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Jazz Masters: Jerry Adler

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Album Review

Not as well-known as his older brother, Larry Adler, Jerry Adler has had a successful career as one of the rare virtuosos of the harmonica. In addition to his performing, the younger Adler has scored themes for such well-known films as Shane, The Juggler, and The James Dean Story, and has worked with numerous TV and show personalities. This album has Adler in his favorite venue, performing with a symphony orchestra, this time the Abilene Philharmonic, before a large, appreciative audience. The play list reveals the scope of his repertoire, running the gamut from well-known patriotic songs through classic standards to blues and jazz pieces, and even offering a nod to the classical with an excerpt from "Rhapsody in Blue." A showman as well as virtuoso, he has the audience's attention when he holds his breath for what seems like forever during the playing of the "Al Jolson Medley" and as he gives and takes with the Philharmonic's clarinet, which seems to be his favorite instrument to work with. The orchestra's lead clarinetist does very well in accommodating his/her playing to Adler's on such cuts as "Sophisticated Lady." Sometimes Adler has the full orchestra backing him. But most tracks are more intimate presentations, with just a small group drawn from the Philharmonic members, giving the playing a jazzy feel. This gambit is used to great effect on such tunes as "Our Love Is Here to Stay" and "Mood Indigo." Here and elsewhere, the mouth organ master demonstrates his facility for moving between octaves, apparently using the chromatic harmonica, which has two sets of reeds. Unlike his brother's extensive discography, this release is Adler's first as a soloist. But it is a very good one and worth having.

Jazz Masters: Jerry Adler, Jerry Adler
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