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Old fashioned Paris accordion



Gilbert Roussel from Calais in France was a player who decided to abandon the French three voice musette tuning so that he could concentrate on orchestral work. 

Some people never appreciated his music, as he largely played in the orchestra named Roger Roger, the leader of which experimented in synthesisers and other electronic music. 

However, he was an excellent accordionist, and this track evokes memories of French accordion as it was in the days when some players decided that the instrument was worthy of recognition in its own right, without being stereotyped as being a medium to cater for dancers in the bals musette. Yes, it is a valse musette, but not really with dancing in mind.



losthobos pid=69887 dateline=1581320327 said:
Understated cool.... Good choice..

Hi Terry,

As far as I know he never made many records under his own name, although when he made them with Roger Roger his name would be on the bill. In later years he made records billed as Gilbert Roussel et son Orchestre, but I think the orchestra concerned was Roger Roger. 

When I first started out I wasnt sure what to make of him, as his accordion tuning often sounded weird, and his valses were a bit up tempo compared with what others were doing. Roger Rogers arrangements could also be a bit OTT for an accordion setting. Then an old buddy of mine explained that a lot of French players got fed up playing in the bals musette, as the ones in Paris particularly were rough houses and run by mobsters. 

Some accordionists who had the ability to read music began to play in settings with bands, orchestras, and in session work, where the focus was on the music, and not in any way associated with the atmosphere of the bals. 

One of the most famous of those was the Parisian, Freddy Balta, who features here:-

Probably a bit too advanced for most of we aspiring amateurs, but the guy could play!


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Not sure if advanced is the word.... But imaginative and interesting for sure.... I like to hear stuff like this... Keep em coming..


Its just a pity that most of the players I can identify were older than my father. The youngsters have an altogether different approach, and I havent kept up to date with most of them.

One such older player was Jacky Mallerey from Lyon, who also passed away in 2013. Jacky collaborated with Andre Astier and Joss Baselli in some of his compositions, and was an exponent of jazzy type progressions in musette.

Here is Volte Face, one of his best known compositions, played by Bernard Marly, a little known player from Savoie in the Alps.

Bernard mainly plays in a generic Alpine folklore style with an elderly female vocalist, but he shows us here that jazzy musette is also a part of his repertoire. Hell be getting on a bit, but I think hes still playing. :-


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