Through his long and storied career as one of the premier jazz trombonists, Curtis Fuller has been with all-star bands of different sizes and stripes. This sextet of friends from Denver, CO, gives Fuller plenty of firepower to swing mightily on some of his most famous compositions, documented on a double-CD set, one done in the studio, the other in live concert performance. With saxophonist Keith Oxman and trumpeter Al Hood (both well represented with fine recordings on their own as leaders), Fuller plays in the spirit of his former boss Art Blakey with a group sound similar to the Jazz Messengers. His tone is pretty strong, and does not have to push so hard alongside Oxman and Hood on such classic hard bop numbers as "Time Off," Kenny Dorham's "Minor's Holiday," "The Clan," and the all-time favorite "Alamode." Pianist Chip Stephens (ex-Ernie Krivda) plays in unison for another piece, the modal "Maze," which has stood the test of time. The live side showcases two drawn-out versions of studio sessions, additional material, and a warm-up version of "Tenor Madness" where the horns test each other's prowess. Overall, this is one of the better recordings in the latter-period days of Fuller, chock-full of spirit, and comes easily recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2