When Grammy-nominated artist, Tia Fuller picks up her sax to play, something amazing happens as the reverberations of her musical elixir fill the room. Balancing both worlds of performance and education, it is understood why this touring artist and full-time professor (at the Berklee College of Music), has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, (Magna Cum Laude) and Master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder (Summa Cum Laude), was selected to be a member of the all-female band touring with R&B star, Beyoncé. As part of the I AM..Sasha Fierce and Beyoncé Experience World Tour promoting the superstar’s CD’s, world-wide. She is a featured soloist on the Beyoncé Experience DVD (Me, Myself and I), I AM Yours I DVD (Wynn Theatre) and also appeared on number of major television shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, Good Morning America, BET Awards, American Music Awards, 2010 Grammy Awards and a featured soloist with Beyonce for President Obama at the White House.
An accomplished performer in her own right, Tia has recorded five CDs with her quartet. Her most recent album “Diamond Cut,” received a Grammy-nomination in the Best Instrumental Jazz category, produced by Terri Lyne Carrington, which features Jack Dejohnette, and Dave Holland. The first self-produced, Pillar of Strength (2005/Wambui). Her sophomore release, Healing Space (2007/Mack Avenue), is an offering of “melodic medicine” and healing agent. Her third CD Decisive Steps, 2nd under the Mack Avenue label, which has received: the #1 JazzWeek rating for two weeks straight, #3 in JET magazines top jazz cd’s, and nominated for Best Jazz album for JazzWeek. And in 2012, she released her 4th album, Angelic Warrior, which received praise from Wall Street Journal, New York Times and numerous jazz publications. Tia’s quartet has performed world-wide, including: Angola, Croatia, South Africa, North Sea, Umbria, Edinburgh jazz festivals, and NYC’s prestigious Lincoln Center’s: Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, just to name a few.
Tia can also be seen touring regularly with a number of bands, including: Terri Lyne Carrington’s grammy-winning ‘Mosaic’ Project and Money Jungle ‘Provocative in Blue’, the assistant musical director for Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society tour, and Dianne Reeves’ grammy winning, Beautiful Life tour. She has also performed with luminaries such as: Ralph Peterson Septet, Rufus Reid Quintet, Geri Allen, the Nancy Wilson Jazz Orchestra, Wycliff Gordan Septet, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Chaka Kahn, Ledisi, Kelly Rowland, Jay-Z, Jill Scott, Pattie Labelle, Sheila E, Valerie Simpson, Patrice Rushen, Erica Badu and Aretha Franklin.
Fuller is the recent poster child for J.Jill clothing, “Blues and Rhythm” campaign. Her life-sized picture is featured in more than 270 display windows of J.Jill stores, nationwide. In addition, she is also featured in an exclusive Vanity Fair magazine shoot, celebrating women in jazz. Furthermore, her recent NBCnews.com opinion piece on ‘Sexism in the World of Jazz,’ her performance/ interview on TV One’s “Sister Circle,” and Associate Press article, have all gotten rave reviews.
The dynamic saxophonist has also graced the cover of Downbeat Magazine, Jazztimes Magazine, Saxophone Today, and Jazz Education Journal. In addition, she has received numerous awards and marks of distinction including, winning Jazztimes Jazz Critics Poll for best alto saxophonist (2018), and Downbeat Critic’s Poll-‘Rising Star’ two years in a row for Soprano Sax (2014), Alto Sax and Flute (2013). In 2018, she has also received the Benny Golson Award from Howard University, the Distinguished Alumae Award and commencement speaker from the University of Colorado at Boulder and appointed as 2018’s Artist-in-Residence at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
As a Professor at Berklee College of Music, she also shares her expertise teaching over 70 students per week; directing the Rainbow big band and All Stars, the Esperanza Ensemble, repertoire class, jazz improvisation, two jazz combos and the Christian Mcbride Ensemble. In addition, she produces and directs large production ground-breaking ensembles such as, the Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Ariana Grande Ensembles. These groups focus on cross-collaboration throughout the college and is reflective of an “A-list” tour/production incorporating musicians, choreography, strings, dancers, video and lighting. Between balancing her teaching and tour life, Tia feels that she is fulfilling her purpose here on this earth, that is to “serve as a light for others.”