Bill Frisell. Have a little Faith. Tastefully scored for accordion.
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If you like rock music, you should think Zydeco. It's a blues tradition that's often hybridized with rock music by many of the biggest players.
Zachary Richard is a zydeco accordian player who has put together some smokin' bands over the years. His early albums, including "Fatras: Live in Montreal" feature Sonny Landreth on guitar. "Woman In The Room" is also a great (studio) album. Richard also plays a mix of lovely ballads and straight ahead pop on most of his records.
Beausoleil is a great Cajun band, but they're more waltz oriented and, therefore, fiddle driven. You may want to look for some of their accordian flavored material.
Jude Taylor is another zydeco name to look for (he does a great version of "Stroke It") and Beau Jacque is fun as well. None of these choices are 100% accordian driven, but all feature acordian prominently.
This is a bit tangential but the Annie Proulx book "Accordion Crimes" is an amazing tale that traces the history of an accordion brought to America by a Sicilian in the late nineteenth century. As it passes through generations and families, including a Polish one, the accordion is used as a device to tell the history of both music and immigration in this country. It's a great reminder of how the musical and cultural complexity of this place came about.
I never cared for accoridan music but awhile back I heard a CD "Cafe du soleil" by Brian Mann and really enjoyed it. Somewhat reminiscent of the accordians of Paris and the general category of jazz accordian. I still play it from time to time and still enjoy it very much. My favorite track is "Reclining Civilization". Go to amazon and give it a lisen to. I think this is his only CD.
You must see the poignant film, "Schultze Gets the Blues" - it's a wonderful film where the accordion plays a key roll from start to finish.
Piazzolla for sure.
I love some of the more unusual music that the accordion is used very effectively in...Tom Waits and 16 Horsepower come to mind. The thread seems to be going more 'classical' and jazz in content so I won't go there unless anyone's really interested.
In addition to the ones mentioned above, for something completely different there are Accordiorama and Accordiorama 2, a pair of old Vanguard recordings from the 60s that featured the Hohner Accordion Orchestra playing arrangements of both light classical and showtunes. Actually very well recorded and a lot of fun. I can't imagine what an accordion orchestra looks like in action, though.
Wow, thanks for stepping up guys - I've copy and pasted all these suggestions for exploration this weekend. Will perhaps begin with the jazz recommendations as I have nothing in my jazz collection where I recall any standout accordion performances.
I'm certain I've heard some Buckwheat Zydeco at one time or another, and I do have a copy of Beausoleil's 'Cajun Conga' that I plan to revisit.
I would like to to maybe see some music pointed out where artists have tastefully incorporated the accordion in such a way that it almost "completes" the sound of a recording. For example, could one imagine what would "The Trinity Sessions" be like if there was no accordion?
For example, could one imagine what would "The Trinity Sessions" be like if there was no accordion?
As a matter of fact, I can - Check out the 20th Anniversary reunion of the Junkies in the same church with a few guest artists - Trinity Revisited. It includes a great DVD of the entire set, as well as a documentary feature. Absent from that reunion is the original accordianist, Jaro Czerwinec. It is the same set of songs. Instead of the single mike approach, each artist is miked in this reunion with state of the art gear. VERY nice in its own right. Guest artists are a matter of taste, but I happen to like them. I don't recall any accordian at all in this performance.
A recording that meets your criterion for incorporating the accordion in a way that makes it hard to imagine the music without that instrument is Anouar Brahem's "Le Pas du Chat Noir." The combination of oud, piano and accordion is completely seamless. It's one of those recordings that defies being put into any genre.