By James Calemine

King Curtis, born Curtis Ousley, was a seminal saxophonist from Texas. Curtis turned down scholarships to join the great Lionel Hampton’s jazz band. Curtis later became a session musician in New York where he recorded with Buddy Holly, Andy Williams and Nat Adderley.

Later Curtis worked with Jerry Wexler, Aretha Franklin, The Coasters, Duane Allman and many others. Live at Fillmore West was released one week before King Curtis was stabbed to death outside of his New York City apartment at the age of 37.

Recorded with Atlantic’s finest session musicians (including Billy Preston) and The Memphis Horns, this album opens with the signature King Curtis tune, “Memphis Soul Stew”. Other amazing renditions include Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale”, Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” and Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billy Joe”.

The beautiful original “Soul Serenade” closes Live at Fillmore West. The death of King Curtis brought his close friend and collaborator Duane Allman to tears. Two months later, Allman would die in a motorcycle accident. Live at Fillmore West exists as a soulful classic…