Almost one year ago, on October 25, 2018, the jazz world was shocked and saddened to learn the news of Sonny Fortune’s sudden passing as the result of a cerebral hemorrhage. After months of planning, the Fortune family, along with friends, colleagues and band members of Sonny Fortune are proud to present a memorial service for the legendary saxophonist/composer. The memorial will be held on Monday September 30, 2019, from 6:30PM to 9:00PM at St. Peters Church, 619 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022.

Cornelius “Sonny” Fortune was born on May 19, 1939 in Philadelphia, PA. Growing up in Philly, Sonny was steeped in the city’s vibrant jazz scene with musicians such as Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane, Jimmy Heath and many others. Following his move to New York City in 1967, Fortune began working with the great drummer Elvin Jones, who hired the saxophonist on the basis of the recommendation of Coltrane. Later, Sonny played a major role in some of the most significant jazz bands in the history of the genre including Mongo Santamaria, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Nat Adderley, Buddy Rich and many others.

Fortune released his debut recording as a leader, Long Before Our Mothers Cried, on the legendary Strata East label, in 1967. The date featuring trumpeter Charles Sullivan and pianist Stanley Cowell established Fortune as one of the most important bandleaders of the day. In the ensuing years he recorded more than twenty more critically acclaimed albums featuring many of jazz’s most creative instrumentalists, including pianists Kenny Barron, John Hicks and Larry Willis. Fortune remained active up until his final days playing with his own quartet with pianist Michael Cochrane, bassist Calvin Hill and drummer Steve Johns, as well as with the all-star cooperative group Four Generations of Miles, with fellow Davis alumni Mike Stern, Buster Williams and Jimmy Cobb.

Please join us in a very well deserved tribute to one of the true giants of the saxophone hosted by Rob Crocker from WBGO 88.3 FM and a stellar line up of world class jazz artists, including Kenny Barron, Ronnie Burrage, George Cables, Ron Carter, Billy Hart, Azar Lawrence, Jimmy Owens, Odean Pope, Wallace Roney, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Buster Williams, Larry Willis, David Williams and many others.

Family and Friends of Sonny Fortune