A few years ago, I inherited a fantastic collection of classic accordion sheet music. The arrangers’ names read like a “Who’s Who” of accordion masters: Deiro, Frosini, Magnante, Nunzio. However, most of the pieces were (and still are) far beyond my reach, so I was left wondering how “La Mariposita” and “Carnival of Venice” should really sound.
Now I know — thanks to Zevy Zions and his excellent new album of accordion solos, Olive Blossoms. Zions is a student of the great performer and teacher Charles Nunzio who, in turn, was a student of the legendary Pietro Frosini. Most of the songs on Olive Blossoms were either written or arranged by Frosini or Nunzio and it’s clear that Zions has gone to great lengths to do them justice.
From the start, Zions’ playing is impeccable, even on the most challenging material. But he’s no robot either; whether it’s the bouncy “Jolly Caballero” or the dreamy “Florette”, Zions handles the dynamics and nuances of each piece with care. The album’s centerpiece is his “Klezmer Suite” arrangement, which builds from a wandering, improvisational Doina to a rollicking Freilach.
Variety is key to any album of solos (regardless of instrument), and Zions does a fine job showing the accordion’s versatility across styles and genres. The album’s 18 tracks range from waltzes to tarantellas, polkas to tangos, with a unique accordion arrangement of a Mozart minuet for good measure.
There are no MIDI tricks here — just pure, beautifully executed renditions of accordion classics. Whether you’re new to these songs, or an experienced player seeking inspiration, Olive Blossoms would be an excellent addition to your accordion listening library.