Ted Curson Day

June 3, 1935 – November 4, 2012

A tribute to the distinctive trumpeter

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Trumpeter Ted Curson was born on June 3, 1935, in Philadelphia.

Curson began playing trumpet when he was ten and, in addition to music school, he studied with Jimmy Heath.

The trumpeter gained early experience playing with Charlie Ventura in 1953, moving to New York three years later.

He worked with Red Garland, Mal Waldron, and Philly Joe Jones before making his debut recording with Cecil Taylor in 1959; by then he had his own sound and an adventurous style that had bebop as its foundation.

Curson became well-known due to his association with Charles Mingus during 1959-60, particularly from being a member of the Mingus Quartet with Eric Dolphy and Danny Barcelona.

The trumpeter kept busy in his post-Mingus years, including co-leading a group with saxophonist Bill Barron (1962-66), working with Max Roach, Archie Shepp, and Andrew Hill, spending much of the 1966-76 period performing in Europe, leading his own groups, recording over 20 albums as a leader, and staying active until his death in 2012 at the age of 77.

This filmed performance of the unusually titled minor-toned blues “LSD Takes A Holiday” features Curson on flugelhorn at a concert in France on Mar. 17, 1973.


Ted Curson, flugelhorn
Georges Arvanitas, piano
Jacky Samson, bass
Charles Saudrais, drums

-Scott Yanow


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