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Tune by Pianist Sullivan Fortner ’08 Featured on JAZZIZ CD

Dec. 11, 2008

Marci Janas ’91

Sullivan Fortner ’08
Margot I. Schulman
Believe it. Pianist Sullivan Fortner ’08 has hit the big time.

Fortner’s tune, I Can’t Believe This Happened, is included on Jazziz on Disc for October 2008, the companion CD to JAZZIZ magazine. Fortner performs his elegant up-tempo ballad on the recording, joined by Christopher Mees ’09 on bass and Alex Ritz ’08 on drums—members of his eponymous trio—and he is featured in the magazine’s editorial spread. Garroch Neil ’08 and Noah Weiss ’09 engineered the track, which was produced and recorded at the Conservatory in May 2008.

Other schools represented on the CD include Berklee College of Music, the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, among others.

Sullivan, a native of New Orleans, was a member of the Oberlin Jazz Septet (OJS), the Conservatory’s elite student jazz ensemble. Two tours with the OJS (in January 2006 and January 2007) included performances as part of the Richmond (Virginia) Jazz Society’s Guest Educator Series and at Twins Jazz Club in Washington, D.C.; Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus in Philadelphia; Café Bolero in Jacksonville, Florida; the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia (with the Gwen Hughes Trio); and the Jazz Factory in Louisville, Kentucky. He also performed with the OJS at the Detroit International Jazz Festival and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. With his trio, he has appeared at the Bop Stop in Cleveland. He has regularly performed at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, and has traveled throughout Louisiana performing jazz and gospel. He has also performed at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York.

Sullivan has recorded and performed with such luminaries as Albert “Tootie” Heath, Benny Powell, Slide Hampton, Visiting Professor of Jazz Trumpet Marcus Belgrave, and many others. A recent recording session at Nola Studios in New York City reunited him with his former Oberlin classmate, the trumpeter Theo Croker ’07. Theo Croker: In the Tradition, a tribute to Croker’s grandfather, Doc Cheatham, also features Heath and Powell and is available on ARBOR Records.

Sullivan earned a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz piano performance following studies with Professor of African American Music and Chair of the Jazz Studies Department Wendell Logan and Associate Professor of Jazz Piano Dan Wall. He is currently enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, where he is studying with Jason Moran.

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