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Sonny Fortune

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Sonny Fortune
Sonny Fortune, April 2007
Sonny Fortune, April 2007
Background information
Birth nameCornelius Fortune
Born(1939-05-19)May 19, 1939
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S
DiedOctober 25, 2018(2018-10-25) (aged 79)
New York, U.S.
GenresJazz, free jazz, jazz fusion
Instrument(s)Saxophone, flute, clarinet
Years active1966–2018
LabelsPrestige, Strata-East, Horizon, Atlantic, Blue Note

Cornelius "Sonny" Fortune (May 19, 1939[1] – October 25, 2018)[2] was an American jazz saxophonist. He played soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones, clarinet, and flute.


He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.[1] After moving to New York City in 1967, Fortune recorded and appeared live with drummer Elvin Jones's group.[1] In 1968, he was a member of Mongo Santamaría's band.[1] He performed with singer Leon Thomas, and with pianist McCoy Tyner (1971–73).[1] In 1974, Fortune replaced Dave Liebman in Miles Davis's ensemble, remaining until spring 1975,[1] when he was succeeded by Sam Morrison. Fortune can be heard on the albums Big Fun, Get Up With It, Agharta, and Pangaea, the last two recorded live in Japan.[3]

Fortune joined Nat Adderley after his brief tenure with Davis, then formed his own group in June 1975, recording two albums for the Horizon Records. During the 1990s, he recorded several albums for Blue Note. He has also performed with Roy Brooks, Buddy Rich, George Benson, Rabih Abou Khalil, Roy Ayers, Oliver Nelson, Gary Bartz, Rashied Ali, and Pharoah Sanders, as well as appearing on the live album The Atlantic Family Live at Montreux (1977).[3]

Fortune died of a stroke at the age of 79 in October 2018.[2]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Rabih Abou-Khalil

With Nat Adderley

With Billy Bang

With Kenny Barron

With Gary Bartz

  • Alto Memories (Verve, 1994)

With George Benson

With Miles Davis

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Elvin Jones

With Charles Mingus

With Alphonse Mouzon

With Pharoah Sanders

With Melvin Sparks

With Leon Spencer

With Charles Sullivan

With McCoy Tyner

With Mal Waldron

With Mongo Santamaría

  • Stone Soul (1969)



  1. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 895. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b "Sonny Fortune, Stalwart Saxophonist Of New York, Dies At 79". Npr.org. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Collar. "Sonny Fortune". AllMusic. Retrieved June 6, 2017.

External links[edit]