The accordion has only really found a comfortable spot in the jazz world during the past two decades, and that is largely due to Richard Galliano. Born in 1950 in France, he started playing accordion when he was 4, and also learned piano. He was particularly intrigued by trumpeter Clifford Brown’s solos, learning to play many of them on the accordion. Galliano studied with his father before enrolling at the Nice Conservatory, and won many international accordion competitions, playing classical music. He graduated in 1969, worked locally, and in 1973 relocated to Paris. For three years he was the conductor, arranger and composer for Claude Nougaro’s orchestra. Galliano also worked with pop singers and on Voce A Mano he played duets with singer Allain Leprest. In 1983 he began an association with Astor Piazzolla that lasted until the innovative tango composer’s death in 1992.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.