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Ted Curson: More than a Survivor

Ted Curson

I’ve got your opening quote for you, right here,” laughs Ted Curson when I say I plan to write about him for JazzTimes. “My life is like a barrel with no bottom. I keep putting stuff in, but it never fills up!” It’s a joke, but a serious joke, the rueful kind that veteran jazz musicians often make when discussing life in the bebop business.

At age 71, Ted Curson is not a household name-in this country, at least. Still, he’s made his mark. A jazz musician’s life is not measured by the money he’s made or the number of readers’ polls he wins but by the respect he commands from his peers and the quality of his body of work. By those standards, Curson is an unqualified success. Since making his recording debut in 1959 with Cecil Taylor (Love for Sale on United Artists), the Philadelphia native has worked nonstop, playing with just about everyone who matters.

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