Award-Winning Jazz Pianist Sullivan Fortner to Kick Off the Art of Jazz on November 17

The 2018–19 Art of Jazz Series will present the first regional concert by piano sensation Sullivan Fortner, winner of the America Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellowship, and his trio at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on Saturday, November 17, at 8 pm.

Series producer Bruce Eaton will host a pre-concert discussion, “Raise Up Off Me,” on the remarkable life and music of West Coast be-bop piano legend Hampton Hawes at 7 pm. Tickets are $29 and $24 for Albright-Knox Members and can be purchased at the Albright-Knox Admissions Desk or online at Early ticket purchases are highly recommended as Art of Jazz concerts frequently sell out in advance of the concert date. Season tickets at discounted rates are also available through November 17, 2018.

The latest in a line of New Orleans piano wizards stretching back to Jelly Roll Morton, pianist Sullivan Fortner is being hailed as a rapidly ascendant star in the music world, already drawing comparisons to the greats. “Is the pianist Sullivan Fortner something of the Oscar Peterson of the twenty-first century? Let’s just put it this way . . . he’s on his way” ( Since winning the prestigious Cole Porter Fellowship, Fortner has been heard around the world with Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove, whose passing at the age of 49 in early November of this year stunned the jazz world.

2018 has been a monumental year for Fortner. Moments Preserved, his recently-acclaimed second album for Impulse! Records, showcases his mastery of both well-chosen standards and the composition of memorable melodies. Fortner was also a significant contributor to Paul Simon’s latest album, In the Blue Light, and, most recently, toured and recorded in a duo setting with Grammy Award-winning vocal sensation Cecile McLorin Salvant.  Their recording, The Window, continues a collaboration dating back a few years.

Joining Fortner for his performance will be his longtime partner in Roy Hargrove’s band, bassist Ameen Saleem.  Buffalo jazz enthusiast may recall Saleem’s recent visit to Buffalo with the Tod Marcus Quintet for a memorable concert at Pausa Art House presented by JazzBuffalo.   Also joining Fortner will be noted drummer Winard Harper (Harper Brothers, Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Dexter Gordon, Joe Lovano). For more information, visit

Here is a video from 2015 of Sullivan Fortner putting his creative arrangements on the theme from the television show Wheel Of Fortune.  This tune ultimately made it on this recent acclaimed CD Moments Preserved:


Now entering its nineteenth season as the most successful music series of its kind in Western New York history, the Art of Jazz has established the Albright-Knox Auditorium as one of the premier venues to experience live jazz in North America.  This landmark season continues the series tradition presenting some of the brightest international jazz stars—from Grammy Award– and poll-winners to the next generation of jazz legends. The 2018–19 series will continue with Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry (January 27, 2019), Carla Bley “Trios” (March 17, 2019), and the Edmar Castaneda Trio (April 27, 2019).


Individual concert tickets are $29 and $24 for AK Members. Season tickets for all four concerts are available at a discounted rate of $105 ($85 for AK Members). Season tickets are on sale now through November 17, 2018, and can be purchased at the museum or on the Albright-Knox website at

AK Café serves lunch on Sundays from noon to 3 pm and will serve dinner before the concerts on Saturday, November 17, and Saturday, April 27. Reservations are essential; please call 716.270.8223 or reserve online using OpenTable.  

Art of Jazz is produced by Bruce Eaton in association with Tony Zambito and organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. It is supported by Hunt Real Estate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *