Tia Fuller and her quartet make their Strathmore debut this week, in a program featuring her latest album, "Angelic Warrior." The saxophonist, who toured the world as a member of Beyonce's all-girl band, is winding down her international tour with bassist Esperanza Spalding while balancing a U.S. tour with Terri Lyne Carrington's Mosaic Project that will take them to Baltimore's Peabody Institute on Saturday.
"My inspiration for recording 'Angelic Warrior' was two-fold," Fuller said. "First, I wanted to welcome a lot of special guests like John Patitucci, Dianne Reeves, Mimi Jones and my big sister Shamie Royston and her husband Rudy. Secondly, I wanted to celebrate the people who have been angels and warriors in my life.
"The best part of it is to know as a composer that what I hear in my head is even better in the studio. It's exciting to bring to life your own creation and to share it with the people I love. I've always had a strong connection with my mom, dad and sister and looked to my family for inspiration. Two-thirds of the quartet I bring to Strathmore are family members, Shamie on piano and Rudy on bass, with Otis Brown on drums."
Groomed from childhood to become a musician, Fuller studied classical piano, the flute and the saxophone, firming her love of jazz by high school. While attending Spelman College in Atlanta, she had the joy of playing with the great Ray Charles and perfecting her skills at local jazz clubs. After graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in music, she headed to the University of Colorado for a master's degree in Jazz Pedagogy and Performance.
|Tia Fuller Quartet|
|Where: Mansion at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda|
|When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday|
|Info: $35; 301-581-5100; strathmore.org|
Her career has thrived on frequent performances with such groups as the T.S. Monk Septet, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, the Sean Jones Quintet and the Nancy Wilson Jazz Orchestra. Upon becoming a member of Beyonce's all-female touring band in 2007, Fuller utilized the experience to learn how that world operates. She was impressed by the way Beyonce handled herself as an artist and worked closely with her musicians.
"When I step on stage, I give thanks to my Creator for the opportunity to share my music. There are many musicians out there who have a great deal of talent but are not recognized, so I'm especially fortunate and feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful career. I want the Strathmore audience to be inspired by our music so that whatever they want in their lives will seem possible."