Jazz bassist Jeff Fuller and Tony Purrone, one of the world’s greatest guitarists, will perform a reunion concert on Friday, Dec. 1, starting at 8 PM at Best Video Film and Cultural Center, 1842 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT. Cover is $10.
Fuller and Purrone are reuniting for the first time in many years after starting their careers in New Haven’s jazz scene at clubs like the Foundry Café, and gaining valuable experience accompanying such visiting artists as Frank Foster, George Coleman and Jimmy Heath. It was with the Heath Brothers that Purrone made his leap into the jazz world, earning a reputation as one of the most amazing soloists in jazz, as witnessed by a number of Columbia LPs the group released. Fuller was discovered and picked up by saxophonist and NEA Jazzmaster Lou Donaldson and toured and recorded with him for the next 15 years, before moving on to Paquito D’Rivera’s New York/Havana Quintet and other NYC-based groups.
Both Fuller and Purrone currently reside in CT and have continued to build their solid reputations in jazz. Friday’s concert will reignite the chemistry the two have had since the 1970s, when their critically acclaimed album “Expansion” was released. A few copies of the collector’s album will be sold at the concert.
Whether performing on stage and in clubs, teaching jazz and coaching ensembles, or composing and arranging in his home studio, Jeff Fuller brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to all his musical endeavors.
An integral part of the Connecticut, New York and international jazz scenes, Fuller toured worldwide and recorded with saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Paquito D’Rivera. He has played with jazz masters from all styles and eras including such diverse artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Mose Allison, “Papa” Jo Jones, Gerry Mulligan, and Clark Terry.
Fuller is one of the most sought after jazz bassists in Connecticut, and currently leads his own ensembles in many jazz venues. In September, 2014, he was awarded the annual Jazz Haven Award, “For all you have done in presenting and preserving the culture and music of jazz.” Fuller plays the Upton Hawkes Hybrid double bass, and a Ken Smith 6-string bass guitar.
Tony Purrone was born and raised in Connecticut. His love affair with the guitar started with his first lesson at age nine. This early ability, expressed across a diversity of styles, led to acceptance by the University of Bridgeport Jazz Ensemble at a very young age. Four years later, whilst still a student, he performed with the Don Elliott Quintet and the Gerry Mulligan Sextet. After transferring to New York University, Tony graduated with a BSc in music.
In 1978, he came to the attention of Jimmy Heath in Connecticut and was invited to join the Heath Brothers Band, going on to record five albums on CBS and Island-Antilles in between touring the world.
In 1982, Tony left to carve his own impressive niche in the eclectic jazz world. He has performed with a Who’s Who of Jazz, including: Frank Foster and the Count Basie Band, Jerome Richardson, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn, Pepper Adams, Paquito D’Rivera, Sal Nistico, Nick Brignola, Bill Barron, Dave Leibman, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, Jon Faddis, Donald Byrd, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman band members, the Jimmy Heath Big Band, Stanley Cowell, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, the Trio (3) with Pete Levin and Lenny White, and his own groups.
Tony has taught music at Housatonic College and Wesleyan University in Connecticut and at Queens College in New York. Tony participated in two Grammy nominated albums, “Heath Brothers Live at the Public Theater”, (1980); and “Jimmy Heath-Little Man, Big Band” (1994). Tony has also recorded with Jimmy Heath on the Landmark, Verve, and Steeplechase labels, Ed Thigpen on the Reaction label and is the featured guitar soloist along with bassist, Stanley Clarke, on the song “Dark” co-written with Lenny White on Lenny’s CD, “Present Tense” (Hip Bop records).