The accordion is a much-maligned instrument. Scorned by the cultural elite as well as regular folks whose associations with the instrument may relate to corny polka and beer hall Oom Pah Pah music. This show is nothing like that.

As musical instruments go, the accordion is still fairly young. May 23, 1892 was when the first patent for it was written in Austria, and very quickly production expanded to Germany, France and Italy. Within 20 years, tens of thousands were manufactured and sold yearly. There are a number of reasons for its popularity. As a folk instrument, it was louder that all the others put together and therefore could compete with the rowdiest of taverns and pubs with their raucous dancing and stomping feet. As an instrument, it was also a kind of one-person band with the player able to play bass and chords with the left hand and with the buttons, lead with the right as well as sing. It was always in tune. It was portable, and you could sound decent in short order. Naturally, musical elites and purists hated it.

Sailors and missionaries were largely responsible for exporting the instrument around the world and you can find styles (and its many different types of the instrument) in the Argentinian tango, Texas Tejano, South African Boeremusiek, Louisiana Zydeco, and Brazilian Forró, as well as in the Jazz idiom, just to name a few.

Those who are regular listeners to The Jazz River, know they will get the best and most diverse examples this instrument has to offer. Expect great jazz, as well as examples from Columbia, Finland, Tunisia, Quebec and the Ivory Coast among others.

Tune in Sunday, March 28, from 5-6pm MT when The Jazz River presents PLANET SQUEEZEBOX, only on KUVO JAZZ.

Art by Deborah Smith

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