Fretted string wiz Adam Larrabee has performed with many jazz greats including Dave Holland, Jimmy Heath, Larry Goldings, Barry Harris and Hilton Ruiz, as well as classical mandolin virtuoso Evan Marshall and banjo phenomenon Béla Fleck. His primary touring jazz unit, The Dave Zoffer/Adam Larrabee Duo, has been called “reminiscent of the masterful Bill Evans and Jim Hall duets in its level of musicianship and interplay” by jazz percussion guru Bob Moses and their album of original “chamber-jazz,” Courage in Closeness: Live in Boston, was voted one of the year’s top-ten albums in 2000 by the Tucson Citizen.
During his countless recordings as a sideman, he has recorded pop music with the likes of Bruce Hornsby on the 1997 album Spirit Trail. In the eclectic, award-winning quartet Andromeda he plays Eastern European and tango-influenced chamber-jazz on guitar, banjo and mandolin. In 2003 the group was chosen to play for the American Repertory Theater’s adaptation of the traditional Chinese opera Snow in June featuring the music of Berklee-based composer Paul Dresser. In the Enigmatica classical mandolin septet he plays the mandocello and arranges works of Bach and Shostakovich as well as traditional Brazilian “choro” pieces.
“Adam’s talents boggle the mind in their range,” says jazz trumpet player Peter Kenagy.
“Fat tone and killer chops … a feel that is truly amazing,” says John Heidt of Vintage Guitar magazine.
Larrabee’s enormous stylistic range extends to his composing career, which has included every different ensemble texture, from classical chamber music to jazz big band. He has been commissioned to write works for the New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Music Festival, the Milton Academy Chamber Orchestra, the Virginia Commonwealth University Guitar Ensemble and others. This gifted composer/arranger has had his music premiered at Julliard, Arizona State University, Oberlin, Roger Williams University and the Notre Dame Jazz Festival. When not composing, teaching or playing jazz, Larrabee also tours nationally as the banjoist in the neo-bluegrass group Joy Kills Sorrow, which celebrated the release of its self titled debut CD in 2006 and won first place in the Podunk Bluegrass Festival band competition in 2007. In 2006 Larrabee was also on three other recording projects, including an album with Le Bon Vent, a group celebrating the music of France and other music touched by French culture, Leave Something Unexplained, an album of contemporary mandolin music, and Every Road, with Grace Kelly, a 14-year-old saxophone prodigy and student of Larrabee’s who has been winning DownBeat awards left and right and collecting accolades from all the jazz giants.
Larrabee taught jazz theory, guitar and composition at the New England Conservatory in Boston for nine years and is currently teaching jazz and classical guitar at VCU in Richmond, Va. During the summer, he teaches at the American Guitar and Mandolin Summer School and Eastern Washington University’s Jazz Dialogue Camp, in addition to giving workshops and clinics and touring extensively throughout the U.S.