Beegie Adair

An Affair to Remember: Romantic Movie Songs of the 1950's

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Pianist Beegie Adair subtitles An Affair to Remember "romantic movie songs of the 1950s" and fills the album with themes from '50s movies played by her trio with the backing of the Jeff Steinberg Orchestra. Adair is not so much a jazz player as a stylist. "I have always prided myself on being able to make a strong jazz tune out of any good melody," she says in her press biography. "My credo is to remain as true as possible to the original intent of the composer which means I don't mess around with the melody much." Both parts of this statement are notable. Of course, not all melodies, however good, lend themselves to the making of "a strong jazz tune," and not messing around with the melody much tends to limit the possibilities of jazz improvisation. Relatively little of the material on this album is jazz-friendly, sweeping as the melodies may be, and Adair doesn't really do much swinging. Rather, she is in the easy listening tradition of Roger Williams (though she isn't as demonstrative) or Liberace (though she isn't as ornamental), adding an arpeggio here, a note cluster there. Her approach is well suited to these pieces, which call to mind the romantic scenes of the films. "Moonglow," dating back to 1934, is something of a ringer, even though it was interpolated into the 1956 film Picnic, and so is "Fascination," included in 1957's Love in the Afternoon although it originated as "Valse Tzigane" in 1904. Adair professes great affection for this music in her liner notes, but it's too bad that she didn't think enough of the songs to list the names of the composers. (This oversight has been corrected by All Music Guide in the tracks list, however.)

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