Brothers Zaccai and Luques Curtis, from Hartford, CT, spent some of their earliest music matriculation at NEA Jazz Master Jackie & Dolly McLean’s visionary Artist Collective in Hartford. Since that time they’ve played with such notable artists as NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri, Donald Harrison, Brian Lynch, Papo Vasquez, Jerry Gonzalez Fort Apache Band, Sean Jones, Orrin Evans, Francisco Mela, Etienne Charles, Cindy Blackman Santana, and Ralph Peterson. Additionally they co-lead their own Curtis Brothers band.
As recording artists they’ve taken things into their own hands, founding and building Truth Revolution as their recording home. Stretching out beyond their own recordings, they’ve engaged both young, emerging and master level musicians to record on Truth Revolution. The Independent Ear is always on the lookout for enterprising artists, so we recently posed a few questions which the brothers answered collectively.
Luques and Zaccai Curtis
There’s a certain sensibility one gets from the name Truth Revolution of your record company. Where and how did you come up with that name?
Originally, the name comes from my publishing company “Truth Revolution Publishing.” When we first started the label I started branding my own compositions with that never expecting it to be anything else. When we started to release other music it was suggested by multiple people that we use the name Truth Revolution as a brand.
Today “Truth Revolution” for us represents a revolution in music. Providing a way for Jazz and Latin Jazz artists to get their music recognized without breaking their banks and backs.
Given both of your busy playing schedules, is this a two-man operation or do you have partners?
We have partners and contractors that we work with heavily. Without them, the daily operations would never be completed in timely fashion. All of our staff here has been doing such an awesome job so shout out to the TRR crew!
How long had you been thinking of launching your own label, and what was your planning process?
When we first thought about it (around 2005) there wasn’t much of a plan. We gathered as much information from our predecessors that had their own labels and formally launched our label in 2009. As time went on we grew and more people became involved. The evolutionary process is not over and we have so much in store for the immediate future.
In your website descriptives, under “Why The Name?” you say your relationship with artists “…is based on a partnership agreement.” Given that agreement of partnership, since you put out the records and those attendant responsibilities, and besides a commitment to great artistry what are your expectations of artists whose recordings you release?
The partnership differs between each artist/project but isn’t limited to us working on just CD releases. All of the artists on our label have our trust and we have theirs. Working on live shows, videos, building a fan base or recording is mutually beneficial toward both us and the artist. We are invested in them and trust them to carry the brand while they trust us to keep fighting for their music to be heard.
Talk about some of the artists you’ve recorded and why you chose to record those particular artists.
We have been lucky enough to be trusted with the production, distribution and branding of the greatest musicians of the Latin Jazz idiom like Mitch Frohman and Ray Vega. Working with them is such a blessing because we learned so much from their releases and their patience will be forever appreciated. Our earliest releases(besides our own Curtis Brothers music) by Kris Allen and Giovanni Almonte were for sure trial by fire and they are still working with us in many respects. Our latest releases by legendary percussionists Little Johnny Rivero and Ralph Irizarry have been very well received by Latin Jazz fans around the world and allowed us to connect to that network which we love being a part of. Vocalist, Orice Jenkins as our youngest artist, brings such a bright light to our catalogue. There are so many great recordings on the label currently and we could write about each one but the pride and joy of the company is the amazing release by [bass master] Andy Gonzalez ‘Entre Colleges.’ He’s been one of our mentors as young students of the music and has, in recent years, become ill. That kind of collaboration is what we live for and I know 2017 will be even better!
HERE’S A PARTIAL STROLL THROUGH THE TRUTH REVOLUTION CATALOGUE.…