January 11, 2011 — Saxophonist Sonny Fortune will perform on Jan. 28 at the University of Virginia, presented by WTJU and the Charlottesville Jazz Society.
WTJU (91.1 FM) is U.Va.'s radio station.
Fortune will perform at 8 p.m. in Brooks Hall, along with the Mike Wade Quartet, which hails from Cincinnati.
Originally from Philadelphia, Fortune decided to pursue a career in jazz at the age of 18. In 1967, he moved to New York, saying "Eventually, in order to find out if you really have what it takes, you have to go to the center, and that's New York."
After a brief stint with Elvin Jones and Frank Foster, Fortune, an early admirer of John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins, performed with Ramòn "Mongo" Santamaria and McCoy Tyner. During this period, Fortune cemented his reputation as an instrumental innovator with his contributions on Tyner's albums, "Sahara," "Song For My Lady" and "Song of the New World."
In 1974, Miles Davis offered Fortune a job in his legendary jazz/rock fusion group. Now accomplished on clarinet, flute and soprano, tenor and baritone sax, Fortune recorded four albums with Davis, including "Big Fun" and "Get Up With It."
Fortune has recorded with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Elvin Jones, Oliver Nelson and George Benson. In 1975, he marked his debut as a band leader with two critically acclaimed albums for A&M Records, "Awakening" and "Waves of Dreams." He has released numerous recordings since then, including three Blue Note CDs that received rave reviews.
Joining Fortune at U.Va. will be trumpeter Mike Wade, who was named one of the top 10 unsigned jazz brass players by Jazziz magazine. He has performed or recorded with such artists as David "Fathead" Newman, Clark Terry and Jon Hendricks.
Tickets, available only at the door, are $15 general admission, $10 for students and for members of the Charlottesville Jazz Society. For information, visit the websites of the jazz society or WTJU, or call 434-249-6191.