Tia Fuller offers ‘A Fuller Sound’ for CAU-Morehouse-Spelman homecoming

Tia Fuller-saxophonist-A Fuller Sound
Photo courtesy Keith Major

After three well-received jazz albums, saxophonist Tia Fuller has landed on stages with Beyonce, Dianne Reeves, Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae.

Tonight, her straight-ahead jazz chops bring Fuller to Atlanta for “A Fuller Sound,” kicking off the Clark Atlanta-Morehouse-Spelman homecoming festivities at 595 North, alongside WERC Crew’s Xavier BLK working the turntables.

As a magna cum laude Spelman graduate, playing for homecoming is a fitting enterprise.

Keep reading for Fuller’s aim when she performs, why Atlanta serves as fertile ground for artists, and what she learned from Bey.

What do you hope your audience walk away with after your performance?  

“I always hope that my audience walks away feeling uplifted and inspired after my performances. I want them to feel empowered, self-assured and confident that they can do the unimaginable, that they can pursue their wildest dreams and inspire others to do the same. I also want them to feel connected to the music of the ’90s, as my sound is all-encompassing and nostalgic. It takes you there and back.”

Tia Fuller-595 North-A Fuller Sound

Any other plans for “A Fuller Sound”?

“I hope to take ‘A Fuller Sound’ around the country and maybe even around the world, from colleges and universities to jazz festivals and performing arts centers. There are creative people that could use ‘A Fuller Sound’ for inspiration.”

What brings you back to ATL to perform? 

“My hometown is Aurora, Colo., and Atlanta is my second home. I have a lot of ties to the city. I have great friends in town. Atlanta is also the fertile ground that serves as a strong foundation for me spiritually and musically.

“During my time at Spelman, I practiced on the saxophone eight hours a day and completed a spiritual rites of passage, which allowed me to exercise and expound my personal relationship with God. So many of my spiritual brothers and sisters have exceeded their goals here, and I’m happy and amazed to have witnessed that.

“I appreciate sowing into Atlanta’s fertile ground, a place where many plant their seeds of life, fertilize them and watch them grow.”

You have worked alongside notable artists and musicians over the years. What have you learned from those experiences?

“I am incredibly fortunate to have worked with some of the biggest, baddest musicians of our time. As you can imagine, I’ve learned a lot and have grown professionally over the years. A lesson that’s near and dear to me comes from Beyonce, who taught me to never accept ‘no’ for an answer. There’s always a ‘yes.’ You just have to work for it. She also taught me to maintain a crystallized vision when multitasking as band leader, businesswoman and musician.”

What differentiates the music scene in ATL from the rest of the world?   

“Atlanta is a city with blended sounds. People have migrated here from all over the world. There are opportunities to become exposed to multiple genres of music and work with other talented performers. It’s what makes the city so unique. Atlanta is influential in that it allows artists to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new. You just have to be open to it. And that’s what ‘A Fuller Sound’ is all about.”

— Big thanks to Aikeem Hunter for his contribution to this article.

ChanteSez … ArOus yourself

Arous front

“Awaken your senses,” proclaims the flier for ArOus, an event designed to connect Atlanta to a variety of visual art and music — in a sexy way for the inaugural event Friday, Feb. 21, at Spring 4th Center.

With Sky Hy, Madam CJ and Rahbi Raw performing, along with a set from DJ Tabone, the event is off to a solid start. Exhibitions from local artists that play up the sensual theme will stiffen the vibe for sure.

Stay tuned for more details.

ChanteSez … Listen to a titillating Mo Audio today!

Madam CJ

What’s on tap for Mo Audio this week? If listening to the powerfully sexy Madam CJ talk about how she wants to titillate you at her Le Courtesan Et Coquettes Noirs cabaret show on May 19 weren’t enough, trumpeter and all-around musician Dashill Smith gives the rundown on Music in the Park on May 20.

Then, of course, there are the hijinks of Slo Mo founders Carlton Hargro and DJ Larmarrous. I just get to enjoy the fun alongside my co-hosts — and I know you will, too!

Big shouts to Aalyah Duncan of A-List Events Marketing for getting Smith onto the show on such short notice. And for the always lovely Teya for gracing us with her presence while supporting Ms. Madam.

Tune in on ABLRadio.com today at 10 a.m., and again at 6 p.m.

Listen in! Mo Audio launches today on AB+L Radio

Mo Audio launches on AB+L Radio

ChanteSez … there’s always room for Mo Audio. Starting today — and featuring yours truly, along with Carlton Hargro and DJ Larmarrous — the show airs on AB+L Radio at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

I’m excited. I’ve always had a love for radio, as you may have read. And this is such a good opportunity to be a part of the answer to commercial radio. Not to mention that AB+L Radio is headed up by Jabari Graham, whose vision and hustle is infinitely respect-worthy.

