A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by Rolf Freiberger

On Friday, August 16th and Saturday, August 17th, The Jazz Gallery will be hosting pianist Sullivan Fortner as he debuts his newly commissioned composition, titled “Expansions: Suite in ‘B’ for Jazz Quintet.”

Fortner is a native of New Orleans and the music of his hometown serves as part of the inspiration for this new composition, along with the music of Latin America and South India. He holds a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music, as well as a Bachelor’s from Oberlin College, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship.

When asked about writing his new suite, the pianist stated:

Writing this piece for me was difficult for two reasons. On one hand, I never received a commission to write anything before and I didn’t feel I had the ability or the time to write such an extensive piece of music. On the other hand, I knew that in order for the piece to be effective I would have to dig into personal experiences and try to articulate my emotions musically. So, I began the writing process with a few simple ideas and motifs, which eventually expanded into a 6-movement suite.

On this occasion, Fortner will be joined by a crew of highly accomplished young musicians including trumpeter and fellow Oberlin alumnus Theo Croker. Croker (who is the grandson of jazz great, Doc Cheatham) has been described Donald Byrd as a musician “who will redirect the flow, change and alter the current of today’s New Jazz.” Similarly, saxophonist Tivon Pennicott has been shaping the path of jazz to come by performing with such giants as Ari Hoenig, Dave Liebman and Randy Brecker. Bassist Aidan Carroll has shared the stage with such artists as Donald Fagen, John Abercrombie, and Ben Monder, and most recently has been on tour with vocalist Melody Gardot. Drummer Joe Dyson (who like Fortner, hails from New Orleans) “plays with an effortlessness that seems impossible,” according to The Oregon Music News.

Sullivan Fortner and his group will perform at The Jazz Gallery this Friday, August 16th and Saturday, August 17th, 2013. Sets are at 9 and 10:30 p.m., $20 general admission and FREE for Members and SummerPass holders. Purchase tickets here.