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Andrew Adair: States

Pianist-vocalist Andrew Adair nods to various U. S. locales on this dazzling 10-tune tribute to American popular song. Collectively and individually, he and colleagues John Ellis (tenor sax), Mike DiRubbo (alto sax) and Erik Jekabson (trumpet) have lots to say, as you’ll hear on their upbeat, Latinate reading of “Moonlight in Vermont,” a lushly romantic remake of “When It’s Sleepytime Down South,” and three other tunes newly arranged by Adair. Throughout, Josh Ginsburg (bass) and Donald Edwards (drums) lend tight-knit, resilient support. They especially excel in trio settings with Adair, yielding a light, lilting version of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” a gracefully subdued “My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night” and a cleverly cadent remake of “Back Home Again in Indiana.” A Juilliard grad and former barbershop quartet singer who relocated to New York after joining Donald Harrison’s group in the summer of 1997, Adair possesses sterling piano and arranging skills, a matinee-idol voice (heard on two tracks) and showmanship comparable to that of Harry Connick, Jr. How Adair develops his burgeoning talents remains to be seen. But with this fascinating debut as a leader, he’s surely on the right course to success.

Originally Published