KCUR's Band Of The Week: Oleta Adams

May 24, 2017

A popular lounge singer in Kansas City in the 1980s, Oleta Adams had a massive pop hit in 1991 with the heartfelt ballad “Get Here.” She's back in town on Sunday for a main-stage performance at the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Adams' distinctively dusky voice sounds as inviting as ever on Third Set. Her first album in eight years, it is intended to convey the relaxed atmosphere of a working band’s third and final set of the evening. The album's “Do I Move You?” is a fresh arrangement of a Nina Simone composition that the legend recorded on her 1967 album Nina Sings the Blues:

Fun backstory: The members of Tears For Fears “discovered” Adams as they relaxed in a hotel bar during a during a tour stop in Kansas City, and Adams is featured on Tears For Fears’ 1989 hit “Woman In Chains.”

The Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival, the latest incarnation of the American Jazz Museum’s annual large-scale event, begins Friday, May 26.  Adams performs on the main stage at 8:30 on Sunday, May 28. Among a lengthy list of local and national performers are the jazz legend Chick Corea and the neo-soul artist Lalah Hathaway.

Bill Brownlee’s writing appears weekly in The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine. He blogs about Kansas City’s jazz scene at Plastic Sax.