Raised in Cornwall, Adam began, like many pianists, by practising boogie and blues with friends during school lunchtimes. He received piano lessons covering jazz harmony and repertoire in his teens, before moving north to study Contemporary Arts at MMU Cheshire, where he received a first class honours degree and an MA with distinction. Having decided towards the end of his undergraduate studies to devote his time to the study of jazz, Adam followed his studies at MMU with Master’s study at Leeds College of Music, receiving a MMus in Jazz Studies (Performance) in 2005. While at Leeds he studied with pianist Mark Donlon and also took lessons with pianist Matthew Bourne. In 2005 he received the college’s Sam Hood Rosebowl for Outstanding Jazz Performance. Returning to MMU to teach and continue his practice and research, Adam received a PhD in 2008 and continues to hold a part-time post as Programme Leader for Popular Music in the Cheshire faculty’s Department of Contemporary Arts.
Adam’s distinctive piano playing has been noted for the diversity of its stylistic reference points; idioms drawn from any period of jazz history may be blended, collided, subverted, hinted at or played completely ‘straight’ in his performances. Despite this playful and often witty approach, Adam’s playing is committed rather than ironic and detached, and reveals a love of piano jazz from ragtime to free.
“A rising star of the piano” – BBC Radio 3, Jazz Line-Up
“There is no jazz code he hasn’t deciphered and mastered” – Manchester Evening News
“A real find” - Jazz UK
“Fairhall’s piano is a questing, quixotic voice with a comprehensive ‘inside and out’ vocabulary” – Jazzwise
Adam Fairhall is a total star - Independent on Sunday