This charming collection explores the marvel of Parisian "accordéon" (i.e., "squeezebox" music) as documented by recordings made between 1928 and 1936 with an example from 1944 tacked on like a coda as the final track. Here is a golden opportunity for interested parties to explore the colorful personas behind this almost too-French subgenre. Note the presence of Maurice Alexander & His Musette Orchestra as well as Rolando & His Musette Orchestra. The word "musette" harks back to the days of the hurdy-gurdy and the bal-musette, a style of music popular in France during the 1880s when Italian musicians began pollinating the Parisian scene with their own southern hybrid styles and instruments. This is a surprisingly complicated topic, as "musette" may also be used to describe a small bagpipe or (in North Africa) a simple double-reed horn. Rather than precipitating a run-in with Bohemian swineherds or Moroccan tribesmen, however, this compilation presents 25 examples of profoundly Parisian old-fashioned entertainment. The cast of characters includes accordionist Marceau (aka Victor Marceau), Jean and Jacques Médinger accompanying legendary chanteuse Edith Piaf, and a smart little trio featuring Emile Vacher. Most interesting perhaps is the presence of Louis Vola, better known as the accomplished string bassist who made great jazz recordings with Django Reinhardt. Vola is heard here playing the accordion in duets with a banjoist identified only as Appennini. Other accordionists featured are Fredo Gardoni, René Pesenti, and Renée Lebas. This delightful music is suitable for wining, dining, carousing, or shampooing the cat.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf