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Tia Fuller Takes 'Decisive Steps' Toward Solo Career

  • Doug Levine

Tia Fuller's "Decisive Steps" CD cover

Tia Fuller's "Decisive Steps" CD cover

Touring the world with R&B superstar Beyonce might be the pinnacle of success for most musicians. But, for jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller, being a member of Beyonce's backup band has worked wonders for her rising solo career.

Tia Fuller was steadily working her way up the ranks in the jazz world when opportunity came knocking. In 2007, she was invited to play alto sax on "The Beyonce Experience" concert tour, in support of the singer's second solo album, B'Day. As Tia recalls, joining the band and performing in more than 90 venues across five continents was a dream come true. Fortunately, she was in the right place at the right time, and, two years later, she again packed her bags and embarked on Beyonce's next live outing, the "I Am … Tour."

The tours were both exhilarating and grueling, but night-after-night, Tia managed to try out some jazzy new solos.

Tia has never strayed far from her jazz roots. She grew up near Denver, Colorado, listening to recordings by John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughan and Charlie Parker. Graduating with music degrees from Spelman College and the University of Colorado, Tia moved to New York where she performed and recorded with a who's who of jazz greats.

She recently recorded her third solo album, Decisive Steps. It's comprised mostly of original tunes, but also includes the jazz standards "My Shining Hour" and "I Can't Get Started." The track "Ebb and Flow," featuring Tia's friend and mentor Christian McBride on bass, taps into her philosophical nature.

"In preparing for recording and taking those aggressive steps, you have to be one with the spirit, allowing the ebb and flow of the physical and spiritual to become one," Tia explains.