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Sonny Fortune


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Saxophonist, flutist, and multi-reed player Sonny Fortune is a progressive musician with a harmonically aggressive style who came to prominence as a member of trumpeter Miles Davis’ fusion groups of the ’70s. Born in Philadelphia in 1939, Fortune attended the Wurlitzer and Granoff music schools and performed with local R&B bands in his teens. Influenced early on by such players as Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane, Fortune was 18 before he decided to pursue a career in music exclusively. In 1967 he moved to New York City and quickly found work with several name artists, including drummer Elvin Jones and percussionist Mongo Santamaria, with whom he would play for two years. Around 1970 Fortune was asked join McCoy Tyner’s group and ended up performing with the legendary pianist from 1971 to 1973. During this time, Fortune also recorded with drummer Buddy Rich and even turned down an invitation to join Miles Davis’ fusion ensemble, choosing to stick with Tyner. However, in 1974 Fortune finally accepted and replaced saxophonist David Liebman in Davis’ group. Although he was only with Davis for a year, it was a fruitful time and Fortune appeared on several albums including Big Fun, Get Up with It, Agharta, and Pangaea.

In 1975 Fortune formed his own group, and during the remainder of the decade released several albums including 1975’s Awakening, 1977’s Serengeti Minstrel with trumpeter Woody Shaw, and 1977’s Waves of Dreams. Also during the ’70s, he worked with cornetist Nat Adderley as well as the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine.

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  • petr_charley


    27 Dec 2011 Reply
  • s0ber

    Only 1 832 listeners?! WTF guys?! What's wrong with this world?!

    2 Nov 2010 Reply
  • darkthrone

    Saw him live in 2004, fascinating musician...people should listen more to this guy

    25 Apr 2010 Reply
  • achoice

    All through the 70's fusion jazz had taken over, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report even Miles; you couldn't find any bop. Then Sonny Fortune came on the scene with the Awakening's LP in 1975. This was the first straight ahead LP "long player" or album in years. Triple Threat Is my favorite "side" on the LP. Everybody is on point on this one notably Wayne Dockery lays down a smokin bass solo. Please check it if you could find it. Peace.

    25 Jun 2009 Reply

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