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Billy Adair Memorial Concert feat. The Blair Big Band 

When: Sat., April 19, 2 p.m. 2014
Billy Adair was a gifted, versatile instrumentalist, arranger and bandleader as well as a pivotal and beloved figure — not just in the city’s jazz scene, but its entire music community. When he died in February, he had impressive credentials as a sideman and studio musician, appearing on several recordings and working alongside some of country and rock’s biggest names, among them Chet Atkins, Merle Haggard, Alabama, Gregg Allman, and even the seminal pop vocal group The Ink Spots. Still, he had a special love for jazz, which he utilized leading the 22-piece nonprofit jazz orchestra The Establishment in the late ’90s before he came to Vanderbilt in 2002. Once there, he formed the Blair Big Band and served as a senior lecturer on jazz. He was never happier than when he was guiding the Blair Big Band in performance, smiling broadly and encouraging young musicians and vocalists to savor the joys of songs written decades before they were born. The Big Band he loved will pay tribute to him in a special concert at Martha Rivers Ingram Hall that will also include special guests and performances of his favorite compositions. (On April 27 at 6 p.m, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra will do its own tribute to Adair, also at Ingram Hall.) RON WYNN

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