Armand Lassagne

Le Tournis

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If you still think the accordion should be relegated to endless regurgitations of "Lady of Spain," then you need to hear this record. What Armand Lassagne plays is a kind of jazzy bal musette, the café music that simply evokes Paris. He's not only fleet-fingered, but also incredibly inventive in his playing, taking center stage all through this disc, with the kind of flair that's rare to hear on any instrument. He can move seamlessly from the tristesse of "Igor et Natacha" to the spry joy of "Le Tournis," equally capable with both hands. It helps, of course, that he has four superb backing musicians. The bass and drums are so good that you barely notice them (which is meant as high praise), while the two guitarists not only add rhythm, but also countermelodies to the accordion. While they all fill out the sound, it's obvious that Lassagne could manage perfectly well all by himself. Not only can he play like a dream, but his music swings, too, and he's a complex composer with a strong ear for melody. This is a treat for anyone who likes keyboard playing of any description. And for those who cringe at the mere thought of the accordion, try this. You might even forget "Lady of Spain" forever.

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