Alum’s New Jazz Album Getting Rave Reviews
June 22, 2018 (Jackson, Miss.) - Michael Adkins ’14 is an expert jazz musician who sharpened his skills in songwriting at Belhaven. Now he is releasing his second album that is getting rave reviews from around the world. The Michael Adkins Quartet released Flaneur with HatHut Records this year. Flaneur features original compositions from Adkins with collaborations from New York musicians Russ Lossing on piano, Larry Grenadier on acoustic bass, and the late Paul Motion on drums.
As a Belhaven music composition graduate, Adkins was under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew Sauerwein, professor of music. Adkins spent more than a decade in New York City as a professional sax player in Manhattan before coming to Mississippi, remembers Dr. Sauerwein. He chose to attend Belhaven and study composition, after hearing the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra play one of his pieces in a chamber series concert.
Adkins comments about his time at Belhaven, The faculty there are able to approach each student as an individual and nurture their unique musical talents. The degree program has a diversity of performance opportunities as well. This is key, learning through doing.
His new record is getting much attention around the world, in fact, it just received a five-star review from a German jazz magazine called Jazz N' More. Adkins talks about the new record, The recording session was done at Avatar studio in New York City with an incredible engineer named James Farber. This recording documented the work I was doing with Paul Motion and Larry Grenadier. The album is really about a shared vision we were expressing through the music. It's very subtle and invites the listener in.
The process of creating Flaneur was centered around focused listening. As a saxophonist I was working with the process at the piano and documenting my ideas over several months, writing things on paper. It was like refining musical ideas that would create a unique sound to improvise through in a small group context. The group process was about sympathetic listening and intent focus, while allowing the direction to move freely.
Adkins is planning several regional performances in the South and Northeast, New York, Boston, as well as Switzerland. He will also be working on two more collaborative studio recordings over the summer and fall. Adkins is finishing his master’s degree at Loyola University and plans on starting a doctoral program at New England Conservatory this fall. He hopes that his upcoming degree work will allow him to devote more time to performances.
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