Exactly what went on at the Berlin Philharmonie's Kammermusiksaal during the evening of 13 February 2015? The venue played host to a Jazz At Berlin Philharmonic concertthe latest in the series, curated by the ACT Music label boss Siggi Loch. Each of these concerts has a single thematic focus and as the title of Jazz At The Berlin Philharmonic IV: Accordion Night suggests, the thematic focus on 13 February was firmly on the accordion.
Four masters of the instrument are featured, each partnered by a second musicianthe classically-trained Klaus Paier, in partnership with cellist Asja Valcic; self-taught Madagascan singer and musician Régis Gizavo, paired with guitarist Nguyen Le; Norway's Stian Carstensen, solo on the traditional "Horgalaten" and partnering violinist Adam Baldych on "Oriental Hoedown"; and the iconoclastic Vincent Peirani in duet with soprano saxophonist Emile Parisien.
It's Paier/Valcic and Peirani/Parisien that stand out. Paier's "Tango Loco" is a dynamic opener, accordion and cello both displaying intensity, power and sensuality. Parisien takes the lead on a warm and sweet-toned rendition of Sidney Bechet's "Egyptian Fantasy": the cheery, good-time Gallic waltz-time groove of "3 Temps Pour Michel P," which Peirani wrote in tribute to Michel Portal, is the album's highlight.
The evening's finale, a performance of Astor Piazzolla's "Libertango," featured the entire ensemble. It's a fiery version of the classic tune. Each of the accordionists sound at home on the number, as do Parisien, Valcic and Baldych. Lê seems less comfortable, his rock-style guitar solo lacking the slinky, sexy, vibe that emanates from the other players. In truth, it's "Tango Loco" and "3 Temps Pour Michel P" that really capture the full, joyous, impact of the accordion.
Tango Loco; South Africa; Love; Horgalaten; Oriental Hoedown; Egyptian Fantasy; Songs Of Medina - Casbah; 3 Temps Pour Michel P; Libertango.
Klaus Paier: accordion (1, 9); Régis Gizavo: accordion, vocals (2, 3, 9); Stian Carstensen: accordion (4, 5, 9); Vincent Peirani: accordion (6, 7, 8, 9); Asja Valcic: cello (1, 9); Nguyên Lê: guitar (2, 3, 9); Adam Baldych: violin (5, 9); Emile Parisien: soprano saxophone (6, 7, 8, 9).