During the last summer edition of Umbria Jazz, rising young pianist Sullivan Fortner, 34 years old from New Orleans, shared the stage with vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. They recorded “The Window” with the piano-voice formula. The record was awarded a Grammy. In previous years, Fortner performed solo and with his trio in Orvieto, featuring tap dancer Michela Marino Lerman.
Fortner is a leading figure of the new wave of jazz pianists, especially after winning the Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists.
He has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center and the festivals in Newport and Monterey in this first stage of his career. He played with Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove (he was a member of the last band of the Texan trumpeter), Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, John Scofield, Fred Hersch, DeeDee Bridgewater. He also released his first two recordings as a leader on Impulse!
The son of artists, he began playing as an organist of a Gospel choir (her mother was a conductor). Then, he studied in prestigious institutions such as the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Berklee College of Music.