Tia Fuller

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Tia Fuller
Tia Fuller, Moers Festival 2011
Tia Fuller, Moers Festival 2011
Background information
Born (1976-03-27) March 27, 1976 (age 45)
Aurora, Colorado, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, educator
LabelsMack Avenue
Associated actsBeyoncé, Nancy Wilson, Sean Jones, Ralph Peterson, T.S. Monk, Jon Faddis, Kit McClure Band
Tia Fuller in concert

Tia Fuller (born March 27, 1976) is a saxophonist, composer, and educator, and a member of the all-female band touring with Beyoncé. Fuller is currently a faculty member in the ensembles department at Berklee College of Music.[1] Fuller was a Featured Jazz Musician in Pixar's full length computer-animated feature Soul (2020 film). For the film Fuller plays an alto saxophone with a Vandoren mouthpiece for the character Dorothea Williams. The appearance of Dorothea Williams is influenced by Fuller, and the character's speaking lines are voiced by Angela Bassett.[2]


Fuller was born in Aurora, Colorado to jazz musicians Fred and Elthopia Fuller. Her father, Fred, plays bass and her mother, Elthopia, sings. Her sister, Shamie, is also a jazz musician and educator. She grew up listening to her parents rehearse in the basement of their home, as well as to the music of John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughan and Charlie Parker.

Fuller began playing saxophone in high school, after which she continued her musical education at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, under the tutelage of Joseph Jennings. While there she performed with Ray Charles and in Atlanta's jazz clubs. In 1998, she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, and later went on to complete her master's degree in jazz pedagogy and performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Fuller has regularly performed with a number of jazz artists, including Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ralph Peterson Septet, the T.S. Monk Septet, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, the Rufus Reid Septet, the Sean Jones Quintet and the Nancy Wilson Jazz Orchestra.

Fuller has led a quartet which includes Shamie Royston on piano, Kim Thompson on drums, and Miriam Sullivan on bass, and with whom she has recorded the albums Pillar of Strength (2005, Wambui), Healing Space (2007, Mack Avenue), and Decisive Steps (2010, Mack Avenue).

In 2006, she was a member of the all-female band touring with Beyoncé.[3][4]

In 2012 she toured with Esperanza Spalding as leader of the Radio Music Society horn section, in which she played saxophone in dialogue with Spalding's scat singing.

In 2019 she recorded with Roy Haynes, Jon Batiste, Linda May Han Oh and Marcus Gilmore for The Walt Disney Company's movie Soul.[2]

She was artist in residence at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.[5][6]

She teaches at Berklee College of Music[7]


In 1998, Fuller graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in music from Spelman College, and went on to obtain a master's degree in jazz pedagogy and performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.


As leader[edit]

  • Pillar of Strength (Wambui, 2005)
  • Healing Space (Mack Avenue, 2007)
  • Decisive Steps (Mack Avenue, 2010)
  • Angelic Warrior (Mack Avenue, 2012)
  • Diamond Cut (Mack Avenue, 2018)


  • It's Christmas on Mack Avenue (Mack Avenue, 2014)

As sideman[edit]

with Joe Budden
with Miki Hayama
  • Vibrant (Art Union @ Jazz, 2004)
with Sean Jones
  • Eternal Journey (Mack Avenue, 2004)
  • Gemini (Mack Avenue, 2005)
  • Roots (Mack Avenue, 2006)
  • Kaleidoscope (Mack Avenue, 2007)
with Brad Leali
  • Maria Juanez (TCB Music, 2007)
with Nancy Wilson


  1. ^ "Berklee Ensembles: Latin Jazz, South American Folkloric Music, and More". Berklee College of Music. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Berklee Professor Brings Soul Music to Life". Berklee.edu. December 23, 2020.
  3. ^ "Beyoncé sax player Tia Fuller lands in SF Bay Area for 3 shows". The Mercury News. 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  4. ^ "Beyoncé and Beyond". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  5. ^ Adams, Jordan. "Patti LaBelle Headlines the Eclectic Burlington Discover Jazz Festival". Seven Days. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  6. ^ Correspondent, Tom Huntington Arts. "Discover Jazz Festival: Fresh sounds abound in FlynnSpace". Rutland Herald. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  7. ^ "Tia Fuller, Fierce Woman In Jazz, Takes Shot At 1st Grammy". www.wbur.org. Retrieved 2019-06-14.

External links[edit]