Soiled Dove Underground Presents
Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers
7401 E. 1st Ave
Denver, CO, 80230
Doors 9:00 PM / Show 10:00 PM
This event is minors under 21 with parent or legal guardian
Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers
In a career that spans seven solo albums and countless collaborations in the studio and live on stage, Mindi Abair has made her mark on a broad stretch of the musical landscape that includes jazz, pop, rock, R&B, soul, funk and more. The powerhouse saxophonist/vocalist has made scores of friends along the way and earned the respect of top-shelf artists representing every one of the aforementioned genres.
In addition to her acclaimed body of solo work that includes ten # 1 radio hits and close to half a million albums sold, Abair was the featured saxophonist on the 2011 and 2012 seasons of American Idol, jammed with Paul Shaffer on the Late Show with David Letterman and joined rock legends Aerosmith for their 2012 summer tour. In 2014, Abair received a GRAMMY® nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category for Summer Horns, a #1 recording with her friends Dave Koz, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot, featuring four of the most pre-eminent saxophonists in contemporary music. More recently, Abair received a 2015 GRAMMY® nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for her follow-up solo CD Wild Heart.
In addition to the years of hard work and dedication leading up to these successes, some of the credit is due to an impressive pedigree. Abair’s paternal grandmother was an opera singer, and her father was a saxophonist and B3 player in a band called The Entertainers – a gig that kept the whole family on the road for several years of Mindi’s childhood. By the time the band broke up and the Abairs put down roots in St. Petersburg, Florida, five-year-old Mindi had already demonstrated musical aspirations of her own by taking up the piano.
Since she first picked up a saxophone at age 8, Mindi Abair knew what inspired her, and followed her heart. She took part in every band program available in elementary, middle and high school. After a year at the University of North Florida, she transferred to Berklee College of Music, where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in woodwind performance. Her powerhouse and emotive style hearkens back to the days of Junior Walker and King Curtis, when saxophone was as integral an instrument as the guitar in the early days of rock and soul.
Abair recalls some wise counseling she received during her college years: “My saxophone teacher Joe Viola told me every week, ‘You have to start your own band. You’ve got your own sound. Don’t practice a bunch of David Sanborn or Wayne Shorter licks. Go out and make your own mark.’ It was the best advice anyone could have given me.”
She took the advice and ran with it, all the way to the opposite coast. She landed in Los Angeles, where she began a long dues-paying process that included touring gigs with Teena Marie, John Tesh, Bobby Lyle and Jonathan Butler. When she was home from the road, she booked her own band in just about any club that would have them. And on those occasions when none would, she played on the streets of Santa Monica. “I didn’t want to wait tables when I had a music degree from the foremost contemporary music school in the world. I came here to play,” she says. “I’d take my horn down to 3rd Street Promenade and just play. I paid my rent for quite a few months by doing that.” Bobby Lyle walked by one day and hired her for his upcoming world tour, jumpstarting her career. Those humble beginnings lead to an impressive list of early tours including Teena Marie, Adam Sandler, Bobby Lyle, The Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore, Duran Duran and more.
Abair released her first album, the independently-produced Always and Never the Same, in 1999, while touring with the Backstreet Boys. By the beginning of the new decade, the combination of nonstop performing and her well-received indie release had helped solidify her musical identity. “By the time I signed on with Verve in 2002,” she says, “I really knew who I was as an artist. I knew what I wanted to say, and every artist I’d toured with on the way here helped me shape who I was.”
Known for writing the bulk of her own material, It Just Happens That Way, Abair’s major label debut in 2003, was the first in a string of chart-topping solo recordings on Verve that also included I Can’t Wait for Christmas (2004), Come As You Are (2005) and Life Less Ordinary (2007). She made the move to Peak, a division of Concord Music Group, with the 2008 release of Stars, an album that showcased – more than any of her previous recordings – her attractive vocal work as an engaging counterpoint to her solid saxophone chops. In Hi-Fi Stereo, released in 2010, paid tribute to the sounds of the ’60s and early ’70s harkening back to artists such as King Curtis and Junior Walker, icons that influenced Mindi from a young age.
Her two seasons on American Idol in 2011 and 2012 led to her joining Aerosmith as their first saxophonist since 1973 for their 2012 Summer Global Warming Tour. And Clarence Clemons’ untimely death led to her touring with Max Weinberg and a night at the Beacon Theater with Bruce Springsteen.
“I got off those tours, and I had this burst of electric energy to make some music of my own,” says Abair. “Those tours really affected what I was feeling and what I was writing. I had spent so many nights on stage with these guys who were sweating and bleeding and giving it all for their audience. I wanted that strength and that abandon on my record, and I was inspired to make that happen.”
Soon after, Abair joined a group called Summer Horns, assembled by fellow saxophonist Dave Koz for a record and tour. The lineup also included Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright. The resulting sax foursome crafted a record that paid tribute to the great horn bands of the late ’60s and early ’70s, including Tower of Power, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sly & the Family Stone and Blood, Sweat & Tears. The Summer Horns recording scored a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Recording, a validation of not only the collective talent on the record itself, but also of the lasting impact and influence of the music of that era.
On her May 27, 2014 release Wild Heart, Abair plunged headlong into vintage rock and soul territory, harkening back to the days when saxophone was an integral part of the musical landscape. Wild Heart received a GRAMMY® nomination in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category in December 2014.
After Wild Heart, she wanted to translate its edgier rock/soul sound to the stage. She called longtime friend Randy Jacobs (Bonnie Raitt, Was (Not Was), Willie Nelson) to join her live band. Randy brought his Detroit blues/rock edge to her music. In June, Jacob’s band The Boneshakers was playing the Newport Beach Jazz Festival on the same bill as Abair’s, and she hopped on stage before her band’s show to “sit in” with The Boneshakers. The end result, Mindi Abair & the Boneshakers Live in Seattle, is scheduled for release on September 25, 2015 on Heads Up, a division of Concord Music Group.
And if writing, recording and touring weren’t enough, Abair recently served a two-year term from 2013–2015 as President of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), and now serves as a National Trustee. “It’s been a very eye-opening and inspiring role,” she says. “What an honor to serve as a leader in the most pre-eminent organization of the music business. This is a group of people who give back constantly to inspire and strengthen the next generation of music makers, and they remind me daily what beautiful power we hold as creators of music.”
That sense of power and reach has become part of Abair’s creative philosophy in recent years and has made its way into her music as well. “I’ve recorded, toured and collaborated with so many artists representing so many styles of music,” she says. “I’m the luckiest person in the world to be surrounded by such talent and true artistry. I don’t care about labels or boundaries or preconceptions with music. I just want to play and create and keep moving forward.”
$35.00 - $45.00
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