Sonny Fortune

Saxophonist, flutist, and multi-reed player Sonny Fortune is a progressive musician with a harmonically aggressive style who came to prominence as a member of trumpeter Miles Davis' fusion groups of the '70s. Born in Philadelphia in 1939, Fortune attended the Wurlitzer and Granoff music schools and performed with local R&B bands in his teens. Influenced early on by such players as Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane, Fortune was 18 before he decided to pursue a career in music exclusively. In 1967 he moved to New York City and quickly found work with several name artists, including drummer Elvin Jones and percussionist Mongo Santamaria, with whom he would play for two years. Around 1970 Fortune was asked join McCoy Tyner's group and ended up performing with the legendary pianist from 1971 to 1973. During this time, Fortune also recorded with drummer Buddy Rich and even turned down an invitation to join Miles Davis' fusion ensemble, choosing to stick with Tyner. However, in 1974 Fortune finally accepted and replaced saxophonist David Liebman in Davis' group. Although he was only with Davis for a year, it was a fruitful time and Fortune appeared on several albums including Big Fun, Get Up with It, Agharta, and Pangaea.