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Published: Friday, 3/18/2005

Jazz pianist comes home for gig at Murphy's Place

It's homecoming time for Larry Fuller, the Toledo native and acclaimed jazz pianist who returns to town to perform at Murphy's Place Wednesday with the Pete Siers Trio.

Fuller, who played with the bands of Ernestine Anderson, Ray Brown, and Jeff Hamilton, recently was featured with Siers on the album, "Those Who Choose To Swing."

"I was just a guest artist. I'm not a regular member of Pete Siers' group," he said in an interview from Los Angeles, where he moved last month.

Fuller, 39, began studying piano at age 11, at first focusing on classical music and then switching to jazz in his early teens as he studied with Toledo saxophonist Floyd "Candy" Johnson. In 1988, Fuller began working with vocalist Ernestine Anderson, moving to Seattle to become her musical director and touring worldwide with the singing star until 1993.

He teamed up with drummer Jeff Hamilton in 1994 and in 2000 joined Hamilton in the Ray Brown Trio, recording and touring with the bebop bass star until his death in 2002.

"Playing in Ray's trio was definitely a wonderful experience," Fuller said of the bassist who had worked with Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson.

Fuller said he moved to L.A. because of its varied career opportunities, from studio recordings to live shows to movie soundtracks. He's working on a live CD, recorded in Seattle by Jim Wilke, host of the nationally broadcast radio show Jazz After Hours.

"I'm not sure when it will be released," Fuller said. "We recorded two concerts and I have a lot of material to choose from."

The Pete Siers Trio, with special guest Larry Fuller, will be in concert at 8 and 10 p.m. Wednesday at Murphy's Place, 151 Water St. Tickets are $8, $10, and $15. Information: 419-241-7732.

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