Between the title and the gauche cover many could be turned away from this album, which would be a shame, because the contents are delightful. Frenchman Richard Galliano has few if any peers on the accordion, and here his virtuosity and melodic flair are at full stretch realising Tamir Hendelman’s imaginative arrangements of a repertoire of mostly unabashedly romantic tunes.
The taut scoring was necessitated by the accordion being joined by two other chordal instruments: Hendelman’s piano and Anthony Wilson’s guitars. The band, completed by Cuban bassist Carlitos Del Puerto and Brazilian drummer Mauricio Zottarelli, brings a tightly-wound precision to Chick Corea’s sparkling Armando’s Rumba, and then unwinds just as effectively to float on Duke Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood.
Galliano, whose broad career extends from backing crooner Charles Aznavour to playing Piazzolla’s tangos, from making jazz with Wynton Marsalis to interpreting Vivaldi, plays with a lyricism that few can match on any instrument. The album flirts with tipping over into cloying sweetness on occasion, but it never actually transgresses. Try it on Sunday mornings with champagne. Let’s say Bollinger, on the off-chance they send me a case!