George Adams

born on 29/4/1940 in Covington, Georgia, United States

died on 14/11/1992 in New York City, NY, United States

George Adams (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

George Adams (musician)

George Rufus Adams (April 29, 1940 Covington, Georgia November 14, 1992 New York City, New York)[1] was an American jazz musician who played tenor saxophone, flute and bass clarinet. He is best known for his work with Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Roy Haynes and in the quartet he co-led with pianist Don Pullen, featuring bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Dannie Richmond. He was also known for his idiosyncratic singing.[2]


George Adams' musical style was rooted in the blues and in primarily that of African-American popular music. As a saxophonist his greatest influences seem to have been Rahsaan Roland Kirk, with whom he played in Mingus's band on occasion, as well as the adventurous edginess of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. He played with tremendous intensity and passion, as well as lyricism and subtlety. At times he bent over backwards when playing, almost ending up on his back. His singing varied from wild wailing blues to ballads.

Adams and Don Pullen shared a musical vision and their quartet straddled the range from R&B to the avant-garde. (The quartet was sometimes known as the "George AdamsDon Pullen Quartet", and sometimes as the "Don PullenGeorge Adams Quartet".) After Adams' death, Pullen dedicated to his memory the 1993 CD Ode To Life, recorded by his African-Brazilian Connection, and in particular the ballad "Ah George, We Hardly Knew Ya".

One of Adams' last recordings was America on the Blue Note label. This album consists of classic American songs like "Tennessee Waltz", "You Are My Sunshine" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" as well as a few original songs that articulate Adams' positive view of his country and the gifts it had given him. It also includes "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful".

Adams was a member of the band that played Epitaph by Mingus.


As leader

  • Jazz a Confronto 22 (Horo, 1975)
  • Suite for Swingers (Horo, 1976)
  • Paradise Space Shuttle (Timeless Muse, 1979)
  • Sound Suggestions (ECM, 1979)
  • Hand to Hand - with Dannie Richmond (Soul Note, 1980)
  • Melodic Excursions - with Don Pullen (Timeless, 1982)
  • Gentlemen's Agreement - with Dannie Richmond (Soul Note, 1983)
  • More Sightings - with Hannibal Peterson (Enja, 1984 - released 1994)
  • Nightingale (Blue Note, 1989)
  • America (Blue Note, 1989)
  • Old Feeling (Something Else, 1991)

As the George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet

  • All That Funk (Palcoscenico, 1979)
  • More Funk (Palcoscenico, 1979)
  • Don't Lose Control (Soul Note, 1979)
  • Earth Beams (Timeless, 1981)
  • Life Line (Timeless, 1981)
  • City Gates (Timeless, 1983)
  • Live at the Village Vanguard (Soul Note, 1983)
  • Live at the Village Vanguard Vol. 2 (Soul Note, 1983)
  • Decisions (Timeless, 1984)
  • Live at Montmartre - with John Scofield (Timeless, 1985)
  • Breakthrough (Blue Note, 1986)
  • Song Everlasting (Blue Note, 1987)

As sideman

With Craig Harris

  • Black Bone (Soul Note, 1983)

With Charles Mingus

  • Mingus Moves (Atlantic, 1973)
  • Mingus at Carnegie Hall (Atlantic, 1974)
  • Changes One (Atlantic, 1974)
  • Changes Two (Atlantic, 1974)

With Don Pullen

  • Jazz a Confronto 21 (Horo, 1975)
  • Tomorrow's Promises (Atlantic, 1977)

With James Blood Ulmer

  • Revealing (In + Out, 1977)

With McCoy Tyner

  • The Greeting (Milestone, 1978)
  • Horizon (Milestone, 1979)
  • Things Ain't What They Used to Be (Blue Note, 1989)

With Gil Evans

  • 1975 There Comes a Time
  • 1977 Priestess
  • 1981 Lunar Eclypse (live in Europe 1981)
  • 1984 Live at Sweet Basil: Volume 1 and 2
  • 1987 Live At Umbria Jazz: Volume 1 and 2

With Phalanx

  • 1986 Got Something Good For You
  • 1988 Original Phalanx
  • 1988 In Touch


  1. Priestley, Brian; Kernfeld, Barry (2002). Adams, George (Rufus) Barry Kernfeld The new Grove dictionary of jazz, 2nd, New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc..
  2. [George Adams (musician) at All Music Guide Allmusic]
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