [Originally released in 1960, Essential Media Group's 2007 reissue appends the bonus tracks "Lonely Prairie" and "Jay Walk."]


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 a number one R&B...
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Azure (Expanded Edition), King Curtis
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