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Larry Adler

Biography

Larry Adler brought the harmonica out of American back roads and into its concert halls. A sophisticated, exceptional musician, he married jazz improvisations and classical structure to his "mouth organ" (as he called it), leaving the blues behind. Getting his start in vaudeville in the 1920s, he quickly graduated to Broadway theatres and film. He had a special bond with Gershwin's music, and his elegant sound meshed perfectly with both symphony orchestras and such jazz artists as Django Reinhardt, Duke Ellington, and Dizzy Gillespie. He was a major star up until being blacklisted in 1948 during the McCarthy witch-hunts; Adler subsequently fled to Europe. His score for Genevieve was nominated for an Academy Award in 1953, but was credited to a false name. Adler's name was introduced to a new audience in 1993 with his noteworthy appearance on Sting's "Shape of my Heart."
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