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I Got Rhythm

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Album Review

Harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler spent most of his time in England and Europe during the 1930s. Like Living Era's Maestro of the Mouth Organ, Pearl Flapper's I Got Rhythm focuses upon the recordings he made between December 1934 and May 1938. The harmonica was already prevalent in the blues during the late '20s and early '30s, as documented in recordings by such mouth harp masters as Noah Lewis, Freeman Stowers and Jaybird Coleman. Before Adler, the instrument had made only a few modest inroads into the jazz world. One famous example is Roy Smeck's homey harmonica solo during King Oliver's December 1929 recording of "Frankie and Johnny." It was Larry Adler who helped establish the mouth organ as a viable option in both jazz and classical music. Only three examples from the latter category are included in this compilation: George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," the "Hungarian Dance No. 5" by Johannes Brahms and Anton Rubinstein's "Melody in F." Aside from the traditional "Londonderry Air" and a couple of tunes associated with Fred Astaire, most everything else comes from the working jazz repertoire of the day. Adler was a brilliant technician and a skilled improviser. The recordings he made during the '30s paved the way for modern masters like Toots Thielemans and Peter "Madcat" Ruth.


Born: 10 February 1914 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Larry Adler was an internationally renowned harmonica virtuoso whose jazz and European classical interpretations brought unprecedented amount of attention and acclaim to the humble mouth organ. The son of Russian Jewish immigrants (the family name was changed from Zelakovitch), Lawrence Cecil Adler was born on February 10, 1914 in Baltimore. His first performing idol was Al Jolson; he also admired comedian George Jessel and worked as a sidekick for Eddie Cantor, whom he resembled. Adler's career...
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I Got Rhythm, Larry Adler
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