Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 13, No.1, 2014

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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nancy Snipper
Farzana Hassan
Daniel Charchuk
Samuel Burd
Andrée Lafontaine
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Serge Gamache Emanuel Pordes
Diane Gordon
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Chantal Levesque Denis Beaumont
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Jazz Contributors

Tommy Emmanuel
John Stetch
Susie Arioli
Coral Egan
Diana Krall
Stacey Kent
Carol Welsman
Aldo Romano
Denzal Sinclaire
Madeleine Peyroux
Bireli Lagrene
Sonido Isleño
Provost & Lachapelle
Kevin Breit
Sophie Milman
Annie Poulain
Badi Assad
Donato & Bouchard
Ingrid Jensen
John Roney
Russell Malone
David Binney
Kurt Rosenwinkel
Mimi Fox
Voo Doo Scat
Coral Egan
Martin Taylor
Jordan Officer
Melody Gardot
Jean Vanasse
Yves Léveillé
Sylvain Provost
Louciana Souza
Patricia Barber
Jill Barber
Corrine Bailey Rae
Chet Doxas
François Bourassa
Sylvain Luc
Neil Cowley
Marianne Trudel
Florence K
Terez Montcalm
Cyrus Chestnut
Tord Gustavsen
Sarah MK
Julie Lamontagne
Vincent Gagnon
Arioli & Officer
Jean Félix Mailloux
Vijay Iyer
Lionel Loueke
2010 Montreal Guitar Show (Sylvan Luc)
2008 Jazz en Rafale Festival (Montreal) - Mar. 27th - April 5th -- Tél. 514-490-9613 ext-101 (featuring David Binney)
Montreal Jazz Festival 2010







Piano Keyboard


by Robert J. Lewis

Featured artist: TIA FULLER

When she steps out of the wings and into the lights you can’t help but stare. Seconds later, you’re whirling through space on sinewy, brash and thoroughly modern jazz that dissolves any consideration of gender. That’s how consummate and formidable is Tia Fuller, one of the few female American jazz saxophone players who can play with the best of them. This rara avis makes men seriously contemplate putting themselves on estrogen.

In the accomplishment category, Fuller is to jazz what Serena Williams is to tennis. That she is still a rather well kept secret is often the fate of exceptional musicians who are fatally attracted to a genre that, from its outset a century or so ago, has always played second fiddle to popular music. But jazz has never been about chart busting or filling stadiums. Its natural environment is the club scene where to leave and return is to know the place for the very first time.

Fuller quickly learned to exploit limited opportunities for self-expression as well as to shape and contour a note while working with Beyoncé for half a decade. In between time, she continued to hone her craft and teach, and has collaborated with Esperanza Spalding and other notables. Her most recent and well received album, Angelic Warrior, was a festival highlight for those who attended her rousing and defiant 2013 Montreal International Jazz Festival concert.

From her snappy, articulate phrasing to delectably varied rhythms within a phrase, and the care she takes in creatively connecting her phrases, Fuller is in control of a fully realized sound that speaks to her principles and sense of mission in a world that typically rewards the last performer standing. If it is the challenge of every musician to find her or himself in her music, Fuller isn’t shy about revealing the complex person that she is, and refuses to edit out the wide spectrum of moods that moves her.

At times, and without apology to gender or states of mind that intrude on her soft look, she can be angry, peeved and uncompromising in her rejection of sweet melody, and she certainly doesn’t play to what audiences expect of women in the appearance category -- a male generated expectation that leaves today’s dangerously under-dressed pop divas with few options and cold hands.

Fuller blows her own horn, and routinely wows audiences with her song crafting and arresting improvisations. When the mood strikes or strikes out, she can purr a child to sleep with breezy Rio intonations or erupt into thunder and lightening on steroids in her unbowlderized “paraphrase of the world.” Fuller punctuates her solos with clusters of notes that are like windows that open and shut down on feelings that are perfectly matched to the volatility and frenzied dynamic of the big city.

In the spirit of the age, Fuller is thoroughly post-modern, an electric glide in metropolitan blue, a mix of debonair, daring and defiance; an angelic warrior in the true sense of the word, fighting for her gender, for a palace in the sun, and not afraid to take chances, which don’t always work. Lacking the pipes, her rendition of “Body & Soul,” clipping the Nate King Cole song, was instantly ‘forgettable,’ a small misstep in a continuum of success.

If there is a mood and message that remain constant from one concert to the next it is “Yes we can.” But not like the initial promise that went up in smoke and mirrors. In recognition of her ability and tenacity, and the respect accorded by her peers, Fuller is a role model and inspiration both in out of the jazz.

It’s a hard scrabble world out there and hers is a hard scrabble band, ready to stare down the eye of any storm. When she plays her music speaks, and for that -- audiences are all the wiser, just as jazz is all the richer for having the licks of its angelic warrior in its mix.


John Coltrane
Miles Davis
Thelonius Monk
Charlie Mingus
Oscar Peterson
Charlie Parker
Dizzy Gillespie
Wes Montgomery
Ornette Coleman
Louis Armstrong
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