Dr. Frank Eaton Adams, Sr. was born on February 2, 1928, in Birmingham, Alabama. Adams was an accomplished jazz musician, playing the clarinet and alto sax with a style and tone that was clear and instantly recognizable, but above all he was an educator and mentor. He played with some of the greatest jazz musicians to ever perform including Duke Ellington, Erskine Hawkins, Tiny Bradshaw, Lucky Millinder, and Sun Ra.
In 1950, he took a temporary teaching position at Lincoln Elementary School in Birmingham, Alabama. His plan was to rejoin the Duke Ellington Orchestra when they returned from a European tour, but he quickly discovered a passion for teaching and mentoring.