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Sonny Fortune

WAMC Linda Norris Auditorium
Albany, NY
November 3, 2006

by Jeff Waggoner

Sonny Fortune is an unheralded force of nature on the woodwinds.  An acolyte of Coltrane, few can blow in a non-stop, circular breathing, sheets-of-sound fashion like Fortune does.
The master brought his hail-storm of sound to the WAMC Linda Norris Theater recently and his quartet played many of the tunes on his latest CD – Continuum (Sound Reason).
Fortune is the continuum, which includes what’s been passed along to him from Coltrane and his other major influences – Wayne Shorter, and the late, great Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria.
Fortune’s thunderous original “Trane & Things” – inspired by Coltrane’s version of My Favorite Things – left some in the audience gasping for air. His “Wayne-ish” was for Shorter and “Mongo Blues” for Santamaria.  The beautiful Eden Ahbez ballad, Nature Boy, was one of the few covers he performed.
Fortunately, Fortune had on for his gig the exceptional young jazz pianist Xavier Davis, who provided much needed leavening – some space between sound --  for an evening that was otherwise a torrent of note playing.
Jeff Waggoner has written book, CD and concert reviews for publications such as Metroland, Jazz Times, Blues Access and The New York Times. He lives in Nassau, is a student of jazz saxophone and guitar and can be frequently found at jazz, blues and folk concerts.