This past week I picked up Tiny, who had undergone repair, and then went to stay at my sister’s for a day or two. Her place has great sound and is very dramatic. She’s got a chifferobe (portmanteau of “chiffonier” and “wardrobe” — Fun Fact Gary!) that has quite a character. I shot two pieces in its vicinity. The first is Wim Poesen’s amazing Wals vor Polle.
The second is Mazurka de Comptoir
Notice how much the Chifferobe contributes. That there is a piece of furniture! My sister says I look too serious. They don’t know about accordion face, these civilians. Any accordionistx would know that I am brimming with joy in both of these.
I lead a good life. On May 2nd, my trio, Le Bon Truc, played at Blue, in Portland (Maine). We managed to pack the place and then play perhaps our best ever. It was super and felt great. Friend of the band, Sunshine Perlis, took video of eleven of the sets. The lighting is suboptimal, but the sound is great. I’ve put these together into a playlist so you who wish may enjoy our good fortune!
We’re hitting five years of playing together, and our lax variety of ambition has served us well. I love these two, and I love the music we make.
A suite of tunes written by myself: The Egret’s Suite. Written in what was intended to be a breton-ish style (but drifted). The first tune is definitely one idea of what Breton folks might write as mazurka, if they wrote mazurkas. The second tune is influenced by my hero, Yann-Fañch PERROCHES. You can hear it in the 7th chords, though it’s a bit of a heavy handed approach compared to le maestro. The third tune is a happy retreat — a release from regrets and aggression.
This was created as a sort of demo for my band. Here are the dots!
A very beautifully shot performance of a beautiful piece of music. Duo Abbas/Thézé bring a bass clarinet and chromatic button accordion together for a super sexy, jazz inflected mazurkas. The dancers are mesmerizing. That guy at the end, his smile … tells a story.
I’m going through a mazurka binge — that’s for sure. Also, I always have room in my heart for Frédéric Paris. These two tunes come from the La Chavannée tune book. They are humble, unnamed mazurkas that are infectious in the way that La Chavannée tunes usually are.
Jack Humphries, a buddy over at mel.net recorded this lovely video of himself playing five mazurkas by guitarist Maarten Decombel. Here’s what Jack has to say, “My favourites by the great Maarten Decombel, a guitarist who writes tunes so good to play on the accordeon: Tuileries, 1/11, Vappu, Ostendaise, Geliefden, Tuileries.”
I have not been attending to my duties. I’ve been traveling and actually had to move house. I’m in a very nice new place, and life is good. I did play at NEFFA with the quintet, Nouveau Chapeau. We played an hour of mazurkas for a mazurka dancing workshop. Who knew such a thing existed?!? That was a blast. Maybe next year scottishes?
For today I am posting two older vids worthy of study, they are of the duo Stephan Milleret and Norbert Pignol, two monsters in the field. Aside from their playing, they have been enormously influential on modern box playing through their four volume Diatonic Accordion Method. Here are the men themselves. Nearly 20 minutes of goodness.
|Some mazurkas wot we might play!
“So,” said Steve Gruverman, “at NEFFA, do you want to do a mazurka –“
“– workshop with –“
“– Lynn Baumeister?”
“You had me at Mazurka.”
To summarize: At the New England Folk Festival (a.k.a., NEFFA), the Nouveau Chapeau quintet will be doing a mazurka dance workshop with instructor Lynn Baumeister. The festival runs from April 15 to 17. We are doing this workshop on Saturday evening, the 16th.
We’ve put together a nice set of mazurkas to work up (see the picture to the right), and begin rehearsing in a week or so.
I’ve made no secret of my love of the mazurka in all varieties — from its galumphy mid-tempo version all the way to the current, “sexy” 9/8ish variety. An embarrassment of riches. That’s what my life is.
Norbert Pignol’s 9/8 mazurka, La Guinguette, played by Tommaso Massarelli,