The Story of Cathy & Me

Trombonist Curtis Fuller’s previous CD—last year’s I Will Tell Her—was dedicated to his wife of 34 years, Cathy, who’d passed away before it was finished. He commemorates that loss here both musically and in words in four short segments he calls “Interludes.” Joined by trumpet, tenor sax and a rhythm section, Fuller copes with his grief with a brace of originals, one a bouncy “Little Dreams” that features trumpeter Lester Walker, who stars on a beautiful “Too Late Now.” He also incorporates a few standards: the wistful “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” (a feature for tenorman Daniel Bauerkemper, who also shines on “My Lady’s Tears,” as does pianist Nick Rosen); Frank Loesser’s elegiac “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year” (with pianist Kenny Banks Jr. and bassist Kevin Smith taking the honors) and Betty Carter’s “Look What I Got,” which gets a Latin treatment by the full group with some very soulful playing by Fuller, whose full-bodied sound throughout is a treat for the ears. Vocalist Tia Michelle Rouse displays her talents on two songs, one “The Right to Love” (“We have all we need as long as we can be together”). This is a mostly subdued tribute to a loved one that continues to resonate.