Originally from Normal, IL, Adam Larson is an American saxophonist, composer and author. Extremely active as both a player and educator, Adam's recent recordings and books have earned widespread critical acclaim.
Described by critic Howard Reich of The Chicago-Tribune as “a player for whom the word ‘prodigious’ was coined”, by Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen as “a saxophonist who brings Donny McCaslin and Mark Turner to mind”, and by Nate Chinen of The New York Times as “the sort of jazz musician who gets flagged early on as a promising talent and then hustles to meet every requirement for success”, Larson has garnered numerous awards that distinguish him as one of the most promising artists of his generation. As a student, Larson was a member of virtually every national program dedicated to showcasing excellence in young jazz talent including The Grammy Band, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Betty Carter Jazz Ahead, YoungArts Jazz Fellows, Telluride Student All-Stars, Jazz Band of America among others. Upon graduating from University High school in 2008, Adam moved to New York City to pursue his BM and MM in Jazz Performance on full-scholarship from The Manhattan School, where he graduated with honors as a Master's student as the recipient of the William H. Borden Award for Outstanding performance in Jazz in 2014.
Larson has released five albums; one for Ropeadope Records, two under the Inner Circle Music label and two produced independently. Larson’s most recent recording “Second City” received a four-star rating from Downbeat magazine, was listed as one of the best releases of 2017 in both Downbeat and Jazziz Magazine, and was prominently featured in several publications. Larson’s fifth record “Listen With Your Eyes”, was released on Ropeadope Records on September 6th, 2019. Larson keeps an active schedule with his own groups and as a sideman, having performed at several venues across the U.S. including The Jazz Standard, Birdland, The 55 Bar, The Jazz Gallery, The Blue Note, The Village Vanguard, Smalls, Jazz at The Bistro, The Jazz Estate, The Jazz Showcase, and several others.
Adam has been a part of several tours that have allowed him to see more of the world than he once thought possible. He was a guest artist at the 2017 Sopot Jazz Festival in Sopot, Poland and has toured India,Taiwan, Holland, and Germany as well much of the United States. In 2015 Larson’s quartet was selected as one of ten ensembles to tour on behalf of the U.S. State Department's "American Music Abroad" program and toured Africa for 35 days visiting The Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Benin and Ghana.
Beyond maintaining an active touring and recording schedule, Larson continues to be a sought after clinician and master class presenter at several high schools and Universities across the country and beyond, including appearances at HKU Conservatory-Utrecht, University of Iowa, Drake University, University of Northern Iowa, Temple University, Yale, Manhattan School of Music, and University of North Texas among many others. Adam is currently on faculty at University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, where he teaches saxophone, jazz pedagogy and music business.
Adam has authored two jazz etude books; “Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes for Jazz Saxophone” Volumes I and II , that have been sold in over 30 countries and States. He is also the author of “Conversation Starters: 180 pieces of Jazz Vocabulary” and created and released a successful online masterclass dedicated exclusively to developing great technique, called “Lighting-Fast and Crystal- Clean”. He maintains an impressive portfolio of commissioned ensemble writing for school jazz ensembles, having written more than thirty original works to date. Adam was commissioned by the Illinois Music Educators Association to compose the All-State composition for the 2020 convention. Larson is a Teaching Artist for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Let Freedom Swing” program and has a diverse private lesson studio of Skype students from the U.S. and abroad.
With a vested interest in giving back, Larson has also worked in various capacities with organizations that showcase exceptional young talent in the United States. Adam has served as a mentor for the Grammy Foundation and as an adjudicator for the YoungArts organization. Serving in the role of creative director of the YoungArts New York regional show, Larson has presented multiple genre-bending, interdisciplinary performances held at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City. Larson currently resides in Kansas City with his beautiful wife, Tierney and sons Jack and Clark.