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Accordion Music Raves

I just had to say something, too

By Bob Berta

The tension was high in the air with anticipation of hearing the much-heralded concert by Tony Lovello. As a youngster back in the 50s, I heard my parent's recordings of the Three Suns group of which Tony was a member. In fact, that group was one of the main experiences that sparked my interest in both accordion and electronic organ…both of which I play today.

I and others heard of the great "shows" that Tony puts on and when I saw a video of one of his performances at the Seattle Accordion Club, I knew that this would be an entertaining evening of showmanship and great music. Tony certainly doesn't show his age. He stood the entire performance and wandered around the audience, did what seemed to be unending bellow shakes, and played in a highly emotional manner that would have left most performers gasping for breath.

I particularly enjoyed the wide variety of music he played and the mixture of old and new tunes. Part of his show is a musical history of the accordion playing in all the styles that contributed to the evolution of accordion playing as we know it today. While Tony and The Three Suns are best known for great tunes like Just One More Chance, Twilight Time, and Peg of My Heart, he played from such diverse musical selections as Dizzy Fingers, Nola, Theme from the Lone Ranger, Somewhere My Love, Phantom of The Opera, and Malaguena. To me, the most beautiful piece was one of his own compositions called I Never Cried Before. Wow, what a nice piece…hey Tony…got any more of these great compositions laying around?

During his playing, he used three techniques which proved to be of interest to the audience. The first, is of course, his bellow shake control which was pretty amazing. The other was his ability to remove his hand from the treble keyboard, wave it in the air and instantly come back to the exact note or chord he wanted without looking at the keyboard…I can think of a few times when I went for a note and missed it by a note or two causing a sound unlike the composer intended and causing a few raised eye brows in my listening audience! The final neat "trick" was a hand-induced vibrato that was very nice. During the concert, he would show the various "tricks" and after enticing the audience, would tell them if they came to his workshop on Wednesday night he would show them how to do it. Sadly, I was unable to attend due to family commitments so am looking forward to hearing the secrets from others who attended.

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