Today’s Guest: Mindi Abair, saxophonist
Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience that includes Clarence “Big Man” Clemons, David Sanborn and the ghosts of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane … in the new new media capitol of the world – and birthplace of Mindi Abair! … St. Petersburg, Florida!
Not everyone took saxophone player Mindi Abair’s path to being a guest on Mr. Media.
Most get booked through a publicist, quite honestly. I get a note or a phone call saying, “Have you ever heard of…” Something like that. I consider each one carefully and invite only the men and women who strike a chord with me.
But in Mindi’s case, I received an email from someone whom I trust without question – her aunt, Becky James. Becky has been transcribing audio interviews for me for the last two decades. She probably knows things about me from those recordings that even my wife doesn’t, and bless her, she’ll take those stories to the grave.
MINDY ABAIR podcast excerpt: “Every one of the American Idol contestants looked at me backstage and said, ‘NO!’ They are not making you wear that underwear onstage, are they? But I did the dress rehearsal in men’s underwear, trying to look like Tom Cruise… They gave me tighty-whiteys! I’ve known Randy Jackson for years; I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head! … It was not until I came out in my regular clothes that Steven Tyler asked who I was.”
Anyway, one day she sent a note saying, “You should have my niece, Mindi, on your show. She’s a saxophone player.”
But then I did a little homework. Mindi Abair is an outstanding saxophone player, one of the most talented individuals of her generation on her instrument. And, if you don’t want to believe me – or Aunt Becky – you should have seen her recent appearances on “American Idol,” first blowing away the audience and judges alongside contestant Paul McDonald on Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll.” She returned a few weeks later to accompany another singer on the show, Casey Abrams.
Oh, and she was just named Best International Instrumentalist at the Wave Awards in Toronto.
And another thing: Mindi — a graduate of St. Petersburg’s Northside Christian High School and Berklee College of Music in Boston — was featured on the front page of Yahoo Music as their lead story the day after her first “American Idol” feature. By the end of the day, “the mystery saxophist” story had received 3 million clickthroughs.
What can I say? Aunt Becky knows her saxophone stuff!