Nashville Jazz Community Honors Billy Adair

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Billy Adair
Billy Adair Photo: Vanderbilt University / Daniel Dubois

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This jazz review was written by Ron Wynn.

Billy Adair
Billy Adair
Photo: Vanderbilt University / Daniel Dubois

Several of Nashville’s top jazz vocalists and instrumentalists joined forces over two weekends to celebrate the life and accomplishments of a beloved friend and mentor to numerous area performers young and old.

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The outstanding arranger, guitarist/bassist, bandleader and instructor Billy Adair, who passed away last month, was honored in two memorial concerts at Ingram Hall by The Blair Big Band (April 19) and the Nashville Jazz Orchestra (April 27).

Both shows featured many performers to whom Adair was an inspiration, and they mixed stirring solos and inspirational vocal performances with humorous remembrances of a vibrant personality everyone agreed was an unstoppable force in Music City jazz, session and academic circles.

Sunday’s Nashville Jazz Orchestra concert began with a sweeping rendition of Thad Jones’ “Groove Merchant,” a tune transcribed by Adair. Molly Jewel was featured on three numbers that accented Adair’s favorite standards and sentimental numbers, the best being her version of “You’re Getting To Be A Habit with Me.”

Read the full review at ArtsNash.


Ron Wynn is a music critic, author and editor. His features, reviews and articles have run locally in the Nashville Scene, The City Paper (Nashville) and onArtNowNashville.comamong others. Wynn is currently sports editor for the Tennessee Tribune and a contributor to Jazz Times. He is former editor of the New Memphis Star and former chief jazz and pop music critic for the Bridgeport Post-Telegram and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Wynn has contributed to such publications such as Billboard, The Village Voice, Creem, Rock & Roll Disc, Living Blues, The Boston Phoenix, and Rejoice. He was the editor of the first edition of The All Music Guide to Jazz (1994), and from 1993 to 1994 served as the jazz and rap editor of the All Music Guide. Wynn is the author of The Tina Turner Story. He has contributed liner notes for numerous albums; his liner notes for The Soul of Country Music received a 1998 Grammy nomination.