“Jazz is typically associated with intimate nightclub settings, so playing outdoors on a larger stage to an audience that sprawls out over a block or more can be disconcerting. Not so for saxophonist Tia Fuller, who says she always makes it a point to get a crowd involved and excited, no matter its size.
“From a physical standpoint, people might not be right out in front of you where you can reach out and grab them,” says Fuller, who will play Saturday on Cecil B. Moore Avenue as part of the 10th annual Jazz on the Ave Music Festival. “I still make sure that I’m talking to people and connecting with them on a musical and a verbal level, just to make sure everybody’s having a good time. That’s the whole point: to hopefully inspire and change some lives in the midst of playing some great music.”
Fuller grew up engaging with audiences, first as a part of her family’s band, Fuller Sound, and later as an in-demand jazz artist playing with Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Sean Jones, and Nancy Wilson. She learned how to seize a crowd’s attention from one of the best during two stints as a member of Beyoncé’s all-female touring band.“