3 Leg Torso / Astor in Paris

artsy radio tower and reasonable type 3 Leg Torso
Astor in Paris

Meester Records, MEE002, 2003

CD available from CDbaby.com

I am a sucker for good accordion, and I really enjoyed the first 3 Leg Torso album. In this latest release, a tribute to Astor Piazolla, they are even better. What might have been described as a world folk chamber music ensemble is now even broader and richer. They swing more, too. The opening "Ba Doum" is a perfect tango-flavored jazzy piece, delicately accompanied by the beefed up band the comprises the current ensemble. Accordion trades riffs with the violin as the pieces dances merrily through its steps. Then, "Astor in Paris" adds a languid Parisian air.

The band treats the Israeli dance tune, "Zemer Atik" at a rather more sprightly pace than would allow for dancing. As delightful music, however, it succeeds. Throughout, this is a sunny, cheerful album. In particular, I love the simple accordion keyings in the middle of "Giant Stomp" before the band gets back to the giant stomp and frenetic part, and even before the violin does a nice Stephane Grapelli reminisce and then some. "Bill's last adventure" has hints of the American West. The closing "Danza Lucumi", with its languid syncopation makes a perfectly relaxing ending to a delightful outing.

Once again, 3 Leg Torso has recorded a delightful album. I'm not sure what it is--a sort of world folk chamber music, perhaps. But, the addition of the new percussion, rather than weighing the band down, seems to have given it new wings. And the result is delightful. If you enjoy well-played, interesting music, and especially if you enjoy accordion and violin and lots of percussion, give this a listen. You're ears will thank you.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 5/1/04

Personnel this recording:
Béla Balogh: violin
Courtney von Drehle: accordion
Gary Irvine: drums (5, 6, 9, 10, 11), bongos (10, 11), shakers (5, 11), clave (11), wood block (9), tambourine (5), misc. percussion & sound effects (4)
Rob Lewis: xylophone, marimba, and vibraphone. Bongos and misc. percussion (4), guiro & tambourine (10), drums (1, 2), doumbek (3), suspended cymbal (3,5, 6), woodblocks (5)
Skip Elliott Bowman: acoustic bass
Joe Janiga: drums (3, 4, 8)
Gabe Leavitt: cello (1, 2, 10, 11)
John Hubbard: cello (7, 8)
Paul Mazzio: trumpet (8)


  1. Ba Doum (Von Drehle) 4:30
  2. Astor in Paris (Von Drehle) 5:14
  3. Zemer Attic / Tanz Tanz Yiddelach (trad.) 4:43
  4. Frog ... Secret Agent (Balogh) 5:33
  5. Giant Stomp (Von Drehle) 4:43
  6. Bills' Last Adventure (Von Drehle) 7:02
  7. Elliot's Dream (Von Drehle) 2:39
  8. My Level Water (Von Drehle) 5:10
  9. Le Beau's Hole (Balogh) 1:06
  10. B & G's (Leavitt / Balogh) 3:33
  11. Danza Lucumi (Ernesto Lecuona) 5:51

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