Trombonist Curtis Fuller passed away on May 8. The New York Times posted this remembrance.
Here is my memory of the jazz great.
In 2002, Curtis Fuller appeared at the Iowa City Jazz Festival as a part of “Legends of the Bandstand,” with Cedar Walton, Ray Drummond, Louis Hayes, and David “Fathead” Newman. One by one, we have lost these legends, except Drummond and Hayes.
As I was preparing to introduce the group, Curtis comes up to me and asks “You know how to introduce a jazz band, right?”
A little non-plussed, I asked him what he meant. He then explained that the proper etiquette was to introduce the front line, then the rhythm section. He may have even specified Sax, Trumpet, Trombone, Piano, Bass, Drums, although I don’t specifically recall that part.
Regardless, I followed his instructions and to this day, when I introduce a jazz band, that’s the order I use. And each time, I thank Curtis Fuller for making sure I knew how to do the job.