Mindi Abair: GRAMMY.com First Listen
On May 27 GRAMMY-nominated jazz saxist and Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter President Mindi Abair will release her new album, Wild Heart. Ahead of the album's release, GRAMMY.com has your exclusive first listen to the upbeat track "Amazing Game" featuring GRAMMY nominee Trombone Shorty.
"I wanted to make a record that hearkened back to the days of early rock and roll when saxophone was just as integral of an instrument as the guitar," said Abair on Wild Heart. "Players like King Curtis, Junior Walker and Clarence Clemons meant every note they played and definitely inspired me for this recording. … It has more of an organic spirit to it — a little more rock and roll, a little more soul and a lot more abandon."
Born into a musical family in St. Petersburg, Fla., Abair started playing piano at age 5 and subsequently picked up saxophone and began writing songs. She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where she earned a degree in woodwind performance and developed her musical voice in styles spanning jazz, rock and R&B. Her debut album, 2000's Always And Never The Same, featured nine tracks co-written by Abair and producer/musician Matthew Hager. It Just Happens That Way followed in 2003, peaking at No. 3 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.
Abair released several more albums that cracked the Top 10 on the jazz chart, including 2004's Come As You Are (No. 5), 2006's Life Less Ordinary (No. 1), which spawned the Top 5 Jazz Songs track "True Blue," 2008's Stars (No. 4), and 2010's In Hi-Fi Stereo. The latter yielded the No. 1 Smooth Jazz Songs hit "Be Beautiful." Abair earned the first GRAMMY nomination of her career in 2013 with the nod for Best Pop Instrumental Album for Summer Horns, which also featured GRAMMY nominees Gerald Albright, Dave Koz and Richard Elliot.
Wild Heart features 11 tracks co-written by Abair, including "Kick A**," which features GRAMMY winner Joe Perry of Aerosmith, "Addicted To You" featuring GRAMMY winner Booker T. Jones (who also co-wrote the song) and "Just Say When," which features GRAMMY winner and co-writer Gregg Allman.
Abair is currently on tour throughout the United States, with dates scheduled through November, including a spot on the first annual GRAMMY Festival at Sea: Women Who Rock, which will set sail Nov. 4–8.