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February, 8

Obituary: Bobbe Long “Beegie” Adair, Jazz pianist rooted in Nashville music scene who worked with Dolly Parton

Obituary: Bobbe Long “Beegie” Adair, Jazz pianist rooted in Nashville music scene who worked with Dolly Parton

Beegie Adair, who has died aged 84 after a period of failing health, was an American jazz pianist and bandleader whose career spanned 60 years.

The Nashville-based musician was part of the Beegie Adair trio, which also featured Roger Spencer on bass and Chris Brown on drums. Together, they recorded more than 30 studio albums, which sold over two million copies. The group performed across the world, drawing crowds in London, Tokyo and at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Individually, Adair worked as a session musician for a range of artists, including Dolly Parton. The pianist also took work as a rehearsal and orchestra musician on ABC’s The Johnny Cash Show. On it, she performed with noted artists including Chet Atkins, Dinah Shore and Cass Elliot, among many others.

Although she was a sought-after session musician, in addition to her own work Adair was happy to “make music” for varied audiences, sometimes performing at retirement homes or creating jingles with her husband.

Born Bobbe Gorin Long, Adair was raised in Cave City, Kentucky, by her mother who was also named Bobbe, and her father, Arthur.

To differentiate between his wife and daughter, Arthur called the latter BG and the name stuck. The family ran a petrol station, where Adair would sometimes work.

Adair started taking piano lessons when she was five years old. By the time she was a teenager, she was performing at gigs. In 1958, she graduated with a degree in music education from Western Kentucky University. After Adair completed her studies, she taught music to children for three years in Owensboro, Kentucky. She started her graduate studies in education but dropped out of Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University) to pursue her music career full time.

Her career started in the 1960s, and she played at nightclubs and restaurants. During the following two decades, many venues closed, and it became harder to find spots where Adair could perform.

In 1982, Adair partnered with Denis Solee to form the Adair-Solee Quartet, which eventually became the sextet Be-Bop Co-op. Then during the late eighties, Adair hosted a show on NPR called Improvised Thoughts. She released her first album, Escape to New York, in 1991. Not long after, she started her trio.

Adair continued teaching through her career, working as an adjunct professor in jazz studies at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, sharing her love of jazz with her students. She also taught at the Nashville Jazz workshop, which made her the first recipient of its Heritage Award.

In 2002 she was inducted into the Western Kentucky University Music Department’s Hall of Fame.

In 1974, she married William Adair, who was a musician and jazz lecturer. He died in 2014, and she had no immediate survivors.

Bobbe Long “Beegie” Adair, jazz pianist, born 11 December 1937, died 23 January.

Source: msn.com
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