Jerry Fuller (drummer) was born on April 5, 1939 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He passed away July 13, 2002 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He came from a musical family, his father Jerry was a saxophonist who led a big band at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary from 1937 through 1944. The family then moved to Vancouver and his dad became the leader at the Cave from 1944 into 1947.
There Jerry, who had begun to take drum lessons in Calgary from Bruce Bristowe, his dad’s drummer, continued his studies with the noted drum teacher, Jim Blackley. It was then on to L.A. for studies at Westlake College in 1958-59.
In the late 50s, like many a young Western musician, Fuller worked with the band of Paul Perry, P. J.’s dad, at Sylvan Lake, a summer resort described as being half way between Edmonton and Calgary. The senior Perry’s band had been the senior Fuller’s rival in Calgary and it was here that the two sons hooked up musically.
At the Cellar in Vancouver, Jerry and P. J., along with multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson and Dale Hillary, another fiery alto player, were the local “hard bop” heavies. From Montreal, Jerry and his new wife moved on to Toronto in 1963 and by the end of that decade Fuller had worked at George’s Spaghetti House, in the studios with Rick Wilkins and recorded a Ron Collier project that had Duke Ellington guesting on piano.
Jerry, beginning with Bourbon Street in 1973, got to play with many a touring American heavy – Pepper Adams (who he had played with at Loyola College in Montreal with Maury Kaye and Fred McHugh), Zoot Sims, Paul Desmond and Lee Konitz among them – in a succession of spots including “The Toronto Alive!” broadcasts from the Trader’s Lounge of the Eaton Centre with pianist Ian Bargh and Jim Galloway, the Montreal Bistro and the Top O’ The Senator.
Jerry returned to Montreal on occasion, in 1967, just prior to the Ellington sessions in Toronto, he appeared at the Canadian Pavilion of Expo 67 with the Ron Collier Ensemble, in December 1988 he did a Jon Ballantyne session at Studio Tempo in Pte. St. Charles.
In 1970 he did his first recording with Rob McConnell’s Boss Brass, a three day session in March for the CBC and a pair of sessions with singer Salome Bey, on in September with a group led by Rick Wilkins and one in October with a Russ Little-led ensemble, both for the Canadian Talent Library.
In May 1986, in Toronto’s McClear Place Studios, Fuller was a member of the Boss Brass that recorded with Mel Torme- “Torme and the Boss Brass” on Concord. Later the next year, Fuller recorded with The Brass Connection- “A Five Star Edition” appeared on the Jazz Alliance label with special guests Bill Watrous, Jiggs Whigham and Carl Fontana joining the group’s five regular trombonists, Doug Hamilton, Ian McDougall, Bob Livingston, Jerry Johnson and Ernie Pattison.
In early 1997, he was at Boomers in Pte. Claire, recording live with Dave Young in guitarist Greg Clayton’s trio and in the late 90s with the Chris Mitchell combo that took the grand prize in the Montreal International Jazz Festival Concours and later for the recording and subsequent launch of the resulting CD.