Kurtis Adams

Kurtis Adams

BandJazz

With influences ranging from straight-ahead jazz to the avant-garde, folk music to heavy-metal, and hip-hop to contemporary classical music, you never know what to expect from the Kurtis Adams Quartet.

Biography

At the ripe-old age of three and with my trust toy guitar, piano, and a tape recorder, I embarked on my music career recording songs I wrote and giving little concerts in the living room. Growing up in Nashville, I was exposed to an eclectic mix of music from the radio and the record, tape, and 8-track (yes, 8-track) collections of my parents. I heard everything including Willie Nelson, Fleetwood Mac, the Talking Heads, Chicago, Stevie Wonder, and anything in between.

After years of pretending to be a musician, I finally decided to give a try in 5th grade picking up the saxophone and joining the band. Over the years, my affinity for the saxophone grew. In high school, I began to see the possibilities of the instrument when I started playing in jazz band. I started listening to Sonny Rollins, Michael Brecker, Stan Getz, and John Coltrane and anything else I could get from people. As a teenager in the mid to late 90s, I also donned a flannel shirt, a pair of Converse, and sported a wallet chain and long hair, fully embracing the grunge culture of the day, even playing guitar in a couple of garage bands. In addition to the jazz I was listening, I absorbed the music of alternative rock bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Radiohead, as well as checking out artists from the late 60s like Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, and the Doors.

Deciding to pursue music in college, my years as an undergraduate music major exposed me to the world of contemporary classical music especially the repertoire written for saxophone. As a soloist, member of a saxophone quartet, and part of a wind ensemble, I learned many of these classical works by modern composers. This experience was continued after moving to Colorado to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Colorado. As I performed some of the most difficult recital repertoire written for the saxophone and several concerti with the University Wind Symphony, I began to feel the twinges of the creativity of my youth. I found my outlet in modern jazz.

After some time off, I decided to continue my graduate studies pursuing a doctoral degree in jazz studies. During my studies, I had the opportunity to interact and perform with many of my heroes including Joe Lovano, Bob Mintzer, Tom Harrell, and Chris Potter. Continual working on original compositions, I was honored with an award for Best Original Composition in 2005 by Downbeat magazine. In 2007, I was named as a member of the prestigious Paquito D’Rivera Latin Jazz Workshop at Carnegie Hall in New York City and performed there alongside the Grammy Winning saxophonist and his group. As I approach my 30s, all of my musical experiences are coalescing into a unique musical statement that, while being rooted in jazz, expresses grunge rock, folk, avant-garde classical influences, and the many other musical experiences of my life.

Discography

For more music, visit www.myspace.com/kurtisadamsmusic

Set List

Repertoire includes original compositions, unique takes on jazz standards, and some jazz not-so-standards like Wayne Shorter's "Chief Crazy Horse" (heard on the music page).