Why Curtis Fuller chose the trombone

Now, a Jazz Moment...

MUSIC: "Star Eyes" CD: Up Jumped Spring, Delmark DG-550 (cut 11)

NEA Jazz Master Curtis Fuller is recognized as one of the great trombonists in jazz.   But trombone wasn't his first instrument.   At the orphanage where he was raised, someone gave him a violin to play.   But he was soon steered away from it.

Curtis Fuller: A teacher once told me, "Don't-- why are you playing this instrument? You know, black kids don't play violins."   And I stepped away from it, you know... and I saw symphony orchestras, I didn't see anybody like myself.  

Fortunately, a more socially conscious teacher later exposed him to the dignified JJ Johnson - father of modern jazz trombone.   That act launched Curtis Fuller's lifelong love of the instrument.  

Curtis Fuller: In the marching band the trombones were always in the front line because of the slide and the kids coming down the street, that's what you hear. <imitates trombone playing> That's the sound you hear. <laughs>    It's majestic.   It's the closest instrument to the male voice to me, you know.   (:17)

MUSIC:   same - up and under

...the majestic sounds of the trombone played by NEA Jazz Master Curtis Fuller.   This Jazz Moment was created by The National Endowment for the Arts.

Why Curtis Fuller chose the trombone