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Accordion Show Review

Everyone was on the edge of their sets when Tony Lovello performed for us (and I do mean performed). What a show! To those who couldn’t make it you missed the show of the year.

Joyce and I had the privilege of spending time with Tony and he assured me that he would return again. He is not only an outstanding accordionist, but also a friend and member of PAAC. If you should like to purchase any of his CD’s, get in touch with me. Thanks again, Tony, for such an enjoyable afternoon.
They Loved Lovello! All the hype about Tony Lovello (The Liberace of the Accordion), was true – he’s an exceptionally talented musician with incredible stamina who presented our MAC audience with a razzle-dazzle program and seminar that left the audience felling breathless. If you missed the program, you truly missed one of the best! Additionally, he is such a nice and fun person to be around. Several of our members who, due to conflicts, were unable to attend his MAC performance, were able to catch up with him at his performances in Chicago and Green Bay…some just wanted to hear him a second time! Thanks, Tony – we look forward to a return visit!

This month we celebrate National Accordion Awareness Month, our MAC audience will be treated to the Milwaukee Accordion Club Ensemble under the direction of Beverly White-Persa. The Ensemble presented the pre-meeting program of the Chicago Accordion Club this past month and were well received by that group.

Several of us are preparing to attending various accordion festivals across the country – in full swing at this time of the year. Please share your experiences with the MAC if you attend one of these – and keep practicing!

That pretty much describes the music and sentiment of a Tony Lovello concert experience. It is a pleasurable musical occasion for anyone who’s had the good fortune to be entertained by this master of the piano accordion.

Tony brings genuine, heartfelt excitement to every interpretation he shares. He’s bursting with energy, too! For those of us who play the instrument, it’s an astounding feat to watch someone stand, stroll, jump, kick…and literally vibrate and shake for more than an hour while wearing an instrument that weighs nearly 30 pounds! Tony walks backwards while playing. He glides from side to side while playing. His fingers race effortlessly up and down the length of the keyboard, while feverishly working the basses in a variety of rhythms. His bellow shakes cannot be measured in bars or lines. They’re pages in length. That translates to minutes at a time in performance…on a single musical section or idea. Phenomenal!

Our Liberace of the Accordion made his entrance playing a Petosa acoustic AM 1100 equipped with a wireless mic pickup system. He performed a patriotic medley of AMERICA and GOD BLESS AMERICA. He had everyone standing within minutes and singing these devotions to freedom and democracy in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy.

BYE, BYE, BLACKBIRD followed and the orchestral sounds and rhythms from the opening songs settled into a steady beat. Next, Tony rewarded an audience member with a complimentary CD when that person successfully translated the title of his first Italian selection, MALA FEMMENA (A “Bad Woman”). He was working the crowed, now. Opera anyone? We were treated to an extended medley of Neopolitan favorites and arias: FUNICULI, FUNICULA; VESTI LA GIUBBA (from Pagliacci); O’SOLO MIO; and NESSUN DORMA (from Turandot). The modulations and dynamics were perfectly matched to the music. Tony’s accordion bellows work was as close to vocal phrasing as one could imagine.

The glissando attacks from mid-air…the hand vibrato…the repeated single notes with one finger…the frequent use of registers/pitches…the bellow shakes (including triple)…were all evident in ample quantity throughout the concert. Tony vibrates the accordion with his right hand on the keyboard. It’s been compared to MIDI software, but it’s Tony’s incredible control. He moved among the audience and let anyone feel the vibrato in his right hand and arm, while he continued to play. FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE had some vocal lyric added, as well.

For more than five minutes Tony performed his signature piece, MALAGUENA. Only a virtuoso could create and sustain a bellow shake the way Tony does it. His pure physicality throughout this performance demonstrated his amazing control over both the music and the accordion. It literally lifted him off his feet at the finale.

LADY OF SPAIN was presented in increments as if Tony’s agent many years ago might have tried to determine his capabilities with the music and the instrument. “Give it some flash”… “Shake that thing”…Tony complied with a number of variations for the audience, and added: “I even do it in two keys!”

MY WAY, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT, ARREVIDERCI ROMA, BEER BARREL POLKA, TWILIGHT TIME, PEG O’ MY HEART, NEW YORK-NEW YORK, GREEN EYES (another recording was given away to the person correctly identifying the vocalist and band, Helen O’Connell and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra), SPANISH EYES, and I’LL BE SEEING YOU were performed wither in excerpts or their entirety. Homage was paid to SHARPSHOOTER’S MARCH when Tony played the bridge with the bass solo in quick time, then doubled it for good measure on the repeat!

Tony Lovello’s virtuosity it to be appreciated all the more when you realize that he put his music and accordion into semi-retirement for several decades while managing a large hotel in Kentucky. As Tony put it, he had the responsibility for 370 rooms, an 18-hole golf course, 2 swimming pools, 3 kitchens, 172 employees, (and 65 thieves!). Anyone who hears Tony play can more fully appreciate his return to concert performing and accordion/showmanship seminars. He admits he walks around to “show off”. We admire Tony for his talent and his conviction about the accordion as a concert instrument capable of reproducing sonorous, symphonic interpretations.

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