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Jim Besser

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About Jim Besser

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    Heavyweight Boxer

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  • Interests
    Contra and English ceilidh dance music, Morris music, traditional French dance music, playing for any and all dancers.
  • Location
    Washington DC metro area

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  1. A just-written hornpipe by Will Allen, an incredible melodeon player in the UK. An intriguing sound - to me it hints of an oldtime American tune. Played in A, his original key, on a 30 button Jeffries GD Anglo
  2. Don't know about the specific model. But in general, I believe that a 30 button Stagi purchased from a dealer that makes sure they're set up properly, like the Button Box - can be a usable entry level instrument if your budget won't get you into the range of a really good hybrid, such as the Morse, the Clover, the Edgley, etc. I have one sitting here that someone gave me, almost new. It's playable. It sounds OK, not too very different from the good hybrids, and has a certain charm all its own. The bellows are stiffer and the action is slower than my good instruments, but it's perfectly adequate to take you through the first stages of learning this instrument. I don't say the same about the Rochelle, which is just too stiff and clunky. But I would only consider one from a dealer with the know how to ensure that you're not getting a lemon. That pretty much means the Button Box. If you're interested in the used one on their Web side, call them, speak to Doug and ask about it - and about what they do to back it up.
  3. One thing I should add: to my ear, the difference in sound between traditional and accordion reeds is less apparent on a CG instrument, significantly more on a GD, with the lower register.
  4. Hmmm. Hard to say. Possibly the first time my band played a ceilidh at the Kennedy Center in Washington (We've now done 3) . I should add another highlight: the first time I played at the session at The George in London, with....Alan Day.
  5. On another forum, a player was seeking recordings comparing the sound of traditional versus hybrid concertinas. Since I was recording today for practice, I did the same tune - the 1908 English tune Tars of the Victory - twice, once on a Morse hybrid with accordion reeds, once on a Lachenal with excellent traditional reeds and Dipper mechanism. I'm not sure how valuable the comparison is - as others have noted, the difference in sound between traditional and accordion reeds tends to be attenuated when recorded, even more so when processed through a big PA system - but for what it's worth, here they are. BTW, the recording settings and setup were identical. On the Morse hybrid: And on the Lachenal with traditional reeds:
  6. Go for it, Gary. Randy Stein and I are doing a workshop at next month's (virtual) Northeast Squeeze In: Squeezebox Oddities: TUnes You'd Never Expect to Hear on Squeezebox." I'm sure you have some good candidates.
  7. I'm using 2 SM57 dynamic mics,, one on each side of the instrument, feeding a Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface to my desktop Mac, recording with GarageBand using moderate compression. I have been experimenting with other digital audio software, but GarageBand seems to work well and is easy to use. Having experimented with on-board mic systems for years, I have become a believer in external fixed mics for a variety of reasons. For live sound I use 2 KSM137 condenser mics, but they are overkill for home recording.
  8. With all gigs canceled for the indefinite future and the Morris dance season on hold, I've been playing around with a lot of new music by innovative European players, mostly in France, Belgium and the UK. But also Italy, like this experiment - Riccardo Tesi's 'La Marcia dei criceti.' On 30 button Jeffries Anglo. A far cry from my usual, but I'm enjoying it immensely. Also revisiting my Morris repertoire....I've been playing some of these tunes for so long, it's time to figure out some new ways to do them. And working on several jazz pieces with Randy Stein on English.
  9. If you know Dave Marcus in Atlanta, you should talk to him; he has one.
  10. Robin - nice playing, as always. Recently I found this version of Greensleeves on Andy Turner's blog - a quick and dirty recording on a Jeffries 30 button GD. Andy says the tune was found in the1798 manuscript of North Yorkshire miller Joshua Jackson. Isn't it interesting how many tunes share the name?
  11. Clearly, there are limitations on what an Anglo can do, primarily in terms of keys. But that doesn't mean you can't play all kinds of cool music on one. ALthough primarily a Morris, ceilidh and contra player, about 10 years ago I started playing some jazz and pop, mostly through my playing with English concertina master Randy Stein. "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" turns out to be a really fun concertina tune. Lately I've been exploring Basque tunes, and I've been intrigued by some of the interesting acoustic music coming out of France, Belgium and the Scandinavian countries, and just learned and posted a long Riccardo Tesi piece. So yeah, you can do a lot with an Anglo. Just not in every key.
  12. Something we - "2ManyButtons" - recorded a couple of years ago: Arthur, a beautiful mazurka by Eric Thézé. Jim Besser on Anglo concertina, Randy Stein on English concertina. https://soundcloud.com/concertinist/arthur-10-17-17
  13. When I'm looking for fun new tunes, one of the bands I often go back to is the English ceilidh band Stocai. For some reason I'd overlooked this pretty tune, but yesterday it caught my ear and I had to try it. The Tender Trap, by Bob Tracey, on their Champagne Brawl CD.
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