"People are generally frightened by diversity", states Luthier, Composer, and Multi-Instrumentalist Paul Adams. "I love the idea of unity within diversity, so I try to encompass many cultures and traditions in music."
Adams' multifarious past was birthed from a musical father and artistic mother. "Dad introduced me to Louis Armstrong and Besse Smith. Mom would paint, and float through the house listening to Liszt and Beethoven. I've always loved big band jazz and am proud that my cousin Mike Wallace was trombonist with Stan Kenton for many years. Slowly , other influences like The Beatles, Dylan, Pete Seeger, Leo Kottke, Terry Riley, Copeland, and many others took root. "I was impressed with what Peter Gabriel was doing as he was able to manifest what my training in Ethnomusiclology taught me. Now with these new digital recording tools I can paint pictures."
As a student of Ethnomusicology under Dr. Joel Maring at Southern Illinois University, he became interested in building ethnic and exotic musical instruments. Having received commissions from folks like Daryl Hall, members of Stevie Wonder, The Pointer Sisters, and others was a rich reward in itself but, "making music was really my first love. It was during this period that he began composing commercials for such companies as The Siemans Corporation, Subaru, Motorola, Caterpillar, John Deer, Bryant Air conditioning, Nordica Ski Boots, Chrysler and others.
Next came his critically acclaimed debut album Various Waves. Various' marriage of Jazz, New Age, World Music, Folk, and other Ethnic traditions was placed in the TOP FIVE of new releases for 1990 by Musical Starstreams, the largest commercially syndicated instrumental radio show in America.
The need to stretch and combine the influences of world musics he studiedl resulted in Wonder Dancing On Global Bop, - a fusion of elements that also include Flamenco, Jazz, and a touch of Bluegrass. "John Deliberto from the syndicated radio show ECHO's was an integral part in it's success," says Adams. "His constant air play and very kind review in Tower Records PULSE Magazine helped a great deal!"
Next came the acoustic landscape A View From The Plain. "This CD is my ode to the Prairie, as well as a nod to folks like Aaron Copeland, John Fahey, Leo Kottke, and David Grissman. I wanted to offer a thematic album that utilized the drop thumb style of guitar that was so influential to me. I also wanted it to be sweet and gentle, with an element of energy and humor."
When Adams' friend Dave Hoffman left for his world tour as Ray Charles' Trumpet/Flugelhorn soloist, he dropped off a bag full of tapes and gave Paul carte blanche to tinker. "I bumped everything to my multitrack, and added a touch of instrumentation". From Energy To Stillness is a reflection of the album as well as Daves character. When he came off tour, he made changes to my changes, and that was that.
"A large part of the artistic process is growth and risk. I always knew I had to use my voice." His album In The Land Where I Come From was the next progressive step. I also wanted the album to swing, and integrate my poetry in a mystical/musical context. So, using harmonies with my voice was the most logical choice. That's how the song I WANNA DANCE, and BREATHE came about". I was also very lucky to have some wonderful players such as Dave Hoffman, Kit Watkins ( from HAPPY THE MAN and CAMEL. ), Doug Knecht, Mark Smith and Dr Kyle Gregory lend their talents as well!"
jAdams also works in the mental health field. He says he learns more about the artistic experience from these clients than he could ever repay! "There's a sense of challenge and perspective when you see lifes PRIME ISSUES etched on the faces of those in pain. We helpers are the students." His album THE PROPERTY OF WATER was created w/ these issues in mind. It's vehicle is meant to be a meditative journey AND won the best album of the year award from WIND ANDWIRE Magazine in 1998.
Adams' then released a holiday CD entitled THIS CHRISTMAS. "I wanted to keep the mood steady and acoustic throughout, so I focused primarily on acoustic instruments such as Guitar, Mandolin, Dobro, and Dulcimer.
A book of poetry has been completed and many are available on this site
Adams has written feature articles on philosophical, musical, and artistic subjects for a number of Music Magazines. "I really enjoy writing about the artistic experience - especially in areas of perception. Music is a very wacky art form. Like film ( Adams' cousin Bruce Evans was the academy award nominated screenwriter for the movie Stand By Me. ), it has a very close alliance with commerce. I see a lot of musical craft out there,- but not alot of art."
He goes on to say that, "much of the perception of one piece of art being superior to another is based on the music industries various elements of measurement" ( sales figures, adrenalin/sexual/controversy response, etc.). In business, the ability to predict and control is essential. It just shouldn't be the ONLY tool of validation. Independent thought and evaluation was a gift given me by my mother, and a wonderful English Literature teacher I had in college. She would encourage us to evaluate prose on it's own merits, AND, allow us independent choice of interpretation. The music audience isn't encouraged to think independently by the record industry. "Baaaaaa Baaaaaa...."
THE NEURONS is Adams and David Hoffman's newest release. "It was designed primarily for groove and live dance. SMOOTH VIBES Magazine in England says," We receive all manner of CDís for review but one item that recently dropped into my mailbox has completely blown my mind. Itís the CD titled Dance by ex Ray Charles tour band trumpeter / flugelhorn player David Hoffman and Paul Adams." For more reviews of THE NEURONS go here. NEURONS REVIEW 1. NEURONS REVIEW 2