Accordionist Guy Klucevsek was listening to a radio interview with Charles Mingus one day in the '70s. The interviewer asked Mingus about the racial divide in jazz and whether or not whites could create great, innovative jazz music. "Let the white man develop the polka" was Mingus' reply. Klucevsek took this wry advice to heart and in the mid-'80s commissioned a plethora of contemporary composers, ranging across the musical spectrum, to write him some polkas. The superb results are chronicled on the present disc and its companion, ?Who Stole the Polka?. Sometimes (well, oftentimes) the relationship between the polka fans know and love (or hate) and the pieces herein is tangential, but one can usually locate that two-beat rhythm in one guise or another. Klucevsek's own "The Grass, It Is Blue" polkas with passion, as do Steve Elson's "From Here to Paternity Polka" and William Duckworth's "Polking Around." Pieces by Anthony Coleman and the late Tom Cora use more oblique strategies, commenting on the form while melding it to others. The album closes with a mini-epic by drummer Bobby Previte that evokes Scottish airs and a sublime country dancehall polka by Brave Combo's Carl Finch that is sure to leave the listener happily humming and two-stepping. Beautifully and tightly played by Klucevsek's band throughout with big dollops of humor, both this disc and its partner are very much worth the trouble it will take to find them.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick