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Larry Adler

Biography

Larry Adler was an internationally renowned harmonica virtuoso whose jazz and Euro classical interpretations brought unparalleled amount of interest and acclaim towards the humble mouth area organ. The kid of Russian Jewish immigrants (the family members name was transformed from Zelakovitch), Lawrence Cecil Adler was created on Feb 10, 1914 in Baltimore. His initial executing idol was Al Jolson; he also respected comedian George Jessel and proved helpful being a sidekick for Eddie Cantor, whom he resembled. Adler’s profession as a specialist mouth area organist started when, at age 14, he gained a statewide harmonica competition with an abbreviated rendition of Beethoven’s Minuet in G. Then surprised his family members by shifting to NEW YORK without parental authorization. After briefly portion as an intermission performer for Rudy Vallée, he confident bandleader Paul Ash to greatly help him secure a $100 weekly contract using a vacationing variety present that entertained viewers between movies in Paramount theaters. Adler’s immediate involvement with movie theater started when he synchronized a harmonica single using the soundtrack of the newly developed cartoon “sound toon.” He documented with vocalist Ruth Etting and made an appearance with her, Gus Edwards, and touch dancer Costs “Bojangles” Robinson at Broadway’s Palace Theater in 1929, and in Flo Ziegfeld’s Smiles with Fred and Adele Astaire in 1931. The catalyst for the turning stage in Adler’s profession was Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, which he originally presented on the Blackhawk in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, utilizing a dance music group agreement by Hal Kemp. As part of a “prologue” to Eddie Cantor’s film Roman Scandals, Adler performed Bolero at Grauman’s Chinese language Movie theater in Hollywood. Not really acquainted with the time personal of the task as created and convinced which the orchestra was lagging, he improvised wildly while waving his free of charge arm as though “chopping a low profile tree.” This extroverted screen, which he’d later explain as “corny Sturm und Drang,” brought down the home and gained him instant renown. Adler became a high-profile participant in Hollywood sociable existence. In 1934 he made an appearance within the film Many Happy Results with Ray Milland, Melts away & Allen, and Duke Ellington, and was filmed in weighty “Chinese language” makeup to get a series in Busby Berkeley’s The Performing Sea. Adler performed duets with George Gershwin, whose “Rhapsody in Blue” would become among the staples in his repertoire, which also included mouth area body organ adaptations of violin concerti by Antonio Vivaldi and J.S. Bach in addition to works made up expressly for him and his device by Malcolm Arnold, Arthur Benjamin, Jean Berger, Darius Milhaud, Cyril Scott, Graham Whettam, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Adler’s journeys being a jazz musician included producing information with Gypsy golf swing guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1938. He afterwards composed: “EASILY use an Ellington, a Django, a Costs Evans, a Dizzy Gillespie, I enjoy near the top of my type as well as beyond it. I understand that I possibly could not really duplicate the solos I documented with Django Reinhardt, since there is no more a Django to inspire me.” During Globe Battle II, Adler performed world-wide, often showing up with comedian Jack port Benny with one stage obtaining a crisis ration of mouth area organs in the recently liberated Hohner stock at Trossingen within the Dark Forest. An outspoken opposition of “any dogma that places your brain in blinkers and forbids the free of charge discussion of tips,” Adler was blacklisted during Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts, and his Academy Award-nominated rating for the film Genevieve was acknowledged to studio room orchestra conductor Muir Mathieson. In dramatic comparison to the indignity, Adler was the first person in the U.S.A. to get the sought after Grand Prix du Disque for his documenting of “Le Grisbi,” a melody found in the France gangster film Touchez-pas au Grisbi, starring Jean Gabin. He performed and documented with a number of the world’s best conductors, and stated which the “musical high stage” of his lifestyle occurred in the Royal Albert Hall in 1952 when he performed prior to the London Symphony Orchestra beneath the management of Sir Malcolm Sargent. Adler spent a lot of the second 1 / 2 of his existence within the U.K.; was presented with violinist Itzhak Perlman inside a telecast duet efficiency of “Summertime” in 1981; collaborated with Sting on Ten Summoner’s Stories; followed vocalist Kate Bush inside a edition of “THE PERSON I REALLY LIKE” in 1994 on his last great task, the all-star tribute recording The Glory of Gershwin; and passed on in London on August 7, 2001, at age 87. Larry Adler’s autobiography, It Ain’t Always So, is filled up with historical insights and the type of funny gut-level integrity that characterized his character.

