Accordion in new jazz

I grew up hating the accordion. In Sweden, there was (is?) an annoying kind of folk music about sailors, with clichéd stories and whining sound. It was so bad, one year on April First, Pioneer took out full page picture ads in the major newspapers introducing the SX-9700 II, a typical 1970s receiver with a chromed front panel festooned with a multitude of knobs and switches, one of which was an accordion filter. If only…

But in recent years I have discovered a lot of really great jazz — or Avantgarde music, genres are imprecise — that leverages the accordion. I’ll share my favorite musicians and albums, with some technical notes at the end.

Btw, accordion and bandoneon are of course used in Tango and French musette music. I’m not talking about that, even though I like tango…

The most well-known is of course Dino Saluzzi. Fabulous. He plays with many Northern European jazz greats.

One of the more interesting works is a duo with Anja Lechner — bandoneon and cello, who’da thunk?

Other complex combinations:

Another accordion/cello combination:

Jean-Louis Matinier is another great guy, with Anouar Brahem:

And in the Tarkovsky Quartet, he plays again with Couturier and Lechner:

And this is an intriguing album, the French Matinier on accordion with the Italian Ambrosini on nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument

And the French Galliano with the Swedish Lundgren and the Italian Fresu:

And Peirani

And Biondini

I said this note is about jazz, but Tango Nuevo is quite interesting, of course. Astor Piazzolla is the inventor, and you can hear him perform, as well as others performing his compositions:

And many other great artists do it:

A technical note: there is no way to query the database for an instrument. But if you Tag the artists with “accordion” as you come across them, that tag propagates to the albums.


Great selection, I have quite a few of those but not all, more to discover! However, I’m a bit burned out on Galliano, he sounds kind of always the same to me these days.

You might like Gotan Project (or maybe not), they put Tango music in a whole new perspective to me.
Anyway, thanx for your suggestions!

Great compilation of accordion jazz! I feel with you, I had a similar experience with this instrument being rooted in music I grew up disliking. I also stumbled over Vincent Peirani some time ago and rediscovered it for me.

There is another one with Wollny on the piano:

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Not leaving a lot of room for suggestions, are we? :smiley:

Seems like a good moment to bring up John Hollenbeck’s long-running and always surprising Claudia Quintet, with Ted Reichman playing the accordeon:


I got What is the Beautiful, after your recommendation; only listened to it once, partway through (difficult to keep up, you have 320 posts in the What are you listening to thread :grinning: ).

But I hadn’t noticed Reichman’s accordion. And I think that is part of the modern use of the instrument, it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb like in my youth, it is just an integral part of the music.

Anyway, back to listening. Good to have more to look at.

I came across the Claudia Quintet in their “September” album, with Red Wierenga rather than Ted Reichman on accordion. I really got this for Chris Speed, Chris Tordini, and Drew Gress, who I know from several other ensembles, but so discovered Hollenbeck and Reichman too. Nice bonus!

I just searched for (magnifying glass) “accordion”, and up popped seven credited accordion players.

Great list, thanks for turning me on to this stuff.

Frank Marocco And Simone Zanchini /Album Be-Bop Buffet.

I saw Frank play many years ago in LA with Ray Pizzi in a duo…
Just heard about Simone Zanchini another fabulous accordionist.

This is an jazz accordion duo …no other instruments.
Blazing technique on some bop pieces and great ballad work in stereo format accordions left and right speaker.

Just found it on Tidal with names reversed…