A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo courtesy of Adam Larson

Photo courtesy of Adam Larson

While covering Winard Harper‘s band in The Chicago Tribune in early 2009, Howard Reich stumbled upon a noteworthy young artist: “The other revelation was saxophonist Adam Larson, 19, a player for whom the word ‘prodigious’ was coined.”

Now in his early twenties, Adam is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where he continues to earn the respect of those who have an opportunity to hear him. Several artists have recruited the young saxophonist for their own projects, including Matt WilsonJustin BrownOtis Brown IIIJaleel Shaw, and John Escreet. The pianist and educator Ted Rosenthal featured Adam in his “Tenor Madness” series at the Dicapo Opera Theatre, where Adam performed alongside the tenor saxophonists Frank WessLew TabackinJoel Frahm, and Wayne Escoffery. Adam has also kept a busy schedule performing and recording with his peers, including appearances at The North Sea, Monterey, Iowa City, and Telluride Jazz Festivals.

On one occasion a few years ago, the trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire invited Adam onto our stage to sit in with the band. The results were electrifying, and we’ve been presenting Adam’s groups ever since. We’ve watched him grow and develop his own groups on our stage over the last few years, and were very eager to hear the results when he decided to record his debut album, Simple Beauty. How does it sound? Like “everyone checked their egos at the door of the studio and let their stories unfold without forcing them,” according to Rio Sakairi, our Director of Programming. “They cuddled, nudged and negotiated music delicately, yet decisively, and the result is simply beautiful.”

This Friday, we welcome Adam back to The Gallery to celebrate the release of Simple Beauty. The band will feature the guitarist Nils Weinhold, the pianist Can Olgun, the bassist Martin Nevin, and the drummer Guilhem Flouzat.

Watch a video of Adam’s band performing the title track from the album in 2011 at The Jazz Gallery, and stream “Tiny Conferences” below: