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George Adams

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A passionate tenor and flute player who was not shy to break up chordal improvising with an unexpected scream or roar, George Adams was an original voice who (like his friend Don Pullen) crossed over several stylistic boundaries. He started on piano, but by the time he was in high school he was playing tenor in funk bands. In 1961, he toured with Sam Cooke, and in 1963 Adams moved to Ohio where he played with organ groups for the next few years. In 1968, he relocated to New York where he played with Roy Haynes, Gil Evans, and Art Blakey, among others. However, it was his association with Charles Mingus (1973-1976) that gave him his initial fame. After playing a bit with McCoy Tyner, Adams co-led a stimulating quartet with Don Pullen that made many records. Late in life, Adams (who enjoyed taking an occasional raspy blues vocal) teamed up with James Blood Ulmer in the group Phalanx, and occasionally played with Mingus Dynasty. ~ Scott Yanow

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29 April 1940 in Covington, GA

Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s