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Beegie Adair: 1937-2022

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Beegie Adair, who was one of the busiest unbusy studio and lounge pianists in Nashville who recorded more than 100 albums, died on January 23. She was 84.

Unbusy, because Beegie (born Bobbe Gorin Long) played simply with a straight-ahead style, adding a dash of jazz along the way. While not widely known outside of Nashville studio circles and among those who fancy the cocktail-piano sound, Beegie preferred playing the standards people liked to hear with a modicum of flourish and pinache. Instead of twisting a song in knots, she let the melody surface fully, dressing it up with just enough swing and improvisation to show off the song's lyrical figure.

During her 65-year career, Beegie contributed to the recordings of Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Clifton Davis, Henry Mancini, Joe Williams, Chet Atkins, Lucille Ball, Steve Allen, Dinah Shore, Boots Randolph, Hank Garland, Mama Cass Elliott, Peggy Lee and many others.

She and her husband, Billy Adair, also started a jingle company to write music for commercials. In 1982, Beegie and saxophonist Denis Solee formed the Adair-Solee Quartet, which evolved into the Be-Bop Co-Op, a jazz sextet. She made her first album under her own name, Escape to New York, with bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Gregory Hutchinson.

Here are my favorite Beegie Adair clips:

Here's Will You Be Mine with Monica Ramey on the vocal. Dig Beegie's fills and solo...



Here's Beegie accompanying Ramey on Make Someone Happy. Terrific accompaniment chops...



Here's Beegie and Ramey on This Could Be the Start of Something Big...



Here's Beegie on the Beatles' If I Fell...



Here's Misty...



Here's Come Fly With Me...



Here's That Sunday, That Summer...



Here's Autumn in New York...



Here's Miles Davis's Freddie Freeloader...



And here's Young and Foolish...



Bonus: Here's Beegie and Ray Stevens (Everything Is Beautiful, 1970) on That's My Desire...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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