Adam Ledbetter is often known as the keyboard-ripping, beat-boxing, harmonizing rapper half of OKC’s dynamic musical duo, Adam and Kizzie. Oklahoma City also knows Adam as the go-to jazz pianist in the scene. A true jazz musician, Adam is rooted in the history and vocabulary of jazz, making him a refreshingly authentic player and major player in OKC and anywhere he hits on tour.
Adam Ledbetter, The Gatekeeper of the OKC Jazz Scene
I was in Jazz Ensemble at the University of Oklahoma 7 years ago. I asked the best pianist in the jazz program how I could get better (expecting him to give me some scales to work on or something). He said “go listen to Adam Ledbetter in OKC.” I loaded up a group of college friends that week to catch Adam’s combo 40 minutes away from the Norman campus. Our young minds were not quite prepared for the ideas a 20-something year old Adam Ledbetter was dishing out with the “New Growth Jazz Combo” in the Gold Dome building on 23rd Street. Since then, I’ve heard Adam play dozens of times, and it’s never been the same twice.
Adam is a true improviser. A talented sound engineer was talking about a recording session he’d done with Adam a few months ago, “He’s an improviser like Aretha Franklin, every take is brilliant, but each one is completely different.” Of course, improvising is not winging it by any means. Adam is an exceptional natural talent with a mind to organize and codify the language, information, and history of the music. He makes sure he can call on his ideas at will, and thoughtfully summons whatever rhythm, voicing, or motif is appropriate for any musical situation.
“A glass breaking in the back of the club could be part of the tune,” Adam said in a video interview for his feature at Saints Sessions. If you can avoid being too mesmerized by his keyboard technique or witty banter, you’ll be sucked into his world if you can follow how he feeds off of his fellow musicians and audience during a live session.
Adam was also one the key musicians involved in launching Saints Sessions and curating Featured Artists. There’s so much more we could write about Adam and all his projects… Listen to his recent interview and hear Adam live.
Check out Adam’s interview with the Inspiring Conversations Podcast: