King Curtis – 1971 vintage

This video is pure self indulgence…  Live in Montreau in 1971 with Champion Jack Dupree.  Never ever really wanted to be a Coltrane or Ben Webster soundalike – just playing like King Curtis suited me fine, and I did try…  For mouthpiece afficionado’s  he’s almost certainly playing an ebonite Berg’0′ with a huge opening (150 ?) – I seem to remember he had a lip impediment which closed the gap in to a more sensible opening.

Classic moments – check around 4:05 when Jack plays with one hand, drinking beer with the other – and around 5:18 when (I think) King Curtis plays a low A against his leg ?  Lovely stuff…




Here’s the LP cover – remember those plastic things ?

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2 Responses to King Curtis – 1971 vintage

  1. lewis Pelham says:

    Co-incidentally, that video has is on my Youtube “favourites”…played frequently.
    As a point of interest, I would have been far more impressed if King Curtis had taken a drink while he was playing!    🙂
    Gorgeous track…but I still admire Ben Webster and Stan Getz…ideally, I would like to be able to play like all three.

  2. Alan says:

    Oh Lewis – I spent hours/days/weeks on end listening to smooth Stanley… Couldn’t get enough.  Just never really had the opportunity to play like him in public.
    On the other hand, the King Curtis sound/style fitted so well with the R&B and Soul Bands that I normally played with, not to mention the lovely raunchy gigs with Hammond players – so he was a natural role model.  Never really rated the slightly more commercial Junior Walker, although just about every band I auditioned for wanted me to sound just like him – all I had to do was squeal a lot and then go back to being King Curtis for the rest of the number.  Easy peasy.
    That’s where I first used the front-F key to destruction, one fingering (that key only, and obviously thumb octave key) plus embouchure changes, equalled a whole range of harmonics – no complicated fingering changes 🙂  I can still do an extended harmonic slur on that fingering, I suspect that in my youthful naievity I probably thought that the front-F key WAS the harmonics key…   No helpful forums in those days, just trial and error !

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