Saxophonist, flutist, and multi-reed player Sonny Fortune was 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.
In the '90s Fortune's solo work kicked into high gear and he released several acclaimed records for Blue Note, including 1994's Four in One, 1995's A Better Understanding, and 1996's From Now On. During the following years Fortune continued to perform around the world and released a steady stream of albums, including his 2000 tribute album In the Spirit of John Coltrane, 2003's Continuum, 2007's standards album You and the Night and the Music, and 2009's live album Last Night at Sweet Rhythm. Fortune died in Manhattan on October 25, 2018 due to complications of a stroke. He was 79 years old. ~ Matt Collar