Mike Alongi

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Although it would be quite an exaggeration to say that Chicago accordion maestro Vincent Alongi put a squeezebox in his son's hand even before a rattle or a baby bottle, Mike Alongi did indeed start out…
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Although it would be quite an exaggeration to say that Chicago accordion maestro Vincent Alongi put a squeezebox in his son's hand even before a rattle or a baby bottle, Mike Alongi did indeed start out on accordion at the age of six. This early beginning has led to his stature as one of the Windy City's greatest accordionists, playing with a power that suggests the famous winds blowing off the lake have somehow been harnessed to power his instrument's bellows. The younger Alongi has pursued more of a performing career than his father, whose reputation was more as a teacher of the instrument than an on-stage player. As a classical accordionist, Mike Alongi has worked with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra in a soloist and ensemble capacity. He is also one of the founders of the Chicago Accordion Ensemble, and has been active in almost as many different styles of music as his instrument has buttons to push. Jazz is definitely one of his strong suits. He has worked with West Coast jazz accordionist Frank Marocco; Chicago jazz accordion greats such as Lindy Kao and Mort Herold; and guitarist Fred Rundquist, whose involvement with jazz accordion included a stint in the band of the incompareable Art Van Damme. Former Tonight Show trumpeter and conductor Doc Severinsen is another one of his frequent accomplices, sometimes making him wish the accordion possessed another octave's worth of high notes. Since the late '90s, he has been half of an accordion duo with Stas Venglevski, resulting in his most critically acclaimed work to date.

Alongi is also active as a composer and arranger and in producing and performing commercials for both television and radio. His recorded output began in the early '80s with the release of Polka Update and Everything Old Is New Again, the latter title serving as a summation of polka's surprising new burst of popularity during the new wave era. In late '80s, he began a teaching collaboration with his son John Alongi. The father and son team came up with a cool dozen compositions for the Easy Read Fusion and Funk Session drum study kits published by Percussion Express. Mike Alongi has also given private lessons for keyboard instruments, jazz improvisation, and music theory for more than 40 years.