Quick Facts


Full Name Larry Adler
Died August 6, 2001, London, United Kingdom
Profession Actor, Film Score Composer
Education Baltimore City College
Nationality British, American
Spouse Sally Cline, Eileen Walser
Siblings Jerry Adler
Music Songs Rhapsody in Blue, The Man I Love, Smoking Reefers, Clair de lune, Sophisticated Lady, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Genevieve Waltz, Roumanian Rhapsody, Night and Day / Tiger Rag, Hora staccato, Ritual Fire Dance, I've Got You Under My Skin, Hand-To-Mouth Boogie, Le Rififi, Londonderry Air, Love Theme and Blues, Duke Ellington medley:Solitude/It Don't Mean A thing/Mood Indigo, La Grisbi, When Day Is Done, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Red Sails in the Sunset / I'll Never Say "Never Again" Again, They All Laughed, Somebody Loves Me, Caprice Viennois, There's A Boat Dat's Leaving Soon For New York, My Man's Gone Now, Romance in D-flat major for harmonica and orchestra, I'll Build A Stairway To Paradise, Carmen Fantasy, Minuet From L'Arlesienne, Beguine, Follow the Fleet
Albums The Piano Roll Recordings, The Virtuoso Of The Mouth Organ, Larry Adler in Concert., It's All About Jazz Music, Larry Adler à l'harmonica (Mono version), Stormy Weather, I Got Rhythm, Live In Australia, The Mouth Organ Virtuoso, Saint-Louis Blues (Mono Version), Rhapsody in blue, Un tour du monde en harmonica (Mono Version), Larry Adler, The Greatest Mouth-Organ Masters Ever Made, Hey Harmonica Man, Rhapsodies and Blues, Harmonica Harmonies, Vol. 1, Master of the Mouth Organ, Discovery, Harmonica Harmonies Vol. 2, Lover Come Back to Me, That's What I Need (Remastered), The Definitive Collection of Larry Adler, The Glory of Gershwin, Harmonica Virtuoso, The Best of Larry Adler, The Great Larry Adler: Original Recordings 1934–1947, Larry Adler Plays Gershwin, The Early Years, Rhapsody In Blue - The Best Of Larry Adler, A. Benjamin: Concerto pour harmonica - Vaughan Williams: Romance pour harmonica, piano et orchestre à cordes (Mono Version), Body and Soul, The Golden Era of Larry Adler, The Best Of, Greatest Hits, Summertime (27 Tracks Digital Remastered), In Concert, Le rififi (Mono Version), Fantasy, A Larry Adler Concert, The Golden Era of Larry Adler - Volume 2
Nominations Academy Award for Best Original Music Score
Movies Sidewalks of London, Music for Millions, Three Daring Daughters, Genevieve, Jumping for Joy, A Cry from the Streets, The Hellions, They Found a Cave, The Hook, King and Country, A High Wind in Jamaica


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Adler was an indefatigable performer for American troops during World War II with comedian Jack Benny in both Europe and the Pacific.
2 Maurice Ravel gave Adler free rights to perform a cut version of "Bolero" in any medium he chose.
3 Adler became personally involved with Ingrid Bergman during one of his USO tours.
4 After Adler's refusal to co-operate with HUAAC resulted in his blacklisting, he moved to Britain with his English wife and children in 1949.
5 Performed George Gershwin's Summertime with Itzhak Perlman on Parkinson (1971) in 1980.
6 He said on his tour in Australia, that George Gershwin felt that Rhapsody in Blue had been written for him after hearing how well the song sounded when Larry played it on his harmonica. He always wished he could perform it in public with Gershwin and then realized he could despite Gershwin's death because he had an old recording made of Gershwin playing the piece which he then got transferred to a keyboard. This performance of him with Gershwin's recorded version can be heard on the Live in Australia CD.
7 Three months after performing 'Sophisticated Lady' with Duke Ellington, the two of them performed the piece at a nightclub. After the performance they were introduced to Billie Holiday, whose greeting was claimed by Adler to have been 'Man, you don't play that bloody thing, you sing it'.
8 It took 31 years after the Oscar nomination of the Genevieve score before the committee finally sent him his certificate of nomination.
9 When he was asked to do the score for Genevieve his agent asked for 750 pounds but was told the studio couldn't afford that much and instead offered him 2.5% of the profits. The agent tried to convince him to decline saying this film was intended to be a 'quota' film which would probably never make back its cost in takings. He decided to take the chance having liked what he had seen of the work thus far and as a result, within four weeks it made back the costs and he found himself able to pay to send his children through college with the money he made from the movie.
10 Along with fellow American John Sebastian (father of the same named folk-rock performer), Adler was responsible for the harmonica, or mouth organ, becoming accepted in serious musical circles. Such distinguished composers as Darius Milhaud, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Cyril Scott, wrote works especially for him, and Maurice Ravel was so impressed with his arrangement of Ravel's "Bolero" for harmonica that he asked to keep it as a souvenir.
11 Despite his self-imposed exile, he remained an American citizen, and turned down a knighthood for that reason.
12 Although both of his trials for having alleged Communist ties ended in hung juries, Adler's U.S. engagements dried up virtually overnight. Soon thereafter, he went into self-imposed exile in England, and never returned to America permanently again.
13 Surname should be Zelakovitch, however his grandfather changed it to Adler as he was sick of being the last to be called in US Immigration queues.
14 Was nominated for an Oscar for his work on the soundtrack of Genevieve (1953), though he was originally kept off the credits because of a McCarthy blacklisting.
15 His last recording was a duet of "Young at Heart" with Cerys Matthews from the Welsh pop band Catatonia.
16 Harmonica player.


Composer

Composer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Timewatch 1992 TV Series documentary 3 episodes
ITV Sunday Night Drama 1976 TV Series 1 episode
The Mad Trapper 1972 TV Movie documentary
Review 1972 TV Series documentary 1 episode
Jamie 1971 TV Series
Virgin of the Secret Service 1968 TV Series 13 episodes
Theatre 625 1965 TV Series 1 episode
A High Wind in Jamaica 1965
King & Country 1964
The Midnight Men 1964 TV Series 6 episodes
First Night 1964 TV Series 1 episode
The Hook 1963
The Great Chase 1962 Documentary
The Hellions 1961
A Cry from the Streets 1958
ITV Television Playhouse 1958 TV Series 1 episode
Jumping for Joy 1956
The Girl 1955 TV Movie
Genevieve 1953

Music Department

Music Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Timewatch 1992 TV Series documentary musician - 3 episodes
Everybody Rides the Carousel 1975 musician: harmonica
ITV Play of the Week 1965 TV Series musician - 1 episode
King & Country 1964 musician: harmonica
The Midnight Men 1964 TV Series music played by - 6 episodes
The Great Chase 1962 Documentary musician: harmonica solos
The Hellions 1961 music played by
Music for You 1960 TV Series harmonica player - 1 episode
The House in the Woods 1957 composer: theme music "Fantasy of Lost Love"
Jumping for Joy 1956 musician: harmonica
Herr über Leben und Tod 1955 musician: harmonica
Genevieve 1953 music played by

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel 2009 Documentary performer: "Touchez Pas Au Grisbi" / writer: "Touchez Pas Au Grisbi"
BBC Proms 2007 TV Series 1 episode
This Way Up 2001 TV Series performer - 1 episode
The Hellions 1961 lyrics: "The Hellions" / music: "The Hellions"
Three Daring Daughters 1948 performer: "RUMANIAN RHAPSODY IN A, OPUS 11, NO. 1" - uncredited
Music for Millions 1944 performer: "Clair de Lune" 1890 - uncredited
The Singing Marine 1937 performer: "Night and Day" 1932, "Tiger Rag" 1918, "Night Over Shanghai" 1937 - uncredited

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Die Stadt 1966 TV Short
Music for Millions 1944 Larry
Sidewalks of London 1938 Constantine Dan
The Singing Marine 1937 Larry (Harmonica)
The Big Broadcast of 1937 1936 Harmonica Specialty
Many Happy Returns 1934 Specialty
Operator 13 1934 Harmonica Player (uncredited)
Sky High 1931 Short

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Heroes of Comedy 2003 TV Series documentary Himself
This Way Up 2001 TV Series Himself
Walk on By: The Story of Popular Song 2001 TV Series documentary Himself
80 Years: A Royal Celebration 2001 TV Movie Himself - Performer
The Panel 2000 TV Series Himself
Great Performances 1999 TV Series Himself
Paul Merton's Palladium Story 1994 TV Mini-Series documentary Himself
Pebble Mill at One 1994 TV Series Himself
Michael Ball 1994 TV Series Himself
Joy to the World 1994 TV Movie Himself
Danny Kaye: Nobody's Fool 1994 TV Movie documentary
Secombe with Music 1982 TV Series Himself
Looks Familiar 1975-1981 TV Series Himself - Guest
Chaos Supersedes E.N.S.A.. 1980 TV Mini-Series documentary Interviewee
Saturday Night at the Mill 1979 TV Series Himself
M'Lords... Ladies and Gentlemen... 1978 TV Series Himself
Mantovani and His Concert Orchestra 1974 TV Series Himself
Aquarius 1973 TV Series Himself - Harmonica Player, 'George Gershwin'
In Melbourne Tonight 1969 TV Series Himself
The Mike Douglas Show 1967 TV Series Himself
BBC Show of the Week 1966 TV Series Himself
The Celebrity Game 1964 TV Series Himself
Five O'Clock Club 1963 TV Series Himself - Guest
Val Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium 1961-1963 TV Series Himself
Camera Three 1962 TV Series Himself - Harmonicist
Histoire d'un instrument 1962 TV Series documentary short Himself
Suddenly It's Jim 1962 TV Movie Himself
The Sunday Break 1962 TV Series Himself
Tempo 1962 TV Series
Juke Box Jury 1960 TV Series Himself - Panellist
Parade 1960 TV Series Himself
Music for You 1955-1960 TV Series Himself
Alan Melville Takes You from A-Z 1958 TV Series Himself
Larry Adler with ABC Dance Band 1957 TV Movie Himself - Harmonica player
Six-Five Special 1957 TV Series Himself / Himself - and The Teenagers
The Jimmy Wheeler Show 1957 TV Series Himself
Say It with Music 1957 TV Mini-Series Himself
Off the Record 1955-1957 TV Series Himself - Performer / Himself
The Ted Ray Show 1957 TV Series Himself
The Tin Pan Alley Show 1956 TV Series Himself
Melodie der Welt 1956 TV Series Himself - Instrumentalist
Rhapsody in Blue 1955 TV Movie Himself - Instrumentalist
Spice of Life 1954 TV Series Himself
Face the Music 1953 TV Series Himself
The Centre Show 1952 TV Series Himself
Music-Hall 1949 TV Series Himself
Three Daring Daughters 1948 Himself (Harmonica Player)
Calling All Stars 1937 Himself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel 2009 Documentary Himself
American Masters 1997 TV Series documentary Himself
Entertaining the Troops 1988 Documentary Himself
Showbiz Goes to War 1982 TV Movie
Histoire d'un instrument 1964 TV Series documentary short Himself

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1955 Oscar Academy Awards, USA Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture Genevieve (1953)


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#Quote
1 [on Ira Gershwin] When Paul Draper and I were starting out on our first concert tour - I was to play, and he to dance - I was living out in California, about three blocks away from Ira. The day I was to leave by train to meet Paul in Denver for our first engagement, I was pretty nervous, as you can imagine. The doorbell rang. It was Ira. he handed me a package, In it was some formal dresswear. Shirts, collars, bow ties, studs, waistcoats. He said, 'Larry, these belonged to George. You and he wore the same sizes, so I thought they might bring you some luck tonight'. The guy is some sort of angel.
2 If I were dictator of the world my first act would be to forbid Bob Dylan from playing the mouth organ! God, I think he's bad!
3 [on his self-imposed exile] England has a sense of justice and fair play that I hope will one day become prevalent in America, as well. Old friends tell me things have changed in America, but I am afraid they will have to change a good deal more before I decide to return.


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