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The urgency and immense depth of sincerity felt, when listening to both of these recordings, is testimony not only to the spirituality and power of Fortune's playing but also to the breadth of his ability. The self-produced Continuum includes mostly original compositions while You and the Night, which reached #2 on the jazz charts and remained in the top 50 for months, features Fortune interpreting standards and two originals. Perhaps the popularity of his recent recording will bring Fortune the recognition of a wider audience that has so far inexplicably eluded him. (Perhaps it is not so inexplicable since Fortune, thankfully, is unwilling to compromise his standards for greater "marketability"). It is certainly a sad commentary on the music industry that an artist like Fortune does not have a recording contract with a major jazz label.
The good news is that Sonny Fortune is aging like a fine Rico reed (a #2.5 by the way). He recently celebrated his 69th birthday, yet Fortune's live performances continue to leave audiences feeling as if they were seated in the path of a hurricane. A live recording is long overdue.
Many years have passed since Fortune took control of his own destiny and embarked on a journey of musical discovery. Just think, if labor relations had been cool in that Philly box factory, Sonny Fortune might never have pulled his alto out of the closet. Thank God for that day job!
Sonny Fortune will be performing in Italy and Spain during the summer of 2008, so European jazz fans will have the opportunity to experience his intensity first-hand.