All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Theodore Curson

Theodore Curson

Theodore “Ted” Curson (June 3, 1935 – November 4, 2012) was an American jazz trumpeter. He is perhaps best known for recording and performing with the Charles Mingus’ 1960 quartet which also included Eric Dolphy and Dannie Richmond. Curson was born in Philadelphia and became interested in playing trumpet after watching a newspaper salesman play a silver trumpet. His father, however, preferred that his son become an alto saxophone player like Louis Jordan. At 10 years old, Ted received his first trumpet and later went on to study at Granoff Musical Conservatory in Philadelphia. At the suggestion of Miles Davis, he moved to New York City in 1956. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he performed and recorded with Cecil Taylor. His 1964 Eric Dolphy tribute composition “Tears for Dolphy” has been used in numerous films. Curson co-led a quintet with Bill Barron (1960- 1965), played with Max Roach, and led his own groups while spending time in the late '60s in Europe. He was also a familiar face in Finland, having performed annually at the Pori Jazz festival each year since the beginning of the event in 1966. At the invitation of president Tarja Halonen, Curson performed at Finland's 2007 Independence Day Ball. He led sessions for Old Town (1961), Prestige, Fontana, Atlantic, Arista, Inner City, Interplay, Chiaroscuro, and several European labels. Curson died of a heart attack in Montclair, New Jersey on November 4, 2012, at the age of 77.

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.