Larry Adler

Maestro of the Mouth Organ

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This Living Era tribute to harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler presents some of his greatest performances dating from the mid-'30s. It opens with a glorious six-minute realization of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" recorded in London in 1935 with pianist Carroll Gibbons and the Savoy Orpheans. Other fascinating harmonica adaptations of classical themes presented here are Ravel's Bolero, Fritz Kreisler's Caprice Viennois, and Manuel de Falla's Ritual Fire Dance. A versatile and consistently surprising performer, Adler was also capable of handling show tunes (heavy on the Fred Astaire repertoire) and popular jazz standards. His technique was stunningly inventive and dependably entertaining. Adler backed Ruth Etting on her lachrymose 1930 rendition of James P. Johnson's "If I Could Be with You (One Hour Tonight)," the only track recorded on U.S. soil. Here Adler cheerfully contributes to the sentimentality of Etting's tearful delivery. Most of these recordings were made in London between 1934 and 1937. Four splendid collaborations with Django Reinhardt, St├ęphane Grappelli, and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France were recorded in Paris on May 31, 1938. While most of Larry Adler's recordings are substantial and rewarding, this compilation is uncommonly pleasant and satisfying. Adler was quite a character. Further insights may be gleaned from his autobiography, wryly entitled It Ain't Necessarily So.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 6:14
2
feat: Ruth Etting
2:58
3 3:30
4 3:05
5 2:40
6 3:21
7 3:18
8 3:12
9 3:07
10 3:20
11 2:27
12 3:06
13 3:22
14 2:41
15 3:04
16 3:09
17 2:46
18 3:07
19
3:12
20 3:03
21 2:33
22 3:13
23 2:51
24 3:16
blue highlight denotes track pick