The resurgence of the accordion during the past decade, in jazz in particular, seems almost to rival the instrument's popularity during the 1950s, with mainstream artists like Art Van Damme and Angelo Di Pippo actually selling records. In the post-Millennium era, that torch is being kept alive by France's Richard Galliano, who has shown his affinity for bebop and the occasional tango in a jazz setting on his many Dreyfus Jazz albumsand, of course, the influential tango work of Astor Piazzolla on the sonically similar Argentinean bandoneon. Guy Klucevsek plays accordion in varied settings that include the Kronos Quartet, world beat music and the avant-garde, with such artists as John Zorn, Anthony Braxton and Bill Frisell.
Victor Prieto, originally from Galicia, Spain, is now a New Yorker, despite his world travels and performance. He has worked with Paquito D'Rivera and is currently a professor of jazz accordion at the Brooklyn Conservatory. Prieto's debut album concentrates on his own compositions, mingling six originals with the works of Egberto Gismonti, John Coltrane, and a lengthy ten-minute take on Piazzolla's "Libertango." Prieto shows a determination to bring the accordion closer to jazz, and he knows how to construct a swinging composition like "Mundos Celtas," as well as bring Trane's "26-2" into the realm of his own instrument. My own feeling is that Prieto's interest in tango music, as per his fine work on the Piazzolla composition, is of special interest. And although I have trouble distinguishing the accordion and bandoneon, I found myself transfixed by his work.
Prieto's attractive ballad "Only For You" gives long-time bassist Carlo DeRosa the opportunity for a nifty solo. Drummer Allison Miller, whom I've heard in other settings, displays her usual innovative timekeeping and percussion skills.
Personnel: Victor Prieto: accordion; Carlo DeRosa: bass; Allison Miller: drums.