Grammy-nominated saxophonist and Spelman College alumnus Tia Fuller is more than a talented composer, bandleader and educator. She is a visionary – a cultural innovator keeping the tradition of women in jazz alive, and her latest achievement is proof of that. Last December, the award-winning recording artist served as the sound behind the music of animated character “Dorothea Williams,” the sassy saxophonist (voiced by actress Angela Bassett) from the blockbuster Pixar film Soul.
This year, Fuller, a professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, is continuing her mission of music education and women’s empowerment with an online master class, an Instagram Live series and a new album.
Fuller has more than earned her status as one of the jazz industry’s most accomplished artists. Her storied career includes touring with superstar Beyonce, appearing in a national ad campaign for women’s retailer J. Jill, gracing the covers of Downbeat and JazzTimes, and a feature in Vanity Fair.
With so much success under her belt, Fuller has her eyes set on mentoring and nurturing the next generation of musicians. She is launching a subscription-based online saxophone education series entitled “The Sax Loft” with celebrated, Grammy-winning saxophonists Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band) and Kirk Whalum. The online course will feature tutorials and techniques to enhance a player’s improvisation and solo skills as well as masterclasses by world-class saxophonists.
In celebration of Black History Month, Fuller will kick off her “Talk to Tia” Instagram Live series (@tiafuller1) on Wednesday, February 3 with special guest trumpeter Arnetta Johnson. These bi-weekly conversations will target current and post-graduate students and cover a variety of topics, including transitioning from college to the “real world” and the ups and downs of a working musician. Drummer Tyson D. Jackson will join Tia for an IG talk on February 17.
Also in the works is a “Black Girls Rock” virtual roundtable for Berklee students. She is also working on her next album with plans on a late Fall or early 2022 release.
“While there is so much more I’d like to accomplish in my career, I’m really focusing this year on investing in future musicians and advocating for more awareness of women in jazz,” says Fuller. “As an artist, I never wanted to just make music. My dream is to contribute to the culture in a way that ensures that jazz will thrive for generations to come.”