The show is presented by Slo Mo magazine, and just like that publication’s principles, Carlton and Larmarrous, it is quite funny. Listeners will be informed in between the laughs, though.

This week’s interview is with Charles Judson, who’d held down the Atlanta Film Festival artistic director position for seven years until recently. Now he’s making moves on his own, with Observe Imagine Create, a film and creative consulting firm.

The music is a main course in itself. You will definitely jam to DJ Larmarrous’ track selection. The Stepkids’ cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is one of many highlights.

So check it out, Wednesdays at 10 and 6. Download the app for your iOS or Android, then listen in at the designated place, at the designated time, so we don’t have to gladly designate yo’ ass!

Past meets present in ‘A Great Day in Atlanta’ photo exhibit


Back in March, “Everbody’s favorite photographer” John Crooms and Kemi Bennings of Evolve! Artists Live invited the movers and shakers of Atlanta’s cultural scene to a reprise of the “A Great Day in Atlanta” photo shoot in honor of the photo’s 10th anniversary.

Bennings first pitched Crooms on the idea in 2002 after seeing the “A Great Day in Harlem” photo circa August 1958 at an artist gathering in Washington, D.C.

Crooms took the original “A Great Day in Atlanta” photo on the steps of the Woodruff Library at Clark Atlanta University on March 30, 2003.

Both photos, along with other images by Crooms, will be exhibited at Art of Giving Gallery on Friday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall will also be on hand to deliver a proclamation honoring the artists that are captured in “A Great Day In Atlanta.”

The show is Crooms’ first solo exhibit, and Bennings is determined to make it special for him. She plans to include “multimedia aspects, captions, things that might now be considered our artifacts in representing the people in the arts and music scene, pop-up performances, a nice reception and congratulatory toast,” according to the Indiegogo page dedicated to the exhibit.

Here’s more on why the photo is significant.

Joi fuses Atlanta music genres at Instru Mental pop-up show

Photo by Carlos Bell
Photo by Carlos Bell

“It’s so time for Atlanta to get into the groove of a cross-section” of music, says soul-rock powerhouse Joi. She would know — she’s pretty much the embodiment of it. And if seeing her perform live for free wasn’t enough, Joi is the magnet drawing artists from across the Atlanta music scene to jam with her tonight at the Music Room.

Instru Mental is a pop-up music show that brings together diverse musicians. The inaugural event features Grammy Award-nominated soul singer Anthony David, Music in the Park founder and Grammy-winning saxophonist Kebbi Williams, rock-leaning guitarist Ricky Fontaine, wicked soul performer Rahbi Raw, all-female rock trio KrystalMeth featuring Thunda Snatcha, eclectic and always dapper MC Jack Preston of the Dojo Collective, house vocalist Miranda Nicole, Richelle AKA Cornbread and other guests — with Joi as the centerpiece of the jam.

“It’s a celebration of various cross-sections of Atlanta’s art collective,” she says.

Joi says she hopes the artists will take a cue from her February performance in Atlanta and do a live remix of their own songs. Instead of a full band, she and her cohorts will be backed by Thunda Snatcha and DJs Princess Cut, Durrty Martinez and Xavier Black.

Maurice Garland will host, kicking things off with a brief Q&A with Joi.

Joi says she’ll likely be heading straight from the airport — she left Atlanta for Los Angeles about two years ago — to the Music Room, site unseen.

She wanted to leverage her ability to pull together artists of all kinds while in town for a hosting gig at ONE Music Fest. Her aim is to connect and build a supportive atmosphere for a wide range of artists. Culture creator and longtime retailer Chilly O was happy to help — landing the Edgewood Avenue venue in just a day or so after Joi pitched the idea.

This is a don’t-miss show that stands to be a template for future events, provided the audience demand is there. Joi is positive it will be. The response so far has been “overwhelmingly beautiful,” she says. Again, she would know. She’s pretty much the embodiment of it.

Whisper Room’s closing brings Brooke Alford to Karma Bistro

Churchill Grounds’ Whisper Room is no misnomer. For 10 years, the small-capacity setting hosted some of jazz music’s biggest names — and the staff would indeed shush you for speaking too loudly as the music played. But as of July 31, the Whisper Room is no more.

While Brooke “Viosocalist” Alford was to be among the accomplished musicians such as Freddie Cole and Russell Gunn that have played at the Whisper Room, the violinist’s show will now take place at Karma Bistro (formerly Echelon 3000) on Thursday, Aug. 15, 8 p.m.

