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 -

Gig and workshop schedule

8 May 2017 / 8:30pm / 606 Club

Forthcoming Dates

Adam Glasser Quartet at the 606 Club

South African harmonica virtuoso Adam Glasser explores compositions made famous by John Coltrane, as well as some lesser known SA jazz composers with:
Rob Luft - guitar
Andrew Cleyndert - bass
Matt Skelton - drums

Adam Glasser revisits 'King Kong'

The legendary 60’s musical 'King Kong' has always been part of London based South African harmonica player & pianist Adam Glasser's personal history. As a child he saw dress rehearsals in the Wits Great hall before the cast left for London in 1961 with his father Stanley 'Spike' Glasser, their musical director.

Friday 29 July 2016 / 8:30pm

The Orbit - The Home of Jazz
81 De Korte St, Bramfontein,

Saturday 30 July / 8pm

Sophiatown The Mix
71 Toby Street, Sophiatown

Download full press release

Thursday 26 June / 8:30pm

Adam Glasser Quintet

with Cameron Ward, Nduduzo Makhathini, Lucas Senyatso, Tlale Makhene

Tickets: R100.00
The Orbit 81 De Korte St Braamfontein, Jhb
For bookings & general enquiries:
+27(0) 11 339 66 45 or

Friday 27 June

Adam Glasser Quartet

with Nduduzo Makhathini, Lucas Senyatso, Tlale Makhene
Tickets: R100 advanced booking or R110 at the door. Booking is essential as the venue has limited seating.
The Sophiatown Cultural & Heritage Centre, 73 Toby St, Sophiatown
Call Rinkie for bookings and more information 083 550 7130/ 011 673 1271 or e-mail

Sat 28 June / 11am - 1pm

Adam Glasser - Harmonica Workshop

The Sophiatown Cultural & Heritage Centre, 73 Toby St, Sophiatown

For booking and prices Call Rinkie for bookings and more information 083 550 7130/ 011 673 1271 or e-mail

Tuesday 8 July

Adam Glasser Quartet

with Nduduzo Makhathini, Concord Nkabinde, Tlale Makhene

DSG Hall in Grahamstown

Since the release of his albums 'Free at First' (SAMA Award Best Jazz Album 2010) and 'Mzansi' (SAMA nominated Best Jazz Album 2012), London based south african harmonica virtuoso Adam Glasser, has returned with increasing frequency to his roots in SA with appearances at the Capital Arts Festival Pretoria ( 2010), the Cape Town Jazz Festival (2012) as well smaller venues/ jazz clubs. Last heard at the Joy of Jazz Festival 2013, Glasser returns in this month to play several dates including The Orbit & Sophiatown Culture and Heritage Centre followed by the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Glasser's exploration of his south african origins ( which began in London as pianist with Dudu Pukwana's mid 80's band Zila, and continued with his 16 years stint as musical director of the Manhattan Brothers) also include in recent years performances/ recordings with artists as divers as Mfiliseni Magubane, Simphiwe Dana and DJ Cleo as well as a host of well known names on the current jazz scene.

He continues to pioneer playing and teaching south african jazz and popular music on the harmonica - stay tuned for workshops!

Glasser's band for these dates includes for the first time percussionist Tlale Makhene and guitarist Cameron Ward (who appeared on 'Mzansi') and also features long time collaborators Lucas Senyatso (Jhb dates) and Concord Nkabinde (Grahamstown dates) on bass as well as the outstanding pianist Nduduzo Makhathini.

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