Tia Fuller

Last updated
Tia Fuller
Tia fuller 06N6587.jpg
Tia Fuller, Moers Festival 2011
Background information
Born (1976-03-27) March 27, 1976 (age 45)
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
Labels Mack Avenue
Associated acts Beyoncé, Nancy Wilson, Sean Jones, Ralph Peterson, T.S. Monk, Jon Faddis, Kit McClure Band
Website www.tiafuller.com
Tia Fuller in concert Tia Fuller in concert.jpg
Tia Fuller in concert

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. [1] 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. [2]



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. [3] [4]

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 . [2]

She was artist in residence at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. [5] [6]

She teaches at Berklee College of Music [7]


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.


As leader


As sideman

with Joe Budden
with Miki Hayama
with Sean Jones
with Brad Leali
with Nancy Wilson

Related Research Articles

Joe Lovano American jazz flautist, saxophonist, clarinettist

Joseph Salvatore Lovano is an American jazz saxophonist, alto clarinetist, flautist, and drummer. He has earned a Grammy Award and several mentions on Down Beat magazine's critics' and readers' polls. He is married to jazz singer Judi Silvano with whom he records and performs. Lovano was a longtime member of a trio led by drummer Paul Motian.

Kenny Garrett American musician

Kenny Garrett is an American post-bop jazz saxophonist and flautist who gained recognition in his youth as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and of Miles Davis's band. Since then, he has pursued a solo career.

Sadao Watanabe (musician) Japanese jazz musician (born 1933)

Sadao Watanabe is a Japanese jazz musician who plays alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone, and flute. He is known for his bossa nova recordings, although his work encompasses many styles, with collaborations from musicians all over the world.

Terri Lyne Carrington Musical artist

Terri Lyne Carrington is an American jazz drummer, composer, producer, and educator. She has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Clark Terry, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, Yellowjackets, and many others. She toured with each of Hancock's musical configurations between 1997 and 2007.

Chiara Civello Musical artist

Chiara Civello is an Italian singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist.

Sean Jones (trumpeter) Musical artist

Sean Jones is an American trumpeter and composer featured on the 2007 Grammy Award-winning album Turned to Blue by Nancy Wilson. As a bandleader, Jones has released seven albums under the Mack Avenue Records label. He performs with his own groups both nationally and internationally. Jones often plays at music venues and jazz festivals such as the Monterey Jazz Festival, Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Vail Jazz Festival and Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Emily Elbert Musical artist

Emily Elbert is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist based in Los Angeles, California. She has independently released five albums: Bright Side (2006), Proof (2010), and Alive, In Love (2011), Evolve (2013), and We Who Believe in Freedom (2018), as well as numerous singles.

Esperanza Spalding American jazz bassist and singer

Esperanza Emily Spalding is an American jazz bassist, singer, songwriter, and composer. Her accolades include four Grammy Awards, a Boston Music Award, and a Soul Train Music Award.

<i>Esperanza</i> (Esperanza Spalding album) 2008 studio album by Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza is the second studio album by the American bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding. It was released on May 20, 2008.

Elizabeth & the Catapult

Elizabeth & The Catapult is a Brooklyn-based project by the American singer-songwriter Elizabeth Ziman. She is best known for her 2009 album Taller Children, produced by Mike Mogis and Dan Molad and released on Verve Forecast.

Javon Jackson American musician (born 1965)

Javon Anthony Jackson is an American jazz tenor saxophonist, bandleader, and educator. He first became known as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1987 until Blakey's death in 1990. and went on to release 20 recordings as a bandleader and tour and record on over 150 CDs with jazz greats including Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Betty Carter, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Stanley Turrentine and Ben E. King.

The Panama Jazz Festival was founded in September 2003 by pianist Danilo Pérez.

Darren Barrett Canadian jazz musician

Darren Barrett is a Canadian jazz musician who won the 1997 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, and is a professor at Berklee College of Music.

The American Music Program Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra is a nationally known jazz band in Portland, Oregon and magnet school program, professionally training young musicians from 7th-12th grade, under the direction of jazz saxophonist Devin Phillips.

Thara Memory was a trumpeter and educator from Eatonville, Florida. He attended Alabama State University and Marylhurst University. He lived in Portland, Oregon, United States from the 1980s until his death in 2017.

Tupac Mantilla Musical artist

Tupac Mantilla is a percussionist from Bogotá, Colombia. He is the founder and director of the Global Percussion Network PERCUACTION and the director of the percussion group Tekeyé. He has worked with Bobby McFerrin, Esperanza Spalding, Zakir Hussain, Bill Cosby, Danilo Perez, Julian Lage, Bob Moses, and Medeski, Martin and Wood.

Ron Blake is an American saxophonist, band leader, composer, and music educator. Born in the Virgin Islands, he attended Northwestern University, and now lives in New York City. Blake began studying guitar at 8 and turned to the saxophone at 10. He taught at the University of South Florida before moving to New York, where he spent five years in trumpeter Roy Hargrove's quintet, and seven years in flugelhornist Art Farmer's group. He completed a master's degree at NYU in 2010. Blake co-founded the 21st Century Band and the Tahmun record label with Dion Parson in 1998. He is a member of NBC's Saturday Night Live Band, and the Grammy award-winning Christian McBride Big Band. He is a professor of Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School. He has more than sixty credits on his discography as a sideman and continues to work as a performer.

Sara Caswell American violinist

Sara Caswell is an American violinist who has worked with 9 Horses, Esperanza Spalding, and David Krakauer.

<i>12 Little Spells</i> 2018 studio album by Esperanza Spalding

12 Little Spells is the seventh studio album by American jazz bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding. It was released on October 19, 2018, by Concord Records. Each song was released individually from October 7–18, 2018 and each track also contains a music video. At the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2020, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Maeve Gilchrist is a Scottish harpist and composer currently living in New York City. She is known for a combining traditional folk music, jazz, improvisation, and experimentation.


  1. "Berklee Ensembles: Latin Jazz, South American Folkloric Music, and More". Berklee College of Music . Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Berklee Professor Brings Soul Music to Life". Berklee.edu. December 23, 2020.
  3. "Beyoncé sax player Tia Fuller lands in SF Bay Area for 3 shows". The Mercury News. 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  4. "Beyoncé and Beyond" . Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  5. Adams, Jordan. "Patti LaBelle Headlines the Eclectic Burlington Discover Jazz Festival". Seven Days. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  6. Correspondent, Tom Huntington Arts. "Discover Jazz Festival: Fresh sounds abound in FlynnSpace". Rutland Herald. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  7. "Tia Fuller, Fierce Woman In Jazz, Takes Shot At 1st Grammy". www.wbur.org. Retrieved 2019-06-14.