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Music Monday: Jazz, Blues, & Saxophone Tunes

To continue in our Music Monday mini-series, we bring you the story of an incredibly talented musician. This great artist was a world-renowned saxophone player, flutist, blues singer, and bandleader. George Rufus Adams is known worldwide for his medleys and played with several artists and musical groups in his career. Today, Adams is known as one of the most gifted saxophone players of his era.

Born April 29, 1940 in Covington, Georgia, Adams grew up with a passion for music and started playing piano in his teens. By the time he reached high school, George switched to tenor saxophone and started playing with local funk bands. He then went on to study music at Clark College in Atlanta and was personally tutored by Wayman Carver, the first jazz flautist and veteran of the Chick Webb Band (1930’s).

Adams performed his music as both a solo artists and with a collaboration of many different musical groups, including the band Phalanx. He even performed with other big musicians of the day, including Don Pullen, Gil Evans, Charlie Mingus, and Sam Cooke!

In music history, Adams was known for his performances with other jazz artists as well as his individual talent for the tenor saxophone. “Adams had a unique ability to control his instrument in its higher reaches, and his well-developed technique enabled him to produce very high notes with full tonal quality.” Reportedly, he would bend over backwards sometimes while playing, almost ending up on his back! He was also known was his unique, wailing voice for blues singing—with songs varying from traditional ballads to wild, howling melodies.  

So, the next time you’re in the mood for a smooth groove or some howling good blues, then sit back, kick up your feet, and enjoy listening to Covington’s George Rufus Adams. Click here to listen to Adams play What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. And for more information on local Georgia musicians or the Year of Georgia Music, visit Explore Georgia

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