A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by Will Boisture

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 22, Adam is currently a senior 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 Wilson, Justin Brown, Otis Brown III, Jaleel 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 Wess, Lew Tabackin, Joel 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. This Friday, we welcome Adam back to The Gallery for his graduation recital. The band will feature the guitarist Nils Weinhold, the pianist Can Olgun, the bassist Sam Anning, and the drummer Jason Burger. There will also be special guests, including the alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw.

Watch a video of Adam’s group performing his original composition “Forbidden Last Words” last year at The Gallery.