Tia Fuller: Stepping Forward Decisively
It's led to a career where she works as a sideman in various capacitiesthe bands of trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and pianist Orrin Evans are more recent regular gigsand brings her music to the forefront with her own band. It's a good place to be, she admits. She's come a long way from Aurora, Colorado, to playing at the White House. (She was excited for a week before that trip because the Beyoncé band would play Anita Baker's "Sweet Love" in front of President Obama, a song on which she trades sax solo riffs with Beyoncé's vocals).
"I feel very blessed and extremely thankful to be given the many opportunities that I've been given. I know that it's extremely hard to be a professional jazz musician. A professional musician and artist. Especially today. So I'm really thankful and just want to do my part. Walk in my purpose in playing this music. Hopefully inspire other people," says Fuller in earnest.
Looking at the future, Fuller still sees good things, even while she acknowledges the tough challenges facing the musicians and the music business.
"There are a lot of great young players out there today that are carrying the torch. I just wish that there were more clubs. I wish there were more venues so the people could come out and support it. ... It's hard with the talent that's around, then not having enough gigs for everybody to play at. There are fewer incentives, other than the music itself, to play. If there was anything that I wish to change and be altered, it would be that there are more opportunities to play in clubs. To share the music with people that aren't musicians, and also other musicians."
Fuller is one of those torch bearers, and listening to her inspired, inventive playing, it's easy to imagine that good things lie ahead.
Tia Fuller, Decisive Steps (Mack Avenue, 2010)
Tia Fuller, Healing Space (Mack Avenue, 2007)
Sean Jones, Kaleidoscope, (Mack Avenue, 2007)
Tia Fuller, Pillar of Strength (Wambui, 2005)
Sean Jones, Eternal Journey (Mack Avenue, 2004)
Brad Leali, and his Jazz Orchestra, Maria Juanez (Montreux Jazz, 2007)
Maketta Wilcoxson, Courtesy of Tia Fuller