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Award-winning Jazz harmonica and keyboard player Adam Glasser grew up in South Africa and is currently London-based. Adam has played with artists such as Martha Reeves, Hugh Masekela and Dominic Miller.
Adam won the 2010 SAMA Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. His current album Mzansi has been nominated Best Jazz Album at the 2012 SAMA Awards.
“My dad gave me a harmonica when I was 17, for Christmas. I tried to play it, but it was too difficult”, The offending instrument then went into a drawer for 10 years…
Adam became a pianist working on cruise ships and in restaurants “that’s how I learned to play”. A modest description, because he studied in Paris before the mid-1980s when he regularly worked with various South African jazz artists. On a cruise ship in the Caribbean, he met a harmonica player and asked for a couple of lessons.
“At the same time I discovered a Stevie Wonder album, Eivets Rednow, which is Stevie Wonder backwards. It was Burt Bacharach songs on this album. They were the most fantastic interpretations. When I heard that I thought, Hey, I’ve got one of those and I started to check it out.”
As a pianist the plan was to figure out where the notes were. He played both instruments at the same time to visualise the knotty technicalities, a skill he now uses on stage.
“But, having said that, Toots Thielemans, the world’s greatest harmonica player, was already a guitarist… You need another instrument to help you learn the harmonica, particularly for jazz”.
Being the son of South African composer Stanley Spike Glasser exposed him to all sorts of 01 musicians, but he still had to find his own way to express his talent.
“I would never have dreamed I would be playing a jazz festival in Cape Town. It’s taken a long time and if there’s one thing I could suggest to people, it’s keep your nerve”.
While the harmonica still features under the miscellaneous category of jazz instruments, Adam not only plays it well but brings a uniquely South African touch to it.
He finally recorded his debut album Free at First in 2009. After winning a Sama for best contemporary album he really wanted to work with South African artists and prepared several tracks, and over a matter of days he worked with several artists to record Mzansi in September 2010, but it took another year of post-production to finish.
“Every single second of that album, I meant, there was nothing left to chance.”
The Adam Glasser Quartet Featured:
Rob Luft -Guitar
Rob hails from Sevenoaks, where he studied for his ‘A’ Levels at the Judd School. Having received tuition from jazz guitarist Mike Outram, he began professionally at the age of 15, and he has held the guitar chair in NYJO since early 2010.
He is also a member of the NYJO Nonet, as well as various small groups on the London jazz circuit, such as the Hammond band he co-leads, Organism.
Over the past few years he has enjoyed performing with British jazz luminaries such as Nigel Hitchcock, Gareth Lockrane, the Callum Au Big Band, and many others, and he has performed nationwide at renowned jazz venues, including the 606 Jazz Club, the Spice of Life, the Bull’s Head, and Charlie Wright’s International.
Jay Davis – Drums
Drummer and LCoM graduate Jay Davis was the winner of the Yamaha Jazz Scholar award 2012.
Studied Jazz percusion at the Royal Academy of Music and studied at the Leeds college of music.
A superb jazz drummer and a powerful corner stone of the Adam Glasser Quartet.
Joe Downard – Double Bass
oe started playing electric bass at the age of 12, when he spent 5 years training with, and being mentored by, the great Herbie Flowers – bass player on landmark records with Davie Bowie and Mark Bolan – giving him great insight in to a wide variety of playing styles.
Though Herbie, Joe was granted a scholarship to join the Dartington International Summer School Youth Music Programme, where he played bass in a group of very fine musicians.
Currently a member of NYJO, Joe has also appeared with the BBC Big Band and is now pursuing a successful studio and session career as both an electric and upright bass player of Jazz, Blues, Country, Soul and Hip-Hop.
A great gig of extended versions of South African Township music and jazz standards from cannonball Adderley, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Wesb Montgomery to name just a few with Adam Glasser playing superbly on both his Hohner CX12 harmonica and keyboards.
The Jazznights raffle not only consisted of 3 jazz CDs but also a Hohner Melody Star Harmonica – with a free lesson!
Sun 13 Sep – KRISTIAN BORRING (gtr) will be at Jazznights on Sunday 13th September 2015.
Danish guitarist, composer and bandleader, Kristian Borring, has been described as a “guitarist of enormous technical ability who utilizes his considerable gifts thoughtfully and tastefully, a highly accomplished guitarist.” – The Jazz Mann. “Hyper-cool..warmth, confidence and a rhythmic hipness”. John Fordham – The Guardian.
THE BEST IN BRITISH MODERN JAZZ is at Jazznights, Clare, Suffolk.
Admission £10. Doors open 7.00 pm. Music 8.30 – 10.00 pm.
Reserve seating on 01787 237653 or email email@example.com
Pay on the night.
You can join us at facebook, read reviews of previous performances on more opinions blog or tweet at twitter.com/jazznightsuk
Pictures from past gigs can also be seen HERE
For further information on future gigs go to www.jazz-nights.com