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Mindi Abair: “You Can’t Ask for Anything More in a Band Than to Play With Friends and Have These Musicians That Inspire You to Get Better Every Night”


The interview with renowned musician Mindi Abair provides a comprehensive exploration of her musical journey, influences, and perspectives on education and performance. Abair’s early exposure to music within her family, characterized by her father’s dynamic saxophone performances, ignited her passion for the instrument from a young age. Despite societal expectations, she embraced the saxophone, later discovering its unique role in shaping her identity. Growing up in a diverse musical environment, encompassing blues, soul, jazz, rock and roll, and opera, Abair developed a versatile and genre-blending approach to her music.

Her formal education, particularly at Berklee, played a pivotal role, with Joe Viola serving as a transformative mentor. Abair’s journey into jazz was unconventional, propelled by exposure to influential figures like Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley. Her transition into the professional realm was marked by an unexpected opportunity, as Bobby Lyle, a prominent jazz keyboardist, discovered her talents on the street and invited her to join his tour. This serendipitous beginning led to collaborations with renowned artists like Teena Marie, Jonathan Butler, and Duran Duran.

Abair’s distinctive musical style, combining rock, blues, jazz, and soul, reflects the diverse influences of her upbringing. Her latest album, “No Good Deed,” showcases the synergy within her band, The Boneshakers, and marks a significant point in her artistic evolution. Despite her intense touring schedule, Abair emphasizes the importance of balancing professional and personal life, cherishing moments with family and finding inspiration beyond the music scene.

The interview also delves into Abair’s approach to practicing, staying in shape on the road, and her continuous pursuit of growth as a musician. She reflects on the significance of making music that evokes emotion and shares insights into her creative process when approaching a new piece. Abair’s commitment to education is evident in her engagement with masterclasses and advocacy for music programs in schools. Encouraging students to find their unique voice, she underscores the importance of inspiration in the learning process.

The discussion concludes with Abair’s thoughts on her recent album, future projects, and advice for aspiring musicians. Her candid storytelling and passion for music offer a glimpse into the multi-faceted world of a seasoned artist, imparting valuable lessons and inspiration to both students and educators in the realm of music.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music