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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JAZZ AT
BERLIN PHILHARMONIC IV

Accordion Night

ACT 9589-2

 

 

Tango Loco

South Africa

Love

Horgalaten

Oriental Hoedown

Egyptian Fantasy

Song of the Medina – Casbah

3 Temps pour Michel ’P

Libertango


Klaus Paier (accordion) and Asja Valcic (cello)

Régis Gizavo (accordion and vocals) and Nguyên Lê (guitar)

Stian Carstensen (accordion) and Adam Bałdych (violin)

Vincent Peirani (accordion) and Emile Parisien (soprano saxophone)

Recorded February 2015, in concert live at the Berlin Philharmonie [53:54]


This is a beautifully recorded and ingenious selection of music from a ‘quartet of duos’. The thing common to all four groups is the presence of the accordion; three of the groups feature a stringed instrument and only one the saxophone. The results are consistently witty and stimulating.

It’s perhaps inevitable the presence of Piazzolla should asset itself in Tango Loco, played by Klaus Paier and cellist Asja Valcic – it’s the former’s composition – which gets a reading alternately rich, sultry and exciting. The long vocal in South Africa announces the arrival of the pairing of Régis Gizavo (accordion and vocals) and Nguyên Lê (guitar) and they also play Love, a song composed by the accordionist that has a pop-like vitality with a slightly Country Roads feel to it. Stian Carstensen plays the traditional piece Horgalaten solo, revealing his dextrous filigree phrasing but is joined by rising violin star Adam Bałdych for Oriental Hoedown where the entwining of the two lines is especially delightful – and when they double the melody line they add a rich sonority. What’s especially admirable here is the sense of risk-taking,their angular byplay rightly generating applause. This is one of the album’s stand-out tracks.

Still, to revivify Sidney Bechet’s Egyptian Fantasy is no small matter and that’s the task undertaken by Vincent Peirani (accordion) and Emile Parisien (soprano saxophone) and they’re even more passionate in Song of the Medina – Casbah; urgent and communicative playing indeed. They’re also light-hearted to the point of zany in 3 Temps pour Michel ’P – complete with some discreet dissonances too. For the finale all the musicians combine for Libertango, an eight-minute fiesta of collective sensitivity, skill – and accordions.

In a week when I’ve been listening to some music that is ascetic to the point of sterility, it’s good to be reminded how vitalising music can be.

Jonathan Woolf



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