When jazzmen whose surnames constitute a full meal are assembled, Richard Curry is sure to be invited. While such a fete will unfortunately forever remain imaginary, fans of
traditional jazz in the Windy City did spend many a swinging evening with this drummer, a literal anchor in the rhythm sections of many groups whose repertoire focused on jazz of the '20s, maybe the '30s on a progressive night. Club-goers with their eyes on the Curry simmering behind the drum kit onstage in clarinetist and bandleader Franz Jackson's band were seeing an actual veteran of the minstrel show days whose career was indeed well underway by the time the Roaring Twenties kicked off.
A midwesterner by birth, Curry was playing gigs at the age of 16. He was associated with Clarence Miller's group at that time, then spent some six years drumming for Charles Elgar's outfit. Curry was one of the drummers in a touring revue entitled Plantation Days; this group spent a half a year in Europe, after which the drummer began gigging with clarinetist Darnell Howard and pianist Jimmy Bell. The latter gig got cut short when Bell got busted for forging food stamps. Documentation of Curry's later servings in Chicago include compilation tracks as well as sides with Jackson, among them the fine Night at the Red Arrow from 1961.