5 Questions With ... Mindi Abair

Jazz saxist visits The Recording Academy
  • Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage.com
    Mindi Abair at the 2011 GRAMMY Block Party
September 14, 2011 -- 1:13 pm PDT

(A portion of the proceeds from The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party benefitted PATH, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to ending homelessness for individuals, families and communities.)

Jazz saxophonist and Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter Secretary Mindi Abair was the recent guest for an installment of The Recording Academy's 5 Questions with ... series. Held during the Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party at The Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., Abair discussed the importance of Recording Academy membership, music education, the emotion behind playing saxophone, and advice for aspiring musicians, among other topics.

"Saxophone is a human voice," said Abair. "It's just amplified through this beautiful piece of metal."

Born into a musical family in St. Petersburg, Fla., Abair started playing piano at age 5 and picked up saxophone and songwriting three years later. She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where she earned a degree in woodwind performance and developed skills in styles spanning jazz, rock and R&B. As a session musician she worked with artists including the Backstreet Boys, the Gap Band, Mandy Moore, and John Tesh, among others. 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. 7 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart.

Abair released several more albums that cracked the Top 10 on the Jazz Albums chart, including 2004's Come As You Are, 2006's Life Less Ordinary, which spawned the Top 5 Jazz Songs track "True Blue," and 2008's Stars. Abair's most recent release, In Hi-Fi Stereo, was released in 2010 and climbed to No. 6 on the Jazz Albums chart. The album spawned the No. 1 Jazz Songs hit "Be Beautiful." Abair is currently on tour throughout the United States.

Come back to GRAMMY.com tomorrow to view performances from Abair's set at the Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party.

Click on the "5 Questions With ... interviews" tag below for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.

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