Born in Indianapolis, Indiana Lindsey Blair began playing guitar at 10 years of age. By the age of 11, he was already playing for paying gigs. By the age of 13, his band Blues Underground, was featured on local Indianapolis news programs on channel 4 and 13. The music scene in those days was exploding with music from bands like The Beatles, The Cream, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Santana, Yes, Sly and the Family Stone, The Band and countless others that made a lasting impression on the young musician. In those days, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton were the main influences for the developing young guitarist. There was also a local Indianapolis guitarist that had “hit the big time” named Wes Montgomery. At first Blair recalls “I saw Wes on TV and it seemed all he was doing was playing the melody in octaves with his thumb, but my father was a member of a mail order record club and one day a live recording of Wes arrived in the mail called “Willow Weep For Me”. The “Willow” album was a record that really blew me away.”
After graduating from high school, Lindsey moved to Miami to attend classes at The University of Miami where he studied jazz guitar with teachers Randall Dollahon, Peter Harris and Stan Samole. While at UM, Blair came in contact with several musicians like Steve Morse, Joe Diorio and Bruce Hornsby who would later achieve great things, while hearing stories about other monsters who had recently left UM like Jaco Pastorious and Pat Metheny. The Miami scene in those days was a great place to study because you could go to school during the day and study with great teachers and go to a gig at night and immediately apply what you learned on a 5 night a week club gig playing with great musicians. When attending UM Lindsey was contracted to play shows for artists like Lena Horne and Vic Damone while also playing with local “cover bands” doing the music of artists like Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan and Earth Wind and Fire.
The year after Lindsey graduated from the University Of Miami he was hired for a national tour with jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson. After the tour with Maynard, Blair decided to move to Los Angeles California. While in L.A. Lindsey began doing recording sessions playing on song demos, jingles, film scores and records. Some of the projects Lindsey worked on in L.A. were sound tracks for TV shows such as Eye on LA, Entertainment Tonight, CBS Movie of the Week and NBC Afterschool Special. Blair also began teaching guitar at Valley Arts Guitar where he taught in the room next to Jennifer Batten, who would later recommend him to replace her at the teaching position she held at the Guitar Institute of Technology ( a.k.a. GIT) when she left town to tour with Michael Jackson. GIT was a great environment to teach in because if a student did not show for a lesson Blair could wander down the hall and jam with fellow teachers like Scott Henderson, Joe Diorio, Norman Brown, Jeff Berlin, Ron Eschte, Gary Willis or Ralph Humphries who were scheduled for “open counseling” (which is GIT code for big ass jam session).
Lindsey decided to move out of L.A.and back to Miami to attend grad school at UM when his girlfriend of 10 years Dianne Nelson was tragically killed in a car accident.
While attending grad school at UM Lindsey played with several guest clinicians the school brought to town like Dizzy Gillespie, David Liebman, Bob Mintzer, Maria Schneider and Jim McNeeley as well as several others. In addition to attending classes, Blair was also employed by UM as a teacher handling private jazz guitar lessons, various ensembles and jazz guitar theory class. When
Professor Randall Dollahon took a semester sabbatical, he left Lindsey in charge of the jazz guitar program. Blair continued to teach at UM after he graduated until he left for a teaching position at FIU. While at FIU, Lindsey was asked to contribute a chapter about jazz guitar to a book that two former IAJE presidents named Dick Dunscomb and Dr. Willie L. Hill Jr. were compiling called “Jazz Pedagogy " The Jazz educators Handbook And Resource Guide”. Students that have studied with Blair at either GIT, UM, or FIU have gone on to play as professionals with such artists as Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Jeff Beck, Aretha Franklin, The Bee Gees, Barry White, Shakira, Patty Labelle and many others. Other students such as Jon Kreisberg have gone on to become jazz recording artists in thier own right. In an interview for the "Unearth" album on Mel Bay records Jon Kreisberg said "In college I began (studying) with Lindsey Blair. He had a great attitude about combinig jazz ideas with those from other styles.
Since moving back to Miami Lindsey has had the good fortune to continue playing guitar with artists like Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine, The Jaco Pastorious Big Band, Ed Calle, 2 Live Crew, Bobby Caldwell, Chayanne, Jeff Berlin, Dos Almas (featuring Raul Midon), Soraya, Arturo Sandoval and Lee Ann Womac. In addition to playing for these artists Lindsey has been involved in film and TV projects for MTV, Latin Grammys, Star Search, MTV Latino Kickoff Party and The Disney Christmas Parade.
Lindsey at Superbowl XLI
with the Miami Sound Machine Band
In 2001 Lindsey began playing on the hit television show “Don Francisco Presenta” on the Univision network where he continues to work until today. The Don Francisco show is a live talk show format for the Latin market similar to the Tonight Show. As a member of the Don Francisco Presenta band Lindsey, musical director Gerardo Flores and the rest of the band are relied on to accompany guests that care to sing on the show. Some of the guests the band has backed up include artists such as Celia Cruz, Ricky Martin, Daddy Yankee, Juanes, Julio Iglesias and dozens of others.
In 2011 Lindsey was named "Best Jazz Musician" by Miami's New Times magazine. Also 2011 marks debut release of the CD 7 Crossing, a jazz project that is the result of Lindseys collaboration with Grammy award winning producer/ keyboard player Clay Ostwald. 7 Crossing revisits both musicians jazz influences, and features the members of the famed Miami Sound Machine Jorge Casas, Olbin Burgos, Edwin Bonilla, Dave Fernandez and vocalist Joy Francis.
Lindsey continues to live in South Florida with his wife Carla and their son Dylan. Keep your eye open you might see him playing anywhere from TV, or the Super Bowl, to a local nightclub or private party.
Link to Miami New Times Article
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