|Born||March 27, 1976|
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, educator|
|Associated acts||Beyoncé, Nancy Wilson, Sean Jones, Ralph Peterson, T.S. Monk, Jon Faddis, Kit McClure Band|
Tia Fuller (born March 27, 1976) is a saxophonist, composer, and educator, and a member of the all-female band touring with Beyoncé. Fuller is currently a faculty member in the ensembles department at Berklee College of Music.Fuller was a Featured Jazz Musician in Pixar's full length computer-animated feature Soul (2020 film). For the film Fuller plays an alto saxophone with a Vandoren mouthpiece for the character Dorothea Williams. The appearance of Dorothea Williams is influenced by Fuller, and the character's speaking lines are voiced by Angela Bassett.
Fuller was born in Aurora, Colorado to jazz musicians Fred and Elthopia Fuller. Her father, Fred, plays bass and her mother, Elthopia, sings. Her sister, Shamie, is also a jazz musician and educator. She grew up listening to her parents rehearse in the basement of their home, as well as to the music of John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughan and Charlie Parker.
Fuller began playing saxophone in high school, after which she continued her musical education at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, under the tutelage of Joseph Jennings. While there she performed with Ray Charles and in Atlanta's jazz clubs. In 1998, she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, and later went on to complete her master's degree in jazz pedagogy and performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Fuller has regularly performed with a number of jazz artists, including Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ralph Peterson Septet, the T.S. Monk Septet, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, the Rufus Reid Septet, the Sean Jones Quintet and the Nancy Wilson Jazz Orchestra.
Fuller has led a quartet which includes Shamie Royston on piano, Kim Thompson on drums, and Miriam Sullivan on bass, and with whom she has recorded the albums Pillar of Strength (2005, Wambui), Healing Space (2007, Mack Avenue), and Decisive Steps (2010, Mack Avenue).
In 2006, she was a member of the all-female band touring with Beyoncé.
In 2012 she toured with Esperanza Spalding as leader of the Radio Music Society horn section, in which she played saxophone in dialogue with Spalding's scat singing.
In 2019 she recorded with Roy Haynes, Jon Batiste, Linda May Han Oh and Marcus Gilmore for The Walt Disney Company's movie Soul .
She was artist in residence at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.
She teaches at Berklee College of Music
In 1998, Fuller graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in music from Spelman College, and went on to obtain a master's degree in jazz pedagogy and performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
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