Sideman Larry Fuller Finds Leadership Worth The Wait

Raised in the Midwest, one of pianist Larry Fuller’s first jobs in jazz was here in Seattle, backing up iconic jazz singer Ernestine Anderson. So his debut performance live on 88.5 felt like a homecoming.

His career has been spent mostly as a sideman, but in the shadows of some of the world’s best jazz musicians life can be pretty great. After a few years with Miss Ernestine, Fuller began working with the great California drummer Jeff Hamilton’s trio, which led to a dream job in bassist Ray Brown’s threesome in the late ’90s.

During that time, Larry released his first album – and in the KNKX studios, he told us the fantastic story of Ray Brown’s veto due to what he found to be a tasteless album cover. This Spinal Tap-esque tale ended well, with the album Easy Walker (featuring new art) was eventually released on Seattle’s Pony Boy Records 5 years later.

It’s only after more than a decade working in John Pizzarelli’s popular quartet that Larry Fuller has released his second as a leader, a wonderful self-titled affair with conservative cover art and a bluesy, swinging joyfulness from beginning to end.

As our live studio audience heard up close, Mr Fuller’s new adventures as the leader of the band will be thrilling. Let’s hope we won’t wait so long for his next release.


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