October 1997
 International Musician
CANADIAN SCENE

BY MURRAY GINSBERG

Bucky Adams After a Lifetime

     As in many North American cities, the Halifax jazz scene has been well established for decades, and long-time saxophonist Bucky Adams has been a leading force for at least 40 years.  His authoritative playing has been noted for its full, mellifluous richness, and East Coast concerts and jazz festivals wouldn't be complete without the tenorman being part of them.

     During a long and colorful career that began more than 50 years ago in the Gerrish Street Hall, the focal point for Nova Scotia's black community, Charles Richmond ("Bucky") Adams has played everywhere in the Maritimes club and bar circuit.  He has performed with such artists as Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson, enjoyed widespread coverage on radio and television, and recently appeared together with the Nova Scotia Mass Choir in a Martin Luther King Tribute concert with Symphony Nova Scotia.

     In April, after years of performing live, with 12 grandchildren and hitting his 60th birthday, Adams decided it was time to lay something down for posterity.  He has recorded a CD.  Remarkably, "In a Lovin' Way" is his first major release, something he admits is long overdue.  "I figured I was getting on in age," he says.  "If this is the last thing I do, my family will have something to remember me by."

     "In a Lovin' Way" is a musical autobiography full of pictures from his childhood to the present.  All but one of the tunes are composed by Adams, or co-composed with Woody Woods.  "Songs like 'Maynard Street' and 'Harbour View' have been floating around in my head for years," he says.  "Through it all I've tried to preserve the feeling of the good times."

     Some of the album's other songs include "Bucky's Back," "Remember the Good Days," and the title track, which features a warm vocal from Adams.  One of the co-composed tracks is the emotional "Africville Shuffle," whose cynical title refers to the way residents of that once-thriving, now, leveled community were swept from their homes.

     The tight backup group - drummer David James, bassist Skip Beckwith, and pianist Woody Woods - provides Adams with the space to swing and sing with seasoned authority that has been his hallmark for years.

     Recorded at Halifax's Deep Nine Studio, "In a Lovin' Way" shows Adams' playing and writing talents off at his best.  The saxophonist's own liner notes provide an elegant touch to an extraordinary album.