Accordion to Jazz

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count

Ludovic Beier Quartet
Le Chant du Monde

Klaus Paier & Gerald Preinfalk
Pao Records

Jurek Lamorski Quartet
Membran Music

Michael Thieke Unununium
Where Shall I Fly Not to be Sad, My Dear?

While modern jazz can enlist many timbres, the accordion is limited to a distinctive sound that everyone remembers. From distant memories of wedding bands, we recall the instrument in its stereotypical form: humble, harmonic and sometimes hilarious. The accordion can take on many different personalities, however, in the hands of creative artists who keep on searching.

Ludovic Beier brings us an instrumental voice similar to that of today's best jazz harmonicas on Chilltimes as he interprets this program of original music with his quartet. Sensual legato ballads and upbeat rhythmic romps bring the kind of character from his instrument that isn't usually associated with the accordion. Beier sings through both the accordion and the wind-driven accordina with a personal reflection that easily recalls the grace of harmonica players Toots Thielemans or Hendrik Meurkins. Beier, who's not yet 30, brings a fresh voice to modern jazz; however, his approach comes steeped deeply in the traditional sounds that have made today's music what it is. Along with pianist Christophe Cravero, bassist Diego Imbert and drummer Franck Agulhon, the accordionist strides right with an emphatic notice. As guitarist Angelo Debarre joins the quartet for "Guanabara Bay , the mood shifts to one of swing, recalling a great time for jazz in France: the era of Django Reinhardt. This one piece differs greatly from the rest of the album through its swing, but maintains a resolve for pure lyricism nevertheless. Vincent Youmans' "More Than You Know brings out the best from Beier's romantic side, while faster romps such as "Brooklyn Heights lay out the animated drive of his quartet in no uncertain terms.

The modern mainstream duo of Klaus Paier and Gerald Preinfalk for Saion retain the accordion's stereotypical sound while dressing up their aesthetic with bass clarinet, clarinet and soprano saxophone. Together, their duets become classic suites that deliver all kinds of scenery. It's all original music; however, much of what they create has been borne from the worlds of early jazz or classical music. Preinfalk brings the pure tone of each of his three woodwind instruments into focus clearly, parading around the slower accordion like a peacock ready for courtship. His is a classical tone with virtuosic technique. Paier's instrument, on the other hand, brings reedy eddies to the proceedings that recall centuries-old folk music association. Old meets new in this animated set that provides musical landscapes from Scotland, Spain, Austria, Norway, France, Israel and Argentina. "Klapperkiste wails with power on bass clarinet for the session's high point, while "Fango goes outside with soprano saxophone for a reckless affair.

Jurek Lamorski's quartet on Lucky features his accordion in a lyrical role along with the "singing guitar of Roland Cabezas, bassist Omar Rodriguez Calvo and percussionist Pablo Escayola. Sensual congas and pure, acoustic strings give the quartet a distinctive sound that complements the leader's accordion and recalls the work of masters such as Hermeto Pascoal and Astor Piazzolla. The ten selections, all Lamorski originals, vary the feel through blues, tango, ballads and relaxed adventure. The accordion flows with a character typical of the instrument; however, the artist and his musical partners ensure that the disc contains no dull moments. Lamorski's longest pieces — the title track, "For Cheops and "Polish Blues — stand out as session highpoints, affording more time for the quartet to dig in. He adds humor on the blazing-fast "Stupid Waltz , which lends an exciting moment to the music. With Lucky, Lamorski's quartet delivers a lovely session that everyone can enjoy.

As multi-instrumentalist Michael Thieke leads his quartet on Where Shall I Fly Not to be Sad, My Dear? in a program of originals, the scene shifts to cool jazz and leading-edge creative gestures. The leader plays alto saxophone, clarinet and alto clarinet and zither; with him on this adventurous album are bassist Derek Shirley, drummer Eric Schaefer and accordionist Luca Venitucci (who also plays prepared piano). Venitucci's accordion colors with snippets of sound delivered in brief bursts, while Thieke balances with equal and opposite actions. The session includes quite a bit of empty space where minor nuances fall into place casually. Founded several years ago with this May 2004 recording, Thieke's quartet reaches out for the mechanical in what they perceive. Most of the CD follows an unyielding path where bits of music are tossed out with unmetered punctuation that flows in uneven streams. Clarinet, accordion, bass and drums put their muscles together in a tight pattern that brings anxious tension, wide-open spaces and forceful statements through improvised music. Along the way, a taste of 'jazz' surfaces here and there for a few brief moments.

Tracks and Personnel


Tracks: Chilltimes; Boarding First Class; Fall Memories; Brooklyn Heights; More Than You Know; Embarcadero West; No Valse; Guanabara Bay; Absenthe; Waltz for Richard; Playing with Idols; Loreley.

Personnel: Ludovic Beier: accordion, accordina; Christophe Cravero: piano; Diego Imbert: acoustic bass; Franck Agulhon: drums; Angelo Debarre: guitar (8).


Tracks: Saion; Rosenwald; Elisa; Schotti Beam Me Up; Klapperkiste; Just Like H.P.; Waltz for "G ; Elegie på Norsk; Libeingridi; Fango; Prelude; Prelude.

Personnel: Klaus Paier: accordion; Gerald Preinfalk: soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet.


Tracks: Lucky; Tango a la Bango; Polish Blues; Infight; Tosiek's Waltz; Caucasian Express; For Cheops; Stupid Waltz; City Blues; Latin Farewell.

Personnel: Jurek Lamorski: accordion; Omar Rodriguez Calvo: double bass; Roland Cabezas: guitar; Pablo Escayola: percussion.

Where Shall I Fly Not to be Sad, My Dear?

Tracks: If I Think, Again, Of This Place; Fünf Treppen; Portnoy; Der Idiot; Nach Aussen Gewölbte Mönche; Mmm; Der Verfolger; Element 110; Einen Käfer Werfen.

Personnel: Derek Shirley: double bass; Eric Schaefer: drums; Luca Venitucci: accordion, prepared piano; Michael Thieke: alto clarinet, alto saxophone, clarinet, zither.


More Articles

Read New, Notable and Nearly Missed Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read Weekertoft Hits Its Stride… Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read Pi Recordings 2016 Releases Multiple Reviews Pi Recordings 2016 Releases
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Paul Kelly: Seven Sonnets & A Song and Death's Dateless Night" Multiple Reviews Paul Kelly: Seven Sonnets & A Song and Death's Dateless Night
by Doug Collette
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "New, Notable and Nearly Missed" Multiple Reviews New, Notable and Nearly Missed
by Phil Barnes
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Two  Scandinavian Jazz Orchestras" Multiple Reviews Two Scandinavian Jazz Orchestras
by John Eyles
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Five By Five - More Love From Ivo Perelman" Multiple Reviews Five By Five - More Love From Ivo Perelman
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!