Music » Livewire

Pete Selvaggio

Tuesday, January 9, at Nighttown.


Believe it or not, the jazz accordion has been on the rise in the last couple of years. Don't expect it to eclipse the saxophone in popularity anytime soon, but thanks to the efforts of players such as Dino Saluzzi in Europe and Guy Klucevsek in New York, the old world instrument has a relatively high profile in improvised music. In cities like Cleveland, with more than its fair share of Eastern European culture, the accordion never seems to disappear completely. Where jazz is concerned, Cleveland accordion's main man and torchbearer has always been Pete Selvaggio. Some might recognize Selvaggio from his non-jazz gigs. He served time with the decidedly non-jazzy Guy Lombardo as well as the Three Suns and the Four Lads. Nevertheless, Selvaggio keeps one foot firmly planted in jazz. Selvaggio guested on a recording a few years back for another local jazz man equally comfortable with jazz standards and polkas: tenor saxophonist Ernie Krivda. Krivda returned the favor, blowing tenor on Selvaggio's 1996 recording, Galleria. That CD, an all-jazz affair featuring a swinging and lyrical Selvaggio on ballads and easygoing originals, unfortunately has gone out of print. You can either scour the Internet hoping to snag a copy, or you can catch Selvaggio and his group at Nighttown.

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