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Sonny Fortune: Last Night At Sweet Rhythm

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Jellyfish plumes of toxic smoke may no longer hover in the air, but clinking glasses, persistent waiters and the intermittent roaring of drink mixers still conspire to diminish a jazz lover's listening pleasure at a live nightclub performance. Yet, somehow, spontaneous improvisation--the lifeblood of jazz--and the intimate interactions among the musicians and the audience, combine in clubs around the world to consistently conjure sonic magic on the bandstand.

Reed and flute master Sonny Fortune's incendiary blowin' style is especially potent live, as evidenced by his work on albums including Miles Davis' Agharta (Columbia, 1975) and Elvin Jones' Jazz ...


Sonny Fortune: Last Night at Sweet Rhythm

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A few months ago, in 2009, reedman Sonny Fortune brought his quartet into the late Greenwich Village club to cut his first live recording as a leader. The performance captured on Last Night at Sweet Rhythm shows, as Fortune moves into his seventies, that his playing is as innovative, daring and fiery as ever. The set list can be viewed as a kind of retrospective, originals culled from various periods in Fortune's career. He goes for the downs from the first notes of the opener, “It Ain't What It Was," blowing his alto with cleverness and abandon. ...


Sonny Fortune: Thank God For That Day Job

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With an auspicious name like Sonny Fortune, could there be any doubt that this man would find success and fulfillment down whatever path he chose to follow in life. Fortune-ately for jazz lovers, he focused his talent and energy on the saxophone.

Fortune's destiny began at the beguine-ing; he was born at the right time, May 19, 1939, and at the right place, Philadelphia. While the City of Brotherly Love has been considered a second-tier jazz city by some, Philly indisputably gave birth to and nurtured a long list of great musicians , many of whom ...


Sonny Fortune: You and the Night and the Music

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From the generation of post-bop saxophonists following in the shadow of John Coltrane, multi-instrumentalist Sonny Fortune comes closest to capturing Coltrane's spirit and intensity. Since the late 1960s, Fortune has made an indelible mark on jazz history, collaborating with Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis and Mongo Santamaria, among other luminaries. Despite his numerous side-man appearances and a fertile solo career, he remains a respected but unsung hero of the jazz cognoscenti.

Dominated by standards and traditional tunes, You and the Night and the Music is a rarity in his oeuvre. The majority of Fortune's discography concentrates on ...


Sonny Fortune: You and the Night and the Music

Read "You and the Night and the Music" reviewed by

While he's been overshadowed by other saxophonists throughout much of his career, Sonny Fortune has been an important force in jazz for many years, playing in a style that owes much to John Coltrane and was showcased in the bands of Coltrane's key collaborators, Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner--as well as in a stint with Miles Davis in the 1970s. Fortune's You and The Night and The Music shows the Philadelphia-born Fortune in fine form at the age of sixty-eight--something he also showed in a rousing JVC Jazz Festival warm-up performance in the unlikely setting of New ...


Ernst Bier, Matthias Btzel and Karl Schloz with Sonny Fortune: Live at the A-Trane

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Five extended compositions recorded Live at the A-Trane in Berlin, Germany over two nights in 2005 present altoist/flutist Sonny Fortune in the company of a soulful B3 trio. Fortune's alto is still searing, with a tone and style that work quite well in this context, exposing his Philly R&B roots. His career of over forty years and powerful harmonic wah-wahing technique has seen him hook up with the best: trumpeter Miles Davis, drummers Elvin Jones and Buddy Rich, pianist McCoy Tyner and percussionist Mongo Santamaria.

His German bandmates for this date are up to the difficult task of keeping pace ...


Sonny Fortune: Trilogy Collection

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Sonny Fortune Trilogy Collection Sound Reason 2006

Jazz is blessed by the music of alto saxophonist and flutist Sonny Fortune, a living master who always plays directly from the heart. In addition to his work with Miles Davis, Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones, Nat Adderley, and Mongo Santamaria, over the years Fortune has led many dates of his own. He considers his three mid-90s Blue Note releases to be among his most significant recorded work to date, and he's just re-released them on his own label as Trilogy Collection. All three were produced by Fortune ...


Sonny Fortune: In Pursuit Of Music

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Sonny Fortune is one of the most exciting saxophonists in jazz today, with a searing sound that is all his own. Fortune served as a sideman with a variety of leaders, including Elvin Jones, Mongo Santamaria, Buddy Rich, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis and Nat Adderley, but it as a leader that he has truly made his mark in music. He currently leads a quartet, is co-leader with Gary Bartz and Vincent Herring of the cooperative group The Three Altos, and has an incendiary duo with Rashied Ali. Fortune also runs his own record label, Sound Reason, which releases his original ...


Day 3 - Ottawa International Jazz Festival, June 24, 2006

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Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 Saturday nights at the TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival usually mean Afro-Cuban party time, and the performance by Cuban-born/New York-based clarinetist/saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera and his quintet didn't disappoint. But first, the 4 pm show at the Library and Archives Canada Connoisseur Series had a different kind of energy. Prior to their duet performance, altoist Sonny Fortune and drummer Rashied Ali had two ...


Day 1 - Ottawa International Jazz Festival, June 22, 2006

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Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11

After an outstanding 25th anniversary celebration in 2005, the TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival's 2006 lineup raised a number of eyebrows when it was announced back in April. Last year's event sported a star-heavy and jazz-heavy lineup on the outdoor main stage at Confederation Park, including Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, David Sanchez and Terence Blanchard. This year the lack of more clearly defined jazz artists ...


Sonny Fortune and Rashied Ali: An Evening of Thanksgiving

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Sonny Fortune and Rashied Ali An Die Musik Baltimore, MD November 19, 2005

The small sign on the column of the entrance announced the performance of “Sonny Fortune and Rashied Ali; SOLD OUT . Some anxious audience members gathered at the bottom of the old stone stairs to the raised entrance, smoking and chattering about musical memories in the brisk air from the harbor. Other people congregated in the music store in the back of the first floor townhouse, seeking additions to already well stocked collections. Some chose to sit comfortably in the ...


Sonny Fortune: Continuum

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For those that only know Sonny Fortune through his work with the Three Altos or his duo with Rashied Ali, his new self-released album Continuum will present a very different musician. The aforementioned groups feature Fortune solely on alto and as a firebreather playing on standards. Not that there is anything wrong with that (a set with Ali last month featured a 40-minute “The Song is You" that rattled the Sweet Rhythm silverware) but Fortune has other facets, all on display on this album. First is Fortune the multi-instrumentalist. Alto appears for less than half the album, liberally ...


Sonny Fortune Quartet at Sweet Rhythm

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Sonny Fortune Quartet Sweet Rhythm, New York City March 27, 2004

‘Round about midnight on March 25, 2004, WKCR in New York City, the radio station of Columbia University, concluded a continuous two-week program on John Coltrane. Yes, that’s right -- John Coltrane Radio 24/7 for two weeks straight! “All Coltrane. All the time." The program finale was a live 1961 recording of the “classic” John Coltrane Quartet performing “My Favorite Things”. It’s a performance gushing with swing, groove, ideas, energy, passion, innovation, love, excitement, telepathy...the list could go on, but you get the idea.

Why ...

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