And jazz will play on at Churchill Grounds — which is a couple doors down from the Fox Theatre — but on the cafe side, just as it did with the venue first opened.

Alford’s release party and performance are in honor of her second album, The Viosocalist. Expect violin versions of soul and R&B classics such as Mary J. Blige’s “Love No Limit,” Beyonce’s “Deja Vu,” and Jill Scott’s “Golden.”

Alford has performed with plenty of adult contemporary and smooth jazz artists including Najee, Will Downing and Frank McComb, and has shared the stage with James Ingram, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Alex Bugnon.

Here’s a video to give you a taste of what Alford, her band, Refresh, and their surprise guests will have in store next week. Get your tickets in advance if you can.

First-ever Atlanta Weekender continues through Sunday

For those who want to mix in a little house music with their Dragon*Con and Black Gay Pride plans, consider the Atlanta Weekender. It officially kicked off yesterday.

Atlanta’s finest house and soul music DJs — Kemit, Kai Alce, Salah Ananse and Ramon Rawsoul — are the main attraction, although guests from out of town, including Baltimore’s Karizma who is spinning at Sound Table tonight, will represent as well.

The big event is Sunday’s House in the Park, which moves to Grant Park from Perkerson for the first time.

Here’s an excerpt from my buddy Carlton Hargro, who wrote about it for Creative Loafing.

By now, most dance enthusiasts are aware that Labor Day in Atlanta means it’s time for another installment of House in the Park. This annual outdoor celebration of music and fellowship … featuring the turntable powers of Ramon Rawsoul, DJ Kemit, Kai Alce and Salah Ananse has become a destination for house heads from all over the world for almost a decade.

Check out the full story, which includes a Q&A with Weekender founder Ananse here.

ATL Greenhouse brings house music to Piedmont Park on Saturday

ATL Greenhouse celebrates its fourth year at Piedmont Park on Saturday, and yes, both the weather and the DJs will be hot.

DJ Yusef, Cullen Cole, DJ Theo, and Stan Zeff and DJ BE of Tambor will be playing house music under the pavilion for a mixed crowd of house heads, families enjoying the park and curious onlookers.

While those five DJs round out the organizing crew, special guests DJ Tabone of WRFG-FM’s “The Soul Chamber” and vocalist Sheila Ford add more heat to the bill. Ford will perform around 6 p.m.

“Right now, we are the only ones doing anything at Piedmont as far as soulful house. We wanted to be able to bring different nationalities together to be able to freely express themselves through music and dance at an outdoor event,” DJ Yusef says.

Yusef says the process for obtaining his permit for an event at Piedmont Park was fairly easy, especially once the city and the Conservancy understood the event’s mission. “They were open once we expressed what we were doing and that it was an event that was for all families and children, and the type of music that we’re playing because it doesn’t consist of hip-hop, which is a different cultural thing,” he says. “We play music that people can respond to, relate to, dance to. A lot of the music that we play are spiritual songs, African, things like that. It’s just a matter of convincing them that you’re bringing an event that is family-oriented that’s just a lot of different.”

The event is free and is from noon to 9 p.m.

MC battle pits men vs. women Saturday at Apache Cafe

There’s an MC battle of the sexes going down at Apache Cafe on Saturday, and considering that I’ve heard the fierceness of Cyrano Sinatra in a post-A3C impromptu performance — and with  S. Gold, Joe Stu and Sir Taj filling out the roster — my bet is with the fellas.

But with female MCs Adrift Da Belle, the Born Genius, Kizzy Krew and Suni MF Solomon on hand — particularly Adrift’s strong Atlanta following and Kizzy’s future of rap sound —  the competition will be tough.

It’s also a friendly match-up between Atlanta and the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, with S. Gold, Kizzy and Sinatra repping N.C., and Adrift, Born Genius, Suni MF Solomon, Joe Stu and Sir Taj hailing from the ATL.

“Eargasm Entertainment and No Leaks Entertainment have teamed up to bring ATL underground hip-hop and N.C. hip-hop together for one night only,” says Eargasm talent and PR manager Portia Daniels-Murphy. “We had to go through some struggles behind the scenes to make this happen, but it’s going to be an incredible event.

“We decided that we wanted to expand our brand outside of N.C. and the ATL has such a large pool of independent artists that get support. After attending A3C last year, it was a no-brainer. We knew we had to do a show in Atlanta,” Daniels-Murphy says.

DJ Ill Will is on the decks and the always hype Fort Knox is hosting alongside Blackberri.

$10-$15. Show starts at 10 p.m., courtesy of Eargasm Entertainment — whose Sucker Free Sundays helped Shakedown Street get voted Best Hip-Hop Venue in the Triangle by the Independent Weekly — and Atlanta crew No Leaks Entertainment.