Andrew Adair

States

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The title of Andrew Adair's States is to be taken in a loosely geographical sense, as the track list quickly reveals. Inspired by old songs he used to sing with a barbershop quartet, pianist Adair sought to revisit them in a jazz setting. Together, the songs tell a compelling American story, ranging from the pre-Civil War era (Stephen Foster's "My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night") to post-World War II (Cory and Cross' "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"). Since Adair first encountered this material as a vocalist, it's fitting that he should sing "Stars Fell on Alabama" and "When It's Sleepytime Down South," sounding a bit like Harry Connick, Jr.. Elsewhere, Adair performs either in a straightforward piano trio context, joined by bassist Josh Ginsburg and drummer Donald Edwards, or in the company of horns (trumpeter Erik Jekabson, altoist Mike DiRubbo, and tenorist John Ellis). His quirkier arrangements include a samba take on "Moonlight in Vermont," a modal, Coltrane-esque "Carolina in the Morning," and a bright 5/4 "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis." To open and close he plays one-minute solo piano renditions of "Kentucky Home," tying up a rather ingenious program with a tasteful ribbon. (Interestingly, Erik Jekabson would go on to explore vintage repertoire in a very different way with the Howard Fishman Quartet.)

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