Born in Texas in 1934, by his late teens Curtis Ousley had joined the Lionel Hampton band. Moving to New York in 1952, he played his saxophone on a wide variety of jazz and jump blues sessions before moving into more lucrative rock and pop field. Working extensively for Atlantic Records, he became known for playing on Coasters records, especially ‘Yakety Yak’ and ‘Charlie Brown’, which put him in high demand. He was an active bandleader, most notably for Aretha Franklin. Signed to Atlantic as a solo artist in 1965, he hit with ‘Memphis Soul Stew’ and went on to win a Grammy in 1970 for his instrumental version of ‘Games People Play’. His career was cut shot in 1971 when he was stabbed to death outside his house.
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