For the past decade, Sullivan Fortner has been stretching deep-rooted talents as a pianist, composer, band leader and uncompromising individualist. The GRAMMY Award-winning artist received international praise as both key player and producer for his collaborative work on The Window (Mack Avenue, 2018), alongside multi-GRAMMY winner, vocalist-composer Cecile McLorin Salvant. As a solo leader, he has released Moments Preserved (Decca, 2018) and Aria (Impulse!, 2015) to critical acclaim, and he’s only getting started. This past year, Fortner earned recognition in multiple DownBeat Critics Poll categories, winning first place in Rising Star Piano and Rising Star Jazz Artist.
In addition to associations with such diverse voices as Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Diane Reeves, Etienne Charles and John Scofield, Fortner’s frequent and longtime collaborators have included Ambrose Akinmusire, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stefon Harris, Kassa Overall, Tivon Pennicott, Peter Bernstein, Nicholas Payton, Billy Hart, Gary Bartz, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Fred Hersch and the recently departed Roy Hargrove. The highly-sought improviser has performed across the country and throughout the world at such cultural institutions as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz Standard, Smalls Jazz Club and New Orleans clubs??? as well as celebrated festivals, including at Newport, Monterey, Discover, Tri-C and Gillmore Keyboard, among others. In 2019, he brought his band to the historic Village Vanguard for a week-long engagement as a leader. Fortner’s notable studio contributions include work on Etienne Charles’s Kaiso (Culture Shock, 2011), Donald Harrison’s Quantum Leap (FOMP, 2010), and Theo Croker’s The Fundementals (Left Sided Music, 2007).
Walter recently completed a second album, which is a gospel project with his childhood family group Walter Barnes Jr. & Men of Ministry aka “All Gods Children.”
Walter has toured the world and appeared on Arsenio Hall Show, Steve Harvey Morning Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, The Tonight Show and George Lopez Show. Currently, Walt is bassist with singers Babyface and Toni Braxton. He plans to continue producing and performing as he tours the world expressing God’s love through music.