Various Artists

Squeeze Me: The Jazz & Swing Accordion Story

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Due to its misuse in all types of schlocky settings, the accordion has been the butt of jokes for many decades. This four-CD set seeks to overcome the stereotypes and show that the accordion has long been a legitimate instrument in jazz. Although it is definitely an uphill battle, there are many rare and interesting recordings contained in this box. A variety of somewhat famous (Buster Moten, Joe Mooney, Art Van Damme, and Mat Mathews) and completely forgotten accordionists from the 1929-1954 period are featured in settings ranging from classic jazz bands (including Cornell Smelser's guest appearances with Duke Ellington), and swing combos to bop dates. George Shearing is heard on four selections in which he switches from his customary piano. Many Europeans are also featured, making this a real collector's item. Although the accordion would not come close to catching on big in jazz during the half-century that followed after this set's most recent performance, it is intriguing hearing half of the history of jazz through these accordioncentric recordings. This is well worth investigating since even veteran collectors will not have had many of these mostly swinging recordings.

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