Accordion/Bandoneon Threefer: Emilio Solla, Adrian Iaies & Damian Nisenson

Marcia Hillman By

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Emilio Solla

Conversas (Al Lado Del Agua)

Fresh Sound World Jazz


Adrian Iaies Trio + Michael Zisman

Vals De La 81st & Columbus



Damian Nisenson

+3 In Concert

Malasartes Musique


The bandoneon and accordion have begun to show up lately in more jazz-oriented company. Even though they have a reedy sound, they are both basically keyboard instruments and can blend easily with a piano or readily substitute for one.

Pianist Emilio Solla y Afines' Conversas (Al Lado Del Agua) is composed of all original material, mostly written by the leader. Here the bandoneon (played by Carlos Morera) can be heard in effective harmony with Gorka Benitez' tenor sax, particularly on "Tango Changes" and "Ugrix," and Solla does some lovely piano work on the title song. Then there is the last track entitled "1'51," featuring the Orchestra Tomorrow, which turns out to be one minute and fifty-one seconds of silence. But, aside from the sense of humor, the group comes across as a tightly-knit unit, the bandoneon providing an anchor that gives the group an almost orchestral sound.

Vals De La 81st & Columbus features a combination of pianist Adrian Iaies' original work and standards. Iaies' roots are in the tango, but he has successfully combined it with signature music of the United States. On the original side, "Astor Changes" is truly bop, "Mariposita" swings with a Basie era-Kansas City flair, "Sigilosamente" is a tribute to Ellington and "Algun Dia Nunca Llega" is related to a New Orleans dirge. Michel Legrand's "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life" (a bandoneon/piano duet) receives a sensuous, breathless treatment, Iaies' piano work on this track highly reminiscent of Bill Evans. Also noteworthy is the reading of Monk's "'Round Midnight" done as a tango. Michael Zisman is a bandoneon virtuoso, his fingering speed and melodic sensitivity attesting to his mastery. The other musicians—bassist Pablo Aslan, drummer Pepi Taveira and trumpeter Juan Cruz de Urquiza—are all from Argentina, which results in a wonderful unity of spirit.

Damian Nisenson's +3 In Concert dispenses with the piano in its configuration and uses both bandoneon and accordion instead. Nisenson is heard on soprano, alto and tenor sax and is the featured player. Recorded in concert in Quebec, this session has all original material, sounding more like Klezmer than jazz. The accordion and bandoneon ably provide the 'bottom' for the sound of the group. The emphasis is on the rhythm and invites one to get up and dance; the final track "Hora" is appropriately titled. Despite instruments from different traditions, the musicians work well together to deliver a cohesive presentation.

It is interesting that all of these releases were recorded outside the United States: Spain, Argentina and Canada respectively. The world is now more of a global community and the inclusion of ethnically designated instruments into jazz groups is becoming more frequent and with great results.

Tracks and Personnel

Conversas (Al Lado Del Agua)

Tracks: Tango Changes; One For Gorka; Remain Alert; Conversas; Ugrix; Rhythm Changes; Recuerdos De Bohemia; No Simple Reason; 1'51".

Personnel: Emilio Solla: piano/Fender rhodes; Gorka Benitez: tenor sax/flutes; Carlos Morera: bandoneon; David Gonzalez: double bass; David Xirgu: drums; Aleix Tobias: percussion; David Casellas: vocal.

Vals De La 81st & Columbus

Tracks: Vals De La 81st & Columbus; Astor Changes; Round Midnight; Album Dia Nunca Llega; Juarez El Casamentero; Sigilosamente; Valsecito Para Una Rubia Tremenda; What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?; Nefertiti; Mariposita.

Personnel: Adrian Iaies: piano; Michael Zisman: bandoneon; Pablo Aslan: double bass; Pepi Taveira: drums.

+3 In Concert

Tracks: Druse Dubke; Piegrande; Chanson De Q; Tempo; Paspire; Ninguneo; Supper's Ready; Chanson De Rue #6; Hora.

Personnel: Damian Nissenson: soprano, tenor, alto saxophones; Jean Felix Mailloux: double bass; Pierre Tanguay: drums; Luzio Altobelli: accordion; Denis Plante: bandoneon; Ziya Tabassian: percussion.

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