Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beegie Adair: Parisian Café, Moments to Remember

Green Hill Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 2.4.10
Buy CDs: Parisian Café; Moments to Remember

Pianist Beegie Adair specializes in theme albums. Parisian Café is based on the music you'd hear at the small clubs or sidewalk cafés in Paris; Moments To Remember covers pop hits of the 1950s.

Adair's usual trio — bassist Roger Spenser and drummer Chris Brown — is utilized on both albums; the Parisian set is augmented by David Davidson (violin) and Jeff Taylor (accordion).

The 13 compositions included in Parisian Café are exactly what you've heard in every movie that features Paris as its locale, and what probably still gets played today in the City of Lights. Vocals by the likes of Edith Piaf have been replaced by the violin/accordion duo; as always, Adair establishes and carries the primary melodic line.

If you lived during the '50s, you've heard the tunes from Moments many, many, many times. Unless you're a lover of nostalgia releases, there's nothing different here from what was done to distraction during that decade. Like most of Adair's albums, the length of each tune is limited to what would have fit on the old 78 RPM vinyl disks; that further enhances the “days of old” feel, and limits possible boredom.

Adair is a fine pianist, and her trio can be a very entertaining listen. But I'd like to see them stretch out a little more, and move back into the traditional jazz genre.

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