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Curtis Fowlkes

Curtis Fowlkes

At 49, Curtis Fowlkes finally has an album out on which he’s the sole leader: Reflect by his band Catfish Corner on Knitting Factory. Fowlkes, who co-leads the Jazz Passengers, plays in the Alphabet Lounge Big Band, and has recorded with the Lounge Lizards, Henry Threadgill and Bill Frisell, among others, is one of the finest jazz trombonists to emerge in the past couple of decades. But he’s not a self-promoter or, in a business sense, a go-getter, so Reflect has been a long time coming.

A deeply rooted Brooklyn-ite, Fowlkes admits “I live in the house my grandfather bought in the 1920s.” Fowlkes, who’s married and has a couple of kids, initially worked day gigs and didn’t become a full-time musician until 1977. “I got into the CETA program with Ernie Wilkins’ Jazzmobile project,” he says. From that point on, Fowlkes has been a full-time trombonist.

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