Beegie Adair: An Affair to Remember (2005)
With the Jeff Steinberg Orchestra accompanying her, pianist Beegie Adair remembers the love stories that came to us through the films of the 1950s. She portrays each theme as it was done in the original score, with lush strings and an emphasis on its recurring melody. A gentle spirit guides her through each warm melody effortlessly. The pianist's flowing keyboard motion swells and ebbs with each theme. They're memorable songs.
As Ellen Menking's oboe solo introduces "A Certain Smile," the mood is set. Most of the session runs smoothly in like manner, putting a warm smile on your face as Adair caresses each melody and embellishes with subdued charm. "Moonglow," for example, oozes its charming melody back and forth across the room over fluid piano cascades and lush string phrases. Adair respects its melody and retains its original charm.
Several arrangements follow a different track. "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" receives a Latin tinge with a spicy arrangement. Jack Jezzro takes a guitar solo, and the team gives this old chestnut a new finish. "Fascination" begins with accordion and violin standing alone in a lonely corner of town, emoting the song's passionate lyrics in rolling waves. As Adair and the orchestra join them, the mood continues to evoke an exotic flavor. "Blue Gardenia" includes a superb improvised flugelhorn solo by George Tidwell that honors the memory of this jazz standard.
"Pete Kelly's Blues" brings out the best from Adair's expressive piano as she delivers the theme's statements emphatically and fills with spontaneous nuances. It's a natural fit for her warm glow and passionate style. The arrangement includes a lovely tenor solo from Denis Solee that allows him to converse with the orchestra in a call and response pattern.
The session brings a warm glow to these older movie themes; however, its nostalgic value cannot be overlooked. The themes are treated in a straightforward manner that, for the most part, lacks variety. Nevertheless, they're memorable themes, and they each hold a reserved place in our hearts. With Adair's help, we can remember them as they came to us fifty years ago.
Track Listing: An Affair to Remember; Three Coins in the Fountain; Love is a Many Splendored Thing; The Bad and The Beautiful; A Certain Smile; Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White; Moonglow; Pete Kelly's Blues; From Here to Eternity; Blue Gardenia; Ruby; Fascination.
Personnel: Beegie Adair- piano; Roger Spencer- bass; Chris Brown- drums; Jack Jezzro- guitar, double bass; George Tidwell- flugelhorn; Denis Solee- tenor saxophone; Jeff Taylor- accordion; Eric Darken- percussion; Ellen Menking- oboe; Lee Levine- clarinet; Jennifer Kummer- French horn; Sam Levine- flute; Mary Alice Hoepfinger- harp; David Davidson- concertmaster, violin; Pam Sixfin, Connie Ellisor, Carl Gorodetzky, David Angell- violin; Jim Grosjean, Kris Wilkinson, Chris Farrell- viola; Carole Rabinowitz, Julie Tanner- cello.