The Gilmore

New Orleans native Sullivan Fortner was named the 2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz by the American Pianists Association. Fortner has toured with Stefon Harris & Blackout among others, while completing his master’s degree in jazz performance at Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Jason Moran.

Sullivan Fortner will be joined by Dezron Douglas on bass and Joe Dyson on drums for his Festival appearances.

Dinner and a Show: Take a long lunch and experience some of the best entertainment and cuisine downtown Kalamazoo has to offer! The Gilmore has partnered with Millennium Restaurant Group to offer a 1:30 p.m. lunch reservation at Central City Tap House following the 12 p.m. performance on May 13. Reserve your table online or call the box office at (269) 359-7311 for more information.

Sullivan Fortner

Sullivan Fortner

Sullivan Fortner is the 2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz of the American Pianist Association. Sullivan Joseph Fortner Jr. is a native New Orleanian who has already made a significant foray into the jazz world that belies his young age. While touring with Stefon Harris & Blackout, Christian Scott Quintet, and the Roy Hargrove Quintet, Sullivan completed his Master’s degree in Jazz Performance at Manhattan School of Music under the tutorage of Jason Moran, and Phil Markowitz. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Sullivan began playing music by ear at the age of seven. Two years later, he was playing for church choirs throughout New Orleans. By the time he was 11 years old, Sullivan had won a Cox Cable “Amazing Kids Award”. At the age of 13, Sullivan furthered his formal education in piano by attending the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and earned scholarships to several prestigious summer jazz programs, including the Vail Jazz Institute and the Skidmore Jazz Studies Summer Program. A standout on the stage and in the classroom, Sullivan was Valedictorian of his high school class while simultaneously graduating from NOCCA. He has studied and performed with many great musicians, including The Marsalis Family, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton, Billy Hart, Gary Bartz, Marcus Belgrave, The Jordan Family, Irvin Mayfield, Peter Martin, Dave Liebman, and a host of others.

Dezron Douglas

Dezron Douglas

Composer, bandleader, sideman and educator Dezron Douglas has established himself as a musician’s musician, respected not only for his talent but also for his dedication to the authenticity of the music. He began his career in jazz at the age of 12, and with the encouragement of his mentor – the late saxophonist, composer, and educator Jackie McLean – he enrolled in the Jackie McLean Institute of African American Music at the Hartt School of Music. While in college, he co-founded The New Jazz Workshop of Hartford, a group of like-minded young musicians dedicated to preserving jazz. The group offered him an opportunity to showcase his talents as a composer and bandleader. The group received The Evelyn Preston Grant and also had the privilege of opening for Slide Hampton. Their debut album “Underground” was released in July of 2012.

In 2005 Douglasbegan recording “Marsalis Music Honors Michael Carvin” alongside drummer Michael Carvin with production help from Branford Marsalis. Over the years, he has continued to perform and record with Carvin, Pharoah Sanders, Cyrus Chestnut, Louis Hayes, George Cables, Abraham Burton/Eric McPherson, Rene McLean, Al Foster, Ravi Coltrane, Billy Drummond, Steve Davis, Victor Lewis, Winard Harper, Mulgrew Miller, Lewis Nash, Kevin Mahogany, Carla Cook, Kenny Garrett, Steve Coleman, Willie Jones III, Duane Eubanks, Eric Reed, Tomasz Stanko, Vincent Herring, Papo Vazquez and the Marsalis family.

Joe Dyson

Joe Dyson

Joseph C. Dyson, Jr.’s musically inclined family introduced him to music at the early age of two years. He began playing as a drummer in his father’s church with other family members. His musical education began at Mc Donogh #15 Creative Arts/Magnet Elementary School in New Orleans and continued at NOCCA. Dyson has honed his skills over the years as a participant in the Project Prodigy Summer Music Camp, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp, Berklee’s Five Week Summer Performance and Jazz Workshop, Port Townsend Jazz Workshop, Tipitina’s Internship, and the New Jazz School Jazz Camp. He has received numerous scholarships, including the full tuition presidential scholarship to Berklee College of Music from which he graduated with honors. He has been priviledged to be associated with some of the finest musicians in the industry, having studied with the likes of Donald Harrison, Alvin Batiste, Clyde Kerr, Herlin Riley, Chico Hamilton, Adonis Rose and Jerry McGowan among others.

Dyson’s professional performing credits include gigs with Donald Harrison, Ellis Marsalis, Ernestine Anderson, Dr. John, Branford Marsalis, Stefon Harris, Christian Scott, Dr. Lonnie Smith, as well as with grammy winners Nicholas Payton, Allen Toussaint, Bryan Lynch, hip hop producer Darius Harrison, Irvin Mayfield, Terrance Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr, and Esperanza Spalding.