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Trumpeter Ted Curson Dies at 77

Member of Mingus’ 1960 group was also highly popular in Finland

Ted Curson

Trumpeter Ted Curson, whose work included a high-profile stint with Charles Mingus and numerous solo outings, died Nov. 4 in Montclair, N.J. The cause was a heart attack. Curson was 77.

Born in Philadelphia in 1935, Curson began playing trumpet at age 10. After attending the Granoff School of Music in Philadelphia, he moved to New York in 1956. He made his recording debut in 1959 with Cecil Taylor on the pianist’s Love for Sale album, but it was his association with Charles Mingus, beginning in 1960, that brought Curson his first serious recognition. He appears on the albums Mingus, Mingus Revisited, Mingus at Antibes and Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, all released in 1960. Curson was part of the Mingus group that also included alto saxophonist Eric Dolphy, tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin and drummer Dannie Richmond.

Curson recorded his first album as a leader, Plenty of Horn, in 1961, and released 16 albums in all under his own name. Curson also played and/or recorded with Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Andrew Hill and others. He played on more than 300 recording sessions as a sideman.

Curson was particularly popular in Finland, performing at the Pori Jazz Festival there for more than 40 consecutive years.

Originally Published