Philadelphia's premier Jazz club ZANZIBAR BLUE, and NYC's legendary BIRDLAND.
Comprised of Dennis Fortune-keyboards, Pete Vinson-drums and Michael Cruse-
bass, the trio began their musical journey together in the mid 70's when the
late saxophonist George Howard introduced Dennis Fortune to Michael Cruse. This is where the seed of their life long friendship and musical partnership took root. Shortly thereafter, Fortune and Cruse were introduced to Pete Vinson and FORTUNE VINSON CRUSE was born.
Already Fortune Vinson Cruse's latest Sunny Nights has been recieving high accolades. WJJZ Program Director MICHAEL TOZZI calls the cd "an amalgam of textures and feelings-- a smooth album with straight ahead roots this project proves to be FORTUNE VINSON CRUSE's most exciting album to date!"
All native sons of Philadelphia, Fortune Vinson Cruse began their journey together in the mid 70's when Dennis Fortune, in search of a bass player, was introduced to Michael Cruse by mutual friend and saxophonist George Howard. This is where the seed of their long friendship and musical partnership took root. A few years later Fortune and Cruse were introduced to Pete Vinson, who sat in with them on several gigs before becoming a full time drummer at the end of his tour with Grover Washington Jr. Thus the legendary trio was born.
In 1993, the trio produced their debut CD entitled Follow Your Heart featuring Spencer Harrison on vocals. Their second CD, self titled Fortune Vinson Cruse with saxophonist Ralph Bowen and percussionist Marlon Simon, captures the groups ability to compose original material while collaborating with producers T.S. Monk and Charles Frambrough. The groups third release, Fortune Vinson Cruse Live! Featuring Brenda Smith is a remarkable collection of standards showcasing their musical dexterity and rich, colorful vocals of Brenda Smith. Saxophonist Lynn Riley rounds out the group's signature sound adding a bit of swing to some tracks and mellow musings to others.
Dennis Fortune (Keyboards)
Dennis' musical development was influenced by several styles including R&B, jazz, and classical. Dennis received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Dickinson College and has taught music for the School District of Philadelphia PA, and implemented several educational jazz programs. Since the late 70's Dennis has performed with a wide variety of artists including the Delphonics, Ester Satterfield, Jean Carne, Billy Paul, George Howard and Rachelle Farrell. Dennis served and musical director for Billy Paul and toured extensively throughout Europe and South America.
Pete Vinson (Drums)
Pete began playing drums in 1965. At age 17, he became the house drummer for the Sam Reed Orchestra at the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia Pa, backing up acts such as the Manhattans, the Intruders, Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, the Four Tops and Stevie Wonder. Pete has toured world wide with Grover Washington Jr. recording three albums with him, Live at the Bijou, Reed Seed, and Paradise. Rachelle Farrell, Johnny Hartman, Little Jimmy Scott, Art Blakey, Johnny Coles and Gary are a few of the jazz recording artists Pete has performed with over the years.
Michael Cruse (Bass)
Michael, a.k.a. Cruse, began performing as a percussionist at age five with his father, who was a percussionist for Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Cruse's destiny as a bassist evolved while studying at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, Pa. Cruse was influenced by R&B and jazz. Cruse has toured internationally with Rachelle Farrell, Billy Paul, the Intruders, the Delphonics and Norman Conners.