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Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Adler inspires warm tributes
Larry Adler, conductor Sir Malcolm Sargeant and composer Dr Ralph Vaughan Williams
Adler (r) with Malcolm Sargeant and Vaughan Williams
Tributes have flowed in for virtuoso mouth organist Larry Adler, who died on Monday following a short illness in London.

"As a child musician, he was my first idol - I didn't play the trumpet till I was fifteen, before that I played the harmonica. - I had pictures of him in my room and everything.

"To raise the mouth organ to the status of an accepted instrument was a miraculous feat.

"He was just a great man - and a lovely man too."

Jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttleton

"He was a wonderful man and a wonderful talent, the likes of which we will probably never see again."

Diana Tyler of MBA Literary Agents

"I first heard Larry Adler as a small boy - my father Gaston was a huge fan and we used to play Adler on the old wind-up record player.

"And when I set up professionally one of the first people I wanted to work with was Larry Adler.

"So I had Larry come along to eat pizza and play harmonica. He really used to swing - he was such a competent player, he could get in such lovely notes. And he was entertaining too - he always introduced his numbers with a great wit."

Peter Boizot, founder of Pizza Express and Pizza on the Park, where he renamed the Music Room "Larry's Room" in January 2001

"He was a very particular man, you had to get it right when you played with him.

"He was totally committed to his music, both jazz and classical. He was a musician who could do either and was deeply involved with everything he did.

"He was one of those people who seem like they'll always be there - it's like they're immortal."

Jazz Pianist John Critchinson, who played with Larry Adler as part of the Ronnie Scott Quintet

"He was without doubt one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century and the world is a poorer place without him."

Former manager Jonathan Shalit

"The only two young musical geniuses in the world are Yehudi Menuhin and Larry Adler."

The late composer Sir William Walton

"The virtuosity he had in the 1930s and 40s was prodigious. He could play a mouthorgan with one hand and the piano with the other.

"What I liked was his classical work. I saw him at St John's, Smith Square, playing the Bach Violin Concerto - that was wonderful, very memorable.

"I remember a few years ago presenting him with a handkerchief printed with the concerto and Larry immediately went and played a piece saying: 'It's the first time I've ever played a handkerchief'."

Simon Becker, host and resident Pianist at Pizza on the Park

See also:

15 Dec 99 | Entertainment
America's 20th century greats
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