CULTURE

A journey with an accordionist

He combines French melody, a Mediterranean music mentality and knowledge of jazz. Richard Galliano, a leading jazz accordionist and student of the legendary Argentinean musician Astor Piazzolla, will perform at the French Institute in Athens tonight. A highly skilled musician, Galliano’s performance promises to highlight the musical magic of the accordion. «As a youngster I listened to just about everything – classical music, folk, and jazz. Clifford Brown, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, even Jimi Hendrix,» noted the French musician in an interview with Kathimerini. «I also loved the accordionists Gus Viseur and Art Van Damme. They all influence you and, in a way, you steal from them. But you’re also paying tribute. Generally speaking, I adore melody and am annoyed when music lacks melody,» he continued. Galliano, who hails from Nice, acknowledges being heavily influenced by Piazzolla. «Piazzolla was a type of mentor for me – a godfather,» said Galliano. «He taught me many things, to be convincing and persistent with whatever I’ve learnt, to play music connected with my roots, and not to imitate anybody. He was a personality who made an impression.» Galliano has collaborated with very significant musicians artists including Jan Garbarek, Michel Petrucciani, Toots Thielemans, Chet Baker, as well as famous vocalists including Charles Aznavour and Juliette Greco. «France is full of important singers, but most of them probably remain unknown in Greece. You definitely know Georges Moustaki, who is of Greek descent,» said Galliano. «My favorite jazz musician would be a Parisian, Eddy Louiss, who plays the Hammond organ like a devil but never travels beyond France,» he continued. Commenting on the repertoire for tonight’s show in Athens, Galliano said it would include material from his latest album which was recorded in Sao Paolo, Brazil with local musicians as well as Venezuelans. Samba, bolero and other styles would be included in the set, said Galliano. «The audience will go on a journey to various parts of the world,» said Galliano. «I hope they enjoy it.» Today, 9 p.m., IFA, 31 Sina, Athens, tel 210.339.8600.