Sax, trumpet, guitar players to perform holiday showWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The holidays are a time for Mindi Abair to jam with the fam.
“Christmas was a chance for my family to all be together, which was a very cool thing; my dad was a touring musician, so he was on the road a lot,” she said. “We’d just sit around and play and it was really fun. I’d play sax, my dad would play piano, and my grandmother would sing. It was just a cool holiday tradition.”
Abair has added another seasonal tradition – touring with guitarist Peter White and trumpeter Rick Braun.
“Peter White asked me, it’s now been six years ago, if I wanted to go out and do a Christmas tour with him,” Abair said during a phone interview from her Hollywood home. “I’m such a dork when it comes to Christmas – I love everything that’s around it. So obviously having written a few songs of my own about Christmas, I said yes, and we’ve done it every year since.”
Braun brought his brass and joined the holiday tour a year later. The trio released a disc, “Peter White Christmas with Mindi Abair and Rick Braun,” in 2007. The CD features two songs written by Abair – “The Best Part of Christmas” and “I Can’t Wait for Christmas.”
“I kind of put everything into ‘I Can’t Wait for Christmas’ that Christmas was to me. I watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ every year, so there’s a line with Jimmy Stewart. I love to bake pies, so there’s a line with a home-baked apple pie in it,” the saxophonist and singer-songwriter said. “It turned out pretty kitschy. It’s not your tearjerker holiday song; it definitely gets a few laughs.”
Abair, White and Braun will bring their festive, jazzy show to the Valentine Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11. Tickets are $47, $39 and $35.
“For this show, it’s about half of our own music and half Christmas music, and we all play on each other’s music,” Abair said.
Her latest effort, “Stars,” was released in May. Although it’s her fourth disc, the female horn player feels she still needs to prove herself.
“There’s a lot of speculation whether being black or white or a woman or a man or young or old holds you back from doing what you want to do in life and/or music. I think our presidential race just showed it’s a pretty level playing field. I’ve always come from the perspective that if you really work hard, if you’re good at what you do, if you prove yourself, then it is a level playing field,” Abair said. “But I think being a woman or any type of minority, you have to prove yourself more.
“Definitely, when I walk out on a stage if no one has ever seen me play or heard me before, there’s no expectation that I can play,” she said. “I actually did a concert years ago, I was playing with [guitarist] Jonathan Butler, and my mom was sitting in the audience and the lady next to my mom when I walked on stage she goes, ‘What is that skinny little white bitch doing on stage?’ And my mom just cowered in her seat. And by the end of the song I played, people were on their feet, and the lady stood up and screamed, ‘You go, you skinny little white bitch!’ She was my biggest fan after that.
“But I think that as a woman, you do have to prove yourself more, and you can either look at that as a bad thing or you can kind of view it as a quest and have some fun with it,” she said.
For more information about Abair, visit www.mindiabair.com.