Ted Curson

Hard bop, Film music contributor

1935 – 2012


Who was Ted Curson?

Theodore "Ted" Curson was an American jazz trumpeter. He is perhaps best known for recording and performing with Charles Mingus.

Curson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He became interested in playing trumpet after watching a newspaper salesman play a silver trumpet. Curson's father, however, preferred that his son should become an alto saxophone player like Louis Jordan. Finally, when Ted was 10 years old, he received his first trumpet.

Curson attended Granoff School of Music in Philadelphia. At the suggestion of Miles Davis, he moved to New York in 1956. Curson performed and recorded with Cecil Taylor in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His 1964 Eric Dolphy tribute composition "Tears for Dolphy" has been used in numerous films.

Curson was a resident of Montclair, New Jersey. 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. In 2007, Curson performed at Finland's Independence Day Ball at the invitation of president Tarja Halonen.

Curson died on November 4, 2012 in Montclair.


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Jun 3, 1935
Also known as
  • Theodore "Ted" Curson
  • Theodore Curson
  • United States of America
Nov 4, 2012

on July 23, 2013