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Curtis Fuller: Keep It Simple

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There’s nothing brash or unconventional about trombonist Curtis Fuller’s latest, Keep It Simple. Still active and playing well at 70, Fuller hews close to the Jazz Messengers-style bebop and modal jazz he’s been playing since the ’50s. Fuller brought a solid band into the studio and delivers a casual, satisfying record of standards and modal originals.

Pianist Doug Carn brings a heavy McCoy Tyner sound to “Maze” and “A la Mode.” Saxophonist Javon Jackson-who, like Fuller himself, is a Messengers alum-responds with some especially Coltrane-like solos. But the recording belongs to Fuller. His hazy tone and curt, snapping melodic lines sound more and more handsome as the recording goes on.

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