Larry Adler

Larry Adler was an internationally renowned harmonica virtuoso whose jazz and European classical interpretations brought unprecedented 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, who he resembled. Adler's career as a professional mouth organist began when at the age of 14 he won a statewide harmonica competition with an abbreviated rendition of Beethoven's Minuet in G. He then surprised his family by moving to New York City without parental permission.

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