George Adams - tenor saxophone, flute, bandleader (1940 - 1992)
A soulful soloist of fierce energy, with a sound that could break into a bluesy, vocalized cry, Adams was heavily steeped in the blues and gospel tradition of his roots. George Adams was born in Covington. Georgia on 29 April 1940. At the age of eleven he started to play the piano, at High School he switched to tenor sax. He studied at the Clark College and got lessons on flute by that former Chick Webb man, Wayman Carver.
At first George Adams played mostly rhythm and blues in so-called organ trios. He worked with Sam Cooke and some local guys. In 1965 he left for New York. He worked with Roy Haynes (1965-1972), Art Blakey, Charles Mingus, (1973-1976). Gil Evans, (1975-197S) McCoyTyner, (1976-1979) and Archie Shepp. (1978)
In 1975 he made his first record under his own name when he was touring with Mingus (in the group also Don Pullen and Dannie Richmond). In 1979 the three came to their quartet and they made this quartet a cohesive unit, playing powerful music, intense rhythm, lots of funk, dynamic contrasts and a modern approach. This quartet was really one of the hottest groups in the early 1980's. A band that hung together for over a decade, continuing to expand on the ideas that came out of their time with the great bassist, the music made by the Pullen/Adams quartet in many respects represents a fulfillment of their Mingus period; if not as compositionally bold, it’s more focused and didn’t overreach the way the “Changes” sessions occasionally did. By 1983, the quartet was at a musical peak, and the record “City Gates,” was a highlight of the period. The choice of tunes, the solos, and the arrangements all come together to produce one of the leading post-bop albums of the 1980s. They would go on to do back to back “Live at the Village Vanguard,” albums also that year. The Pullen/Adams Quartet was definitely one of the hottest bands of the era.
One of his last recordings was “America,” on the Blue Note label. This album consists of classic American songs like "Tennessee Waltz", "You Are My Sunshine" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" as well as a few original songs that articulate Adams's surprisingly positive view of his country. He also released “Paradise Shuffle,” in ’89, and “Old Feeling,” in ’91.
Though he would record quite prolifically as a leader from ’75 to his death in ’92, he would be best remembered for his tenure as co leader of the Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet.