Remembering Harmonica Great Jerry Adler

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Robert Siegel remembers harmonica player Jerry Adler, who died earlier this month at age 91, in Florida. Adler played on several other movie soundtracks, including Shane, High Noon and Mary Poppins.


We learned today of the death of someone we've hearing for years: Jerry Adler, who played the harmonica.

(Soundbite of music, "The Alamo")

SIEGEL: That's Jerry Adler, playing on The Alamo. He played on several other movie soundtracks: "Shane," "High Noon" and "Mary Poppins." Jerry Adler died earlier this month at age 91, in Florida. He started performing when he was 15. He won a harmonica contest sponsored by the Baltimore Sun, and he kept playing for 70 years.

(Soundbite of music)

SIEGEL: He wrote a wonderfully titled memoir, "Living From Hand to Mouth." Playing the harmonica was the specialty of the Baltimore Adlers. Jerry Adler's older brother, Larry, who died nine years ago, was a virtuoso and the rare harmonica player who performed classical pieces.

(Soundbite of music)

SIEGEL: Both Adler brothers performed and recorded several Gershwin songs. And there's a YouTube video of them playing "Rhapsody in Blue" together with piano accompaniment. Here is Jerry Adler playing another Gershwin piece.

(Soundbite of music)

IEGEL: Fascinating rhythm. Harmonica player Jerry Adler. He died March 13th in Sarasota, Florida, at age 91. His brother, Larry Adler, was 87 when he died in 2001.

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