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Canadian Heritage

Jerry Fuller


JERRY FULLER (drummer) was born on April 5, 1939 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He passed away July 13, 2002 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada His father, saxophonist James Fuller, led a big band at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary for many years, before relocating the family to Vancouver to lead the house band at The Cave from 1944 to 1947. Jerry began playing drums as a child while still living in Calgary. Once the family moved to Vancouver, he studied with Jim Blackley from 1957 to ’58. He attended the Westlake College of Modern Music in Los Angeles from 1958 to ’59, and upon returning to Vancouver, became a key player on the scene there working in jazz clubs with local greats including multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson, and with the bands including one led by Paul Perry (P.J.’s father) at resorts in Western Canada.

After arriving in Montreal with P.J. Perry in 1962, the two quickly came to the attention of jazz-lovers there playing with the brilliant Maury Kaye throughout 1962 and ’63. Fuller settled in Toronto later in 1963, and by the end of that decade, had worked regularly at George’s Spaghetti House, in the studios with Rick Wilkins, and recorded a Ron Collier project that featured Duke Ellington on piano. He worked in lounge groups, hotel orchestras, jazz bands, and studio orchestras. He was a member of The Boss Brass from 1969 to ’72, returning to play with them intermittently after 1985. He played in bands and ensembles with leaders including Ed Bickert, Ron Collier, Jim Galloway, Sonny Greenwich, Doug Hamilton (Brass Connection), Moe Koffman, Lorne Lofsky, Kirk MacDonald, and many others.

He was the first-call drummer working as a sideman with visiting notables in local clubs, accompanying everyone from Ruby Braff, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and Paul Desmond to Lee Konitz, Pepper Adams, and Red Rodney. He established his own quartet in 1991, but continued to back up other leading musicians in studios, on tour, and on stages across Canada throughout the remainder of his lifetime. He recorded with a staggering list of greats including Oscar Peterson (An Oscar Peterson Christmas, Telarc).

Jerry Fuller was one of the most frequently-featured sidemen in the “Sound of Toronto Jazz” Concert Series, appearing in a total of 11 separate concerts with leaders including Phil Dwyer, Terry Lukiwski, Chris Mitchell, Brian Dickinson, Bob Mover, Neil Swainson, Sam Noto, Guido Basso, Jake Langley, Jerry Toth, and Paul Grosney between 1980 and 2001, as well as with his own Jerry Fuller Quintet on December 2, 1991.