February 28, 2002
5:41 PM   Subscribe

The Hendrix of The Accordion, the Stevie Ray of the banjo,and even Tubas are producing some rockin' stuff. I see something of a small trend here an I think it's a good one. These artists take the insturments you hated to be stuck with in the high school band and turn them into something astounding. If anyone knows of other examples, I'd love to hear about 'em. (some sites require Flash)
posted by jonmc (15 comments total)
I love Rufus Harley, the king of the jazz bagpipe. He looks like a freak you'd cross the street to avoid, but he honestly plays some amazing stuff with the bagpipes.
posted by mathowie at 6:27 PM on February 28, 2002

For those who like accordion, a couple of young innovative bands: Siggno and
Victoria Y Sus Chikos
posted by bjgeiger at 7:44 PM on February 28, 2002

I love accordion, so thanks bjgeiger.

Going tango, there's the amazing bandoneonist and composer Astor Piazzolla. These devotees have a lot of his music online.
posted by liam at 10:29 PM on February 28, 2002

I don't know if anyone hated playing the clarinet in high school, but Don Byron makes it sound (scroll down) great, klezmer included.
posted by liam at 11:09 PM on February 28, 2002

I've never liked the bagpipes, but Rufus Harley is good. (Don't cross the road to avoid people who look like him though. You might miss bumping into George Clinton.)
posted by liam at 11:28 PM on February 28, 2002

This woman was at the Edinburgh Festival last year or maybe the year before. I think she might fit into this category.

When I was up at Edinburgh a few years ago, I dropped into an open-mic to say hello to some folks. I was carrying a double bass, which often attracts attention, even in Edinburgh.

A small African man came up to me, pointed at the double bass and then at a bag that was sitting in the corner. I shook his but was then distracted by one of my friends. Which is a pity.

A couple of days later I went to see a kora player. who turned out to be him. Pay attention: you never know when you might be shaking hands with a master musician.
posted by Grangousier at 2:10 AM on March 1, 2002

sorry- music geek alert:

I've been a fan of Bela Fleck (and his Flecktones) for over 10 years...not trying to pull the cooler-than-thou card...but- to his millions of fans, Bela Fleck is the "Bela Fleck" of banjo...his fellow Flecktone on bass, Victor Wooten, is the "Vic Wooten" of bass guitar...not to discount Hendrix, but these folks transcend their own instruments as well and have made their names known as masters of their craft in their own rights...just as Steve Vai is the Vai of "virtuoso guitar music"...some refer to Jaco Pastorius as the "Hendrix" of bass guitar, but that is a disservice to him as well...the list could go on forever...I guess it is a back-handed way of saying Hendrix was great at playing the electric guitar- which he was...but these other folks need to be recognized for their own accomplishments and skills...(though some owe a bit to Hendrix more than others...)
posted by ayukna at 6:31 AM on March 1, 2002

I saw the Flecktones for the first time last summer. They were, without a doubt, the most amazing musicians I've ever seen on stage. All four of them. It was like they could read each other's minds.

Bela is amazing. Just... amazing.
posted by bondcliff at 7:00 AM on March 1, 2002

About ten years ago, my favorite local band was an act called "Tooba Blooze" which featured a rocking lead tuba. Unfortunately, they broke up & when they got back together years later under a different name, the tuba player had moved to lead guitar & they sounded much more ordinary.
As far as players on the level of Bela Felck & the Flecktones, I think that what David Grisman does on mandolin is just unreal.
posted by tdismukes at 7:22 AM on March 1, 2002

This band should be seen, if only once.

I'm not sure that they are very serious, but the musicianship and humor in their music guarantees a fine listening experience.
posted by Danf at 8:43 AM on March 1, 2002

ayukna - I've seen Bela and Co. in concert myself and loved them as much as you do, along with the other people mentioned. Rest assured the Hendrix/Stevie Ray comparisons were meant as shorthand to keep the post concise and they were definitely meant as a compliment.

tdismukes-David Grisman is great no doubt. If you like great mandolin you should check out Ronnie McCoury as well.
posted by jonmc at 9:41 AM on March 1, 2002

Hey, I thought that Esteban "Steve" Jordan was the Hendrix of the accordion. (I do love Flaco, though.)

My favorite accordion player, by far ... Clifton Chenier, the King of Zydeco.
posted by chuq at 11:31 AM on March 1, 2002

Philip Glass composed a concerto (AFAIR) for two timpani. I saw it on TV being performed live in London a couple of months ago. It was extremely weird, but held attention.
posted by wackybrit at 5:14 PM on March 1, 2002

There was a guy on camous who sung rock songs to the accompaniment of his accordion (starting off with "Gangster's Paradise," followed by "Kiss Me, Son of God" and "Buddy Holly") Not the greatest musician -- but a great idea.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:57 AM on March 2, 2002

Don't forget AccordionGuy!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:28 PM on March 2, 2002

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