Meanwhile the horn stayed in its case and was still on the shelf collecting dust.
Scott Adair, Music, Bands,
Greensboro, NC, Greensboro NC,
Musician Scott Adair, Music, Bands,
Greensboro, NC, Greensboro NC,
Musician, Susun Coleman Miller
Scott Adair Music
His stage band (The UNC Jazz Lab Band) was open to non music majors as well as music majors if you could make the cut. A close friend of
mine from high school (who was also attending UNC-CH) told me about The Jazz Lab Band and begged me to audition. He had played music
with me in high school and he was going to audition. He insisted that I do so as well. I was very reticent and resistant at first but my friend’s
persistence won me over. I auditioned and was given the lead chair in the saxophone section (alto sax).
Suddenly I was reconnected with music and the experience of playing in John’s band was tremendous. When I took my leave of absence from
UNC-CH an older bandleader in Greensboro phoned Mr. Harding and asked him if he knew of any young sax players that might be available to
go on the road that winter for a brief tour. John recommended me and I took off with The Burt Massengale Orchestra. Burt was well established
and his band was more of a ballroom band that played to older audiences at hotels, country clubs, cotillions, etc. I was back in my element but I
was in a new marketplace and I was learning the ropes from an older bandleader.
In Burt’s band I was meeting an endless string of excellent professional musicians who I respected and I learned a lot from them. After about a
two year stint with Burt the same friend who got me in John Harding’s Jazz Lab came to get me again. That friend’s name is Alan Ett. This time
Alan declared we were going to Boston to further our musical educations. Alan is now a very successful producer of music in Los Angeles. In
retrospect I now see that he was also my guardian angel back then who was guiding me back in the right musical direction for the second time.
The years that I spent in Boston were golden. After several months I got a feel for my new surroundings and I decided to try college once again.
I was accepted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music. It was a match made in heaven. My academics from UNC-CH and UNC-G
transferred so I could really focus on the music courses. By the time I got my performance degree I had graduated at the top of my class,
Summa Cum Laude, and my long and protracted college years had finally finished on a very positive note.
During my senior year in high school I was accepted by UNC (Chapel
Hill) as an incoming freshman for the upcoming fall semester. I moved into the dormitory that fall
and roomed with one of my closest childhood friends. I remember putting my saxophone up on a
shelf not knowing exactly what I wanted to study. My first declared major was psychology.
My Story Continued...
The world was changing rapidly. The Vietnam War had escalated. There were protests and
disruptions at colleges all around the country including the nightmare at Kent State. That
ultimately led to UNC-CH closing early that spring. My name was put in a lottery which meant I
could possibly be drafted into warfare even though I was a college student in good standing.
|My freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill
My Education . . .
Playing hooky at Duke University
It was an unsettling time for a freshman who was still wet behind the ears - particularly a
freshman with no real career direction. By the time those first couple of years had come
and gone I had switched my major to anthropology then to music for a brief spell at UNC-
Greensboro. I wasn’t really getting what I wanted out of the music department there (at
that time) plus I don’t think I was particularly focused. I then came back to UNC-CH for a
brief time as an anthropology major once again.
By this time I had spun my wheels enough that I decided to take some time away from
school. However something had happened during that freshman year in Chapel Hill that
laid the foundation for a major life change even though I could not see it coming.
A young music professor named John Harding was starting the first stage band (a large
jazz ensemble) that had ever been formed at UNC-CH as part of the curriculum. John is
a very cool guy who had put in some time on the road with big bands before becoming a
college professor. He now lives in Charlotte and has retired from teaching but he still
performs. As life would have it he and I have shared the stage on many occasions in
recent years. He was a major influence on me at that time and he eventually helped
open the door to my musical career.
My Story continues
With My Career
|With my Parents
Graduation from Berklee
|Web Design by Susun Coleman Miller
All Rights Reserved by M. Scott Adair © 2012
No part of this website copy or imagery may be reproduced without the
expressed written consent of
M. Scott Adair
|The Berklee College of Music
in Boston MA
Berklee is a very dynamic college for music which has always emphasized an education in contemporary music. Although it is not
always a recognizable institution to the general public it has always been held in high esteem within the music community. The school
was founded in the 1940’s as the first college for jazz and big band music. The faculty was and still is comprised of first rate and well
known working musicians. Berklee was the first school to codify this relatively new music and it became the prototype for many other
university jazz programs.
Over the years Berklee has embraced about every style of music from all corners of the earth. The student body is multi-cultural and
the environment is electric. I went there recently and found it to be every bit as exciting if not more than when I attended.
I had so many exceptional teachers and classes but the two titans for me were Joe Viola (saxophone teacher) and Herb Pomeroy
(ensemble director and arranging professor). Joe and Herb were both New Englanders who had been with Berklee since its earliest
days. Both men are now deceased but are recognized as two of the all-time greats. It was awesome just to be in their presence.
My post graduate education was furthered with private studies. I worked with Joe Lovano and George Coleman in New York City and
with Pete Christlieb in Los Angeles. Lovano is a perennial award winning saxophonist and Coleman is a seasoned veteran formerly
with Miles Davis and countless others. He is a senior member of New York City’s jazz elite. Christlieb is a former member of Doc
Severinsen’s Tonight Show Orchestra and is also well known for his recordings with artists such as Steely Dan and Natalie Cole. That
was Pete playing the gorgeous sax solo on Unforgettable.
I never stopped playing piano and I was lucky to get some fine instruction at the keyboard. When all is said and done the real
education in music for me has always been the interaction between the musicians on the bandstand no matter where that may be. The
magic can happen anywhere at any given time - at a wedding reception, in a concert hall or at a bar. For me the real deal is that
conversation between the players in a mysterious and special language called music.