Thursday, March 5, 2009

Beegie Adair: Dancing in the Dark

Green Hill Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 3.5.09
Buy CD: Dancing in the Dark

This is the third album by the wonderful Beegie Adair Trio that I've reviewed in the past few years, and it's another winner.

Adair constructs albums based on specific themes and events that have been important in her life. A previous release (Sentimental Journey) featured songs from the World War II period; another (As Time Goes By) covered famous movie songs. This one focuses on melodies that Fred Astaire danced to, and sang, during his career.

The Kentucky-born Adair, now a Tennessee resident, once again is supported by bassist Roger Spencer and drummer Chris Brown. They thinks as one.

Adair is one of those pianists who, while you listen to her, prompts wistful thoughts like “Gee ... I wish I could play like that.” She's technical perfection, light on the keys and marvelously innovative, and she always swings.

Each tune here is covered in the same way: the introductory theme, often ignored by today's artists; then the standard, familiar chorus; then additional choruses that allow Adair to stretch out and show her chops; and a final chorus that re-states the melody line. Generally, the length of each song is limited by the interval (scene) that featured Astaire's dancing or singing performance.

You've heard all these songs before, but boredom never sets in.

I'm already anticipating next year's effort by Adair and her band.

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