Sonny Fortune was born on May 19, 1939 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After moving to New York City in 1967 he recorded and appeared live with drummer Elvin Jones’s group. In 1968 he was a member of Mongo Santamaria’s band. He subsequently performed with singer Leon Thomas and then with McCoy Tyner from 1971–1973.
In 1974 Sonny replaced Dave Liebman in Miles Davis’s ensemble and remained until spring 1975. He went on to join Nat Adderley after his brief tenure with Davis, and then formed his own group, recording two albums for A&M’s Horizon label. During the 1990s, he recorded several acclaimed albums for Blue Note.
Alto saxophonist and flautist Sonny Fortune also plays the soprano, tenor and baritone saxophone and clarinet. He has performed with Roy Brooks, Buddy Rich, George Benson, Rabih Abou Khalil, Roy Ayers, Oliver Nelson, Gary Bartz, Rashied Ali and Pharoah Sanders, and was a part of the live album The Atlantic Family Live at Montreux. He continues to perform, record and tour.
Kidd Jordan was born Edward Jordan on May 5, 1935 in Crowley, Louisiana and grew up listening to Zydeco and blues. His first instruments were C-melody and alto saxophones and while in high school he began performing stock arrangements for three or four saxophones with some older musicians. He read transcribed solos in Down Beat magazine, credits Illinois Jacquet with the idea of free improvisation and the free jazz of Ornette Coleman.
Kidd majored in music education and after completing his degree at Southern University in Baton Rouge, he relocated to New Orleans and began playing R&B gigs with Guitar Slim, Ray Charles, Big Maybelle, Big Je Turner, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Little Esther, Lena Horne and others. He taught at Southern University New Orleans from 1974 to 2006.
Jordan performs on tenor, baritone, soprano, alto, C-melody and sopranino saxophones as well as contrabass and bass clarinets. He has recorded with a wide selection of musicians in styles ranging from R&B to avant-garde jazz, including Stevie Wonder, Archie Shepp, Fred Anderson, Ellis Marsalis, Ornette Coleman, Cannonball Adderley, Ed Blackwell and Cecil Taylor on the short list.
Jordan taught Donald Harrison and Branford Marsalis, and Charles Joseph the co-founder of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. He was an instructor at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and suffered the loss of his home and possessions during Hurricane Katrina. He recorded his album Palm of Soul shortly afterwards, that has had a track featured on the TV series Treme as well as making a guest appearance. The multi-instrumentalist continues to perform and teach.
George Rufus Adams was born on April 29, 1940 in Covington, Georgia and his musical style is deeply rooted in the blues and in primarily that of African-American popular music. The tenor’s greatest influences seem to have been Rahsaan Roland Kirk and the adventurous edginess of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler.
George played with tremendous intensity and passion, as well as lyricism and subtlety. At times he bent over backwards when playing, almost ending up on his back. He and Don Pullen shared a musical vision and their quartet straddled the range from R&B to the avant-garde.
One of Adams’ last recordings was America for Blue Note Records consisting of classic American songs like Tennessee Waltz, You Are My Sunshine and Take Me Out To The Ballgame as well as a few original songs that articulate his positive view of his country and the gifts it had given him. It also includes The Star Spangled Banner and America The Beautiful.
Tenor saxophonist, flautist and bass clarinetist George Adams, best known for his work with Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Roy Haynes, and in the quartet he co-led with pianist Don Pullen, passed away on November 14, 1992 in New York City.
He was also known for his idiosyncratic singing he left for posterity two-dozen albums as a leader and another 25 as a sideman over the course of his sort career.
Flip Phillips was born Joseph Edward Filipelli on March 26, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York. In the mid-1940s, he was one of the anchors of the Woody Herman band, and also played with the Woodchoppers, a small spin-off group that Herman led. After this period he went out on his own and joined Jazz at the Philharmonic. His deep, strong and articulate playing with a very full sound contrasted him to his successors such as Stan Getz in the subsequent Herman bands.
Phillips recorded extensively for Clef Records, now Verve, in the 1940s and 1950s, including a 1949 album of small-group tracks under his leadership, with Buddy Morrow, Tommy Turk, Kai Winding, Sonny Criss, Ray Brown and Shelly Manne. He accompanied Billie Holiday on her 1952 Billie Holiday Sings album. He became a frequent player at the Odessa Jazz Party in Odessa, Texas from 1971 to 1991.
Tenor saxophonist and clarinet player Flip Phillips, best known for his work with Jazz At The Philharmonic from 1946 to 1957, passed away in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on August 17, 2001 at the age of 86.
Zoltan Sagi was born in Hungary on February 10, 1956. He attended the Guildhall School of Music studying clarinet with Robert Earle and later Frank Allen at Warwick University. Self-taught on saxophone, he draw much of his inspiration from Johnny Hodges, Cannonball Adderley and Stan Getz.
His early career was spent playing in dance bands and in New Orleans jazz genre playing in festivals stateside and overseas. This was followed by a period as an educator as Director of Music and a country music service manager. He spent two and a half years extensively touring the world with Chris Barber.
Zoltan has recorded numerous CD’s and other recordings as a freelance session musician and has also appeared with such musicians as Earl Warren, Benny Waters, Kenny Davern, Bob Humphrey Lyttleton, Marty Grosz, Digby Fairweather, Duncan Swift, , Janusz Carmello, Bill Coleman, Greg Abate, Alan Barnes, Paul Degville and John Barnes among many others.
Has worked extensively both in this country and abroad. His experience spans from New Orleans jazz to jazz fusion. Sagi has been a part of several groups including Harlem, Swing Syndicate and The Charleston Chasers. Clarinetist Zoltan Sagi also plays all saxophones and currently performs with the Sticky Wicket Big Band, the Big Chris Barber Band, the Stars of British Jazz and with his own quartets and trios.