Adam Glasser

Mzansi released in US

Adam’s latest album was released by US jazz label Sunnyside Records in July 2012, following a successful debut in his native South Africa earlier in the year.

Adam Glasser : Mzanzi CD Album

“His magnificent solos run from jazz ballads to the furious sounds of township sax… music that has become his connection to his roots.”

Africa Review May 2012

“A composer, keyboardist and harmonica player, Glasser is intense – his tunes are joyful, driving and danceable.”

Jazz Times Review April 2012

“Virtuosity, panache… a man in complete control of his considerable resources.”

Chris Parker - Vortex Review

“This recording is superb from start to finish and should firmly establish Glasser as the heir apparent to Toots Thielemans”

Thomas R. Erdmann -

Ivy House, London

6th December 2013

Recent Dates

1-3 August – La Note Bleue, Monaco,

14 August – AG Quintet at 606 Club, London

22 August – Harmonica Workshop, Johannesburg SA

24 August – Adam Glasser international band at Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival, Johannesburg SA

29 September – Adam Glasser Quartet at Scarborough Jazz Festival UK

Upcoming Dates

25-27 October – National Harmonica League, Masterclass/Teaching Bristol UK

13 November – Adam Glasser at Swansea Jazz Land UK

14 November – Adam Glasser Quartet at The Spin, Oxford UK

15 November – with Township Comets Vortex at the London Jazz Festival

6th December – Adam Glasser's Mzansi feat. Nigel Price and Pinise Saul, The Ivy House, London SE15

15 January 2014 – Adam Glasser Quartet at Cleethorpe's Jazz, Grimsby UK

Put your lips together and...

From an interview for Tonight By Theresa Smith April 2012

“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 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.”

Images from our recent tour in South Africa

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.

Adam in Concert