The Curtis Brothers
Brothers Luques (bass) and Zaccai (piano) Curtis follow in the rich family tradition of jazz. The music has often been the beneficiary of sibling bonds. Look no further than the Adderley brothers (Cannonball & Nat), the Heath Brothers (Percy, Jimmy, and Albert (Tootie), the Brecker Brothers, or more recently the Roney brothers (Wallace & Antoine), the Parrott sisters (Nicki and Lisa), and the Jensen sisters (Christine & Ingrid). Jazz music has frequently been the family tie that binds. And as with the Curtis Brothers those are also siblings that recorded and performed together. Based on the brilliance of Completion of Proof, clearly Luques and Zaccai Curtis have joined that auspicious tradition.
For Completion of Proof, the Curtis Brothers have enlisted a powerhouse crew of musicians - many of whom serve as mentors to the Curtis Brothers - including drummer Ralph Peterson, Jr.,Brian Lynch on trumpet, and their Artist Collective mentor, Jimmy Greene on saxophones. The date also includes alto saxophonist, "Big Chief" Donald Harrison. It was Harrison who gave the Brothers their first touring band experience. "He really showed us how to act, play, and what not to do on the road," says Zaccai. The underrated fire-breathing saxophonist Joe Ford "has always been an influence from a very early age." The brothers play in Lynch's band and alongside Ford with Jerry González Fort Apache Band as occasional subs for Andy González and Larry Willis. PercussionistsRogerio Boccato, Pedro Martinez, and Reinaldo De Jesus help bring further folkloric Pan African flavor to the date.
The brothers have recorded with a notable discography of cohorts, including Gary Burton, Orrin Evans, Donald Harrison, Sean Jones, Brian Lynch & Eddie Palmieri, and John Santos among others. They dubbed their 2010 debut brother act Blood - Spirit - Land - Water - Freedom (Truth Revolution).Completion of Proof is another title whose definition is omni-directional. Quizzed on how the titleCompletion of Proof compliments the sumptuous music they serve up, Zaccai informed: "The title has a lot to do with how this project turned out. We had our hypothesis, completed the experiment which was a success in many ways... Q.E.D. or Completion of Proof." The disc crackles with a vigor rooted squarely in the hard bop tradition, though most assuredly with diverse 21st century generational twists and turns.
The Curtis Brothers artistic journey began in Hartford, Connecticut. There NEA Jazz Master Jackie McLean and wife Dollie's exceptional urban cultural development center the Artists Collective nurtured the brothers' early musical impulses, "then David Santoro at the Hartford Academy of the Arts," says Zaccai. Eventually both brothers continued their studies in Boston, Zaccai at the New England Conservatory, and Luques at Berklee College of Music.
For the Curtis Brothers, Completion of Proof is an affirmation of the basic root sources of jazz. Their music is rife with the blues, swing rhythms in recognition of the Africa-Caribbean-New Orleans lineage, and the basic core elements that make the music such a spicy, hard bop melting pot. In many ways the music on Completion of Proof is for the Curtis Brothers a refutation of what they view from some of their peers as a denial or dismissal of those root sources. "Fast forward to today's modern jazz and you are lucky to hear just one of those elements come from a performance or recording. Blues harmonies seem to be replaced with simplified classical harmonies. Drums and rhythms have been mixed down in the modern recording so you can barely hear them! Swing has been ripped from the music. In most cases there are no elements of the jazz language... never mind bebop!