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Ted Curson: Live in Paris

There is a solid list of reasons why Live in Paris is a valuable keepsake. It’s the last non-posthumous release from trumpeter Ted Curson, who passed in November from heart failure at the age of 77. It features the music of Charles Mingus, Curson’s best known and most fruitful association in jazz, presenting four of the irascible composer’s more familiar tunes in the near-ideal context of a three-horn frontline and approximately 10 to 15 minutes allotted for each song. It also includes Curson’s best composition, “Tears for Dolphy,” a tribute to his former cohort with Mingus that serves as a fitting prologue for the Mingus material. And it showcases tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford, a rugged stylist with a plangent, slightly nasal tone and commanding yet careening phrasing reminiscent of Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon, who also played with Mingus and has been criminally underrepresented on record since moving to Europe more than a decade ago.

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