Sunday, March 15, 2015

Larry Fuller: Larry Fuller

Capri Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Larry Fuller

You can determine a musician’s talent by the quality of the artists who’ve performed with him during his career. Bearing that in mind, all you need to know about pianist Larry Fuller is revealed by his discography. He spent six years as accompanist for the legendary blues and jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson; he was part of drummer Jeff Hamilton’s trio, and then bassist Ray Brown’s trio, until he died in 2002. Fuller then joined guitarist John Pizzarelli’s quartet for eight years, and now freelances with other artists and his own groups.

This album is just the second under Fuller’s own name; after all, who has time for that, when he has been part of dozens released by the aforementioned leaders? 

Fuller loves all jazz genres, and he performs them flawlessly. The dozen tunes here include compositions by artists as varied as Cole Porter, Ray Brown, Joni Mitchell, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mandel and others.

Fuller is supported by bassist Hassan Shakur (son of J.J. Wiggins) and drummer Greg Hutchinson. Both have equally busy and name-checkable résumés.

It’s particularly refreshing to hear Fuller’s trio perform tunes that are “classics” usually associated with other artists: John Lewis’ “Django,” Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom” and Bud Powell’s “Celia.”

Needless to say, everything swings: a very refreshing album by an excellent trio.

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