Tia Fuller explores strength and vulnerability in performance
This blog post is by Lauren Burns, a junior journalism and history double major.
Tia Fuller’s performance at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on April 9 had a specific focus: the Angelic Warrior. At the performance’s start, a recording described the term. Angels are “peaceful, humble insightful and remain connected to the all mightyful,” while warriors are “always maintaining strength, [they] move in faith and not fear.” At the end of the intro recording, Fuller entered the Kogod Theatre playing her saxophone and joined the rest of her band.
Fuller ended the concert with the title track from her latest album, Angelic Warrior. She urged the audience to maintain balance between the angel and warrior within and to thank those who helped get them there.
Fuller played with a sense of joyfulness and clear attention to technical detail. The members of her quartet were also impressive musicians, with her sister Shamie Royston on piano, her brother-in-law Rudy Royston on drums and Mimi Jones on bass. Fuller played one composition inspired by the Roystons, who have been married for 18 years. Fuller said the composition was a celebration of the couple and the “beauty of the rumbles” found in long-term relationships.
The quartet kept in-sync with a quick glances and nods to each other, and Fuller played with her eyes closed at some points, embodying the transcendent feel of her music.
Near the end of the concert, Fuller performed the jazz standard “Body and Soul,” showing off her vocal chops. Encouraging the audience to join her, Fuller called the audience to scat sing following her lead. Although the audience at the Kogod Theatre might not be debuting as jazz performers anytime soon, Fuller’s tutorial was warmly received with clapping and laughter.
Fuller ended the concert with the title track from her latest album, Angelic Warrior. She urged the audience to maintain balance between the angel and warrior within and to thank those who helped get them there. The bright track ended with an explosive drum solo courtesy of Royston. Afterwards, Fuller exclaimed, “I’ve never seen him do that last thing in my life, and we’ve been playing together for 18 years!”
When she’s not performing, Fuller is a full-time professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston and was also a member of Beyoncé’s all-female touring band.