Day 10, Montrose
Q: What is the difference between an accordion and a trampoline?
A: You don’t have to take your shoes off to jump on an accordion.
This subtle and finely wrought comedy gem is just one of the amusing moments in James Crabb’s in-concert patter. Or, as he calls it: “A four-minute crash course – all you will ever need to know about the accordion.” Yet his easy-going manner belies a serious passion and focus, befitting one who is coming to be known as an international ambassador for an instrument that is often overlooked in the classical world.
For this tour, James is playing a program of incredible diversity, from a Vivaldi Concerto for Organ and Violin (arranged by him for classical accordion and violin) to an amazing work by Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen, composed in 2000, to a wonderful set of tangos by Piazzolla. Even the tangos are varied. As James puts it, “The tango world is a dark world”, and within the set we play works that evoke passion, desire, shadows and nightmares. As well as performing this emotional firecracker of a program with panache, James also directs the concerts from the accordion. He is a truly outstanding artist, and we are lucky to work with him.
However, it would be remiss to not mention our esteemed accordionist’s penchant for the mischievous. Not long after the tour began, our double bassist, Joe Bisits, began receiving some strange text messages. One in particular, received after the concert in Mildura, had him bemused: “Hey J, congratulations on the concert this evening but you really need to have a haircut like that baldy squeezebox player – just do it mate!”
A healthy back and forth ensued, complete with references to Joe as a “Samson silky tongue”. Only some days later did we realise that the mystery texter was James! (And not
an anonymous double bass player from Mildura, as had been suspected.)
In the words of Mr Crabb, “performing with this group is like playing with a gang of angels”. We can’t thank him enough for being our archangelic ringleader for these past weeks.