Decisive Steps

Decisive Steps

Saxophonist and composer Tia Fuller is a member of Beyonce’s all-female band, but she’s also a jazz artist, and on her third release, 2010’s Decisive Steps, she leads an all-female quartet. The album has range: there are hard-driving originals, a funk-track (“Ebb and Flow”), standards, and a cut that features tap dancer Maurice Chestnut (“Steppin”). Fuller’s band — pianist Shamie Royston (Fuller’s sister), bassist Miriam Sullivan, and drummer Kim Thompson — is tight as well as versatile. The complex, high-energy title track has an alto solo by Fuller that dazzles the listener with its lucid contours. Accompanied by Christian McBride on bass and Warren Wolf on vibraphone, Fuller imbues Vernon Duke and Ira Gershwin’s “I Can’t Get Started” with old-school feeling, while an uptempo, swinging take on Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “My Shining Hour” has a distinctly modern vibe thanks to Fuller’s arrangement. “Windsoar,” composed by Royston, is one of the best things here, and her husband Rudy Royston, wrote “Night Glow,” a piece that sports a lovely head played by Fuller on flute and Sean Jones on flugelhorn. 

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