Curtis Fuller Sextet - Moods, Zurich, 12 February 2012

Curtis Fuller Sextet last night ... a band made up of Americans (Fuller, Josh Bruneau on trumpet and Rob Bargad on piano) and Europeans (Ralph Reichert on tenor, Milan Nikolic on bass and Joris Dudli on drums).

Probably the closest I ever got to witness Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in concert ... mighty fine band playing staples from Fuller's and Blakey's repertoire (Arabia, Up Jumped Spring, Caravan as closer) and other bebop staples such as "Star Eyes". Bruneau and Reichter did a beautiful ballad medley (Blame It on My Youth and It's Easy to Remember), the trio got featured in both sets, first set was, I think, "Everything Happens to Me", then in the second set they did "I'm Old Fashioned" (which, according to Fuller, Coltrane never played again after the famous recording, and hence he wouldn't play on it either).

Bargad was very good, the rhythm section totally in the pocket, they pulled some Jamal-like tricks (of Crosby/Fournier vintage) and Bargad went into some block chords/locked hands stuff à la Red Garland a few times ... truly fine and honest music played by a powerful band. As for Fuller himself, well ... he seems to be doing pretty well but he doesn't have that much strength left (no wonder, at his age) and his tone, while still round and beautiful, wasn't projecting too well in the room (he seemed to often play next to rather than into the mic, too), and while some solos came off pretty well, there were spots where you could kind of hear what he had in mind but it wouldn't come out quite that way ... but it was still great to see him, and the concert as a whole was very good